MN2020, the progressive think tank run by former DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza, is defending Gov. Dayton’s budget:
Minnesota 2020, a progressive think tank that defends Minnesota’s tradition of higher taxes and higher spending, has released a new report suggesting those raw figures are seriously misleading.
Adjust for inflation and the ups and downs in state general fund spending caused by accounting shifts and federal stimulus funding in previous budget cycles and the numbers show a different picture: $40.6 billion in spending in 2002-03, $35.4 billion in the current budget, $35.7 billion in the upcoming budget if Dayton gets his way, and $37 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars for 2016-17.
Even if the governor, who wants to raise income taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans to support higher spending, is able to enact his entire budget, less than a third of the real-dollar cuts of the past decade would be restored, said Jeff Van Wychen, director of tax policy for Minnesota 2020.
“These cuts are eroding Minnesota’s fiscal foundation and they need to be reversed,” said Van Wychen during a press conference in St. Peter, one of three held by the organization in southern Minnesota Tuesday.
Van Wychen’s alarmist rhetoric should be ignored. When Andy Aplikowski wrote this post, he highlighted the DFL’s habit of saying one thing, then doing another. Here’s the Pi-Press article Andy highlighted:
Following a hush-hush courtship, top Minnesota lawmakers acknowledged Tuesday, April 16, that they are compiling a multimillion-dollar package of public subsidies and tax breaks to encourage an Illinois-based pharmaceutical firm to add 200 high-paying jobs and undertake a substantial construction project in their state.
The extent of the public offerings is becoming known months into a high-level recruitment. The name of the company, Baxter Healthcare Corp., had been constrained by a confidentiality agreement entered into by Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. Even lawmakers who have begun voting on the package didn’t know which firm would benefit.
In other words, the Dayton administration is fine with cutting taxes if they’re picking the winners and losers. This proves that the Dayton administration isn’t that worried with “the rich” paying “their fair share” as long as cutting taxes on corporations creates jobs. The DFL won’t admit that they’d be better off cutting taxes across the board and letting companies flourish.
Whether it’s the DFL or their political allies like MN2020, they simply won’t admit that they’re hurting Minnesota’s economy with their high tax, high regulation economic agenda.
This is yet another admission that the DFL’s legislative agenda doesn’t lead to creating jobs. The only time the DFL’s economic agenda creates jobs is when they throw their legislation out the window.
Van Wychen’s talk about inflation-adjusted budget figures quietly avoids talking about the money that’s appropriated that’s totally wasted on foolishness. It’s a clever tactic to ignore a real problem by talking about something that isn’t a problem. Inflation-adjusted budgets assume, incorrectly, that a) government operations can’t and haven’t been improved and b) every penny appropriated in 2002 was spent efficiently.
It’s foolish to think that every penny of any biennial budget was spent on something we need and was spent efficiently. That’s like believing that businesses can’t grow without the government’s assistance.
The bottom line on these discussions is that a) the Dayton administration just admitted that his economic policies don’t work and b) budgets should be based on spending money efficiently on the things we need, not what special interests want. On that count, the DFL is 0-for-2.