This statement on Workday Minnesota’s website is spin. Take this statement:

MAPE, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, and AFSCME Council 5 denounced the corporate-backed “United for Jobs” initiative as a misleading and deceptive paid advertising campaign. The ads target Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to raise more revenue for public services by raising taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.

“While the TV and radio ads are designed to make the audience believe that ‘United for Jobs’ wants to safeguard Minnesota families and small businesses, in reality, ‘United for Jobs’ is funded by corporate advocacy groups that want to protect the pocket books of their multi-millionaire members,” the unions said.

Here’s the TV ad that’s been running for about a week:

Here’s the transcript of the ad:

NARRATOR: Minnesotans pay some of the highest taxes in America. Now some Minnesota politicians want you to pay even more. They’d raise the income tax to be the second highest in the country to fuel a nearly $2 billion spending increase. There’s a more responsible way. Go line-by-line. Cut the waste. Do your jobs. Make government more efficient and effective. Be accountable for every taxpayer dollar you spend. Tell Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators they don’t need more of your money. They need to spend it better.

While it’s true that the ad highlights the DFL’s proposed income tax increase, it’s misleading and deceptive to say that the ad “targets Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal to raise more revenue for public services by raising taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.”

First, the ad highlights the need for politicians to “go line-by-line” through the budget and to “cut the waste” from the budget. In that context, the focus is on the legislature to do its job of spending the taxpayers’ money wisely.

Second, the ad points the spotlight at “Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators,” not just Gov. Dayton. That’s perfectly appropriate because it highlights the fact that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen are threatening to raise the rates on regressive taxes as well as raising the top income tax rate. Then there’s this statement:

The unions said the ads also mislead the audience into believing that the Governor’s tax proposal for the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans will raise taxes on “hard-working Minnesotans” – insinuating that all Minnesotans will get a tax increase. This is not true. The Governor’s proposal is a targeted tax increase to have the wealthiest pay their fair share, the unions said.

The unions’ statements are intentionally misleading. Their leadership knows that the DFL’s tax bills propose raising the tax on cigarettes by $1.60 per pack and the liquor excise tax from $4.60 a barrel on beer to $27.75 per barrel.

Sin taxes are necessarily regressive. They hit people who aren’t “the wealthiest Minnesotans” because they’re paid by everyone regardless of income. I’d love hearing Eliot Seide explain how AFSCME’s statement is accurate. In fact, I’d sell tickets to that event. I’d sell popcorn at that event, too. It’d be fun watching Seide slip and slither, twist and turn while doing his best to not answer my questions.

Seide, Gov. Dayton, Speaker Thissen, Sen. Bakk and their allies know this ad hits them hard. That’s why they’re responding with this dishonest counterattack.

Seide and company better be prepared to spend tons of money on their advertising campaign because the DFL has given these pro-business groups tons upon tons of ammunition with their tax bills. They’d better pack a lunch for this fight because AFSCME and MAPE will be fighting this fight for quite awhile.

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