It was quite a downer when Zach Dorholt defeated King Banaian, especially from a policy standpoint. We traded a respected economist for a politician with no particular policy skills. Apparently, though, Dorholt is a skilled spinmeister:

Tax Cuts for Minnesotans

The House got an early start this year by passing a repeal bill to end unnecessary warehousing and business-to-business sales taxes during the first week of session. As part-owner and a small business, I worked with members of both parties to make sure that warehousing taxes, telecommunications equipment taxes, and machinery repair sales taxes were repealed this session. I was a co-author of many of these business tax repeal bills in the House.

We also passed federal conformity as part of that tax repeal bill. Conforming Minnesota’s tax code to federal tax law makes tax filing easier for Minnesotans and qualified over 1 million residents of our state for $230 million in increased tax relief. Last Friday, we were finally able to act on the complete amended tax cut package that was sent to us by the Senate. We passed the bill the same day with bipartisan support to cut taxes by $430 million and sent it to Governor Dayton for signing.

Here’s the truth of what happened:

As part-owner and a small business, I worked with members of both parties to make sure that warehousing taxes, telecommunications equipment taxes, and machinery repair sales taxes that I voted for were repealed this session. I was a co-author of many of these business tax repeal bills in the House. I co-authored many of these tax repeal bills because not repealing them would’ve been political suicide. I supported terrible tax increase policies because that’s what loyal Democrats reflexively do.

Seriously, Dorholt voted for the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history last year. Then he saw the political firestorm erupt the minute Gov. Dayton signed the bill that Dorholt and the DFL voted for.

Now Dorholt wants to pretend that those tax increases just appeared out of thin air, that he didn’t have a thing to do with them. Dorholt wants people to think that giving some of the Democrats’ tax increase back should count as a tax cut. That’s the same logic as saying that the burglar who stole a flat screen TV, several brand new iPads and some kitchen appliances last week, then returned the kitchen appliances this week is a man of charity.

Restoring part of the things that the DFL legislature stole last year isn’t the same as cutting taxes. Outside of a Democratic politicians’ world, that’s considered as righting a wrong.

Finally, talking about tax conformity as tax relief is a joke. It isn’t tax relief. I don’t recall the DFL legislature passing tax conformity last year but if they did, they certainly didn’t talk about it as tax relief. When tax conformity was passed in previous sessions, the legislature just treated it like the right thing to do, a ho-hum type of thing.

I’m betting that the reason the DFL is trumpeting tax conformity as tax relief is because the DFL wants some political cover from the charges that a) the DFL passed the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history and b) the DFL’s tax increase hit plenty of middle class families.

The DFL and their allies like ABM and TakeAction Minnesota aren’t tethered to the truth. They’re more closely affiliated with spin that says reducing the size of last year’s tax increase is a tax cut. There’s a simple thing to remember. The next time that the DFL cuts taxes…will be the first time the DFL cuts taxes.

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