If Minnesota’s general fund budget wasn’t important, watching the DFL legislature would be comical. Unfortunately, watching the DFL put a budget together has been anything but a laughing matter. This quote from Sen. Tom Bakk offers a scary insight into the DFL budgeting process:
Bakk said details of the Senate tax proposal have yet to be worked out. But he said income tax increases on top earners and a cigarette tax increase are certainties.
The Senate DFL leadership says that they’re planning on offering property tax relief. They just don’t know which taxes they’ll have to raise to pay for the property tax relief. This is Keystone Cops material. It’s remindful of Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans looking surprised when he said that kids mowing lawns, shovelling sidewalks or babysitting would be subject to Gov. Dayton’s sales tax increase on services.
Commissioner Frans and Sen. Bakk sound frighteningly alike. They both are confident they want to raise taxes. They’re certain they want to provide property tax relief. They just haven’t figured what other taxes will have to be increased and by how much to offer property tax relief.
What this means is that tax increases is the answer to their questions even before they knew what the questions would be. The smart thing to do is figure out what’s needed for basic services like infrastructure, education and public safety, then figure out how to pay for those things.
The DFL starts with the premise that they haven’t taken enough money out of the private sector to pay for their special interest allies. Then they get their special interest allies’ wish lists, then figure out how to pay for their spending. If that doesn’t sound responsible to you, think of yourself as thoughtful. It doesn’t sound responsible because it isn’t responsible.
Raising taxes first (some might say first, last and always), then figuring out what to spend it on isn’t the brightest way of putting a budget together.