The DFL chose to pick up where they left off last spring. They chose to start by reintroducing a massive tax increase with their first bill:
Minnesota drivers would pay an additional 7Â½ cents a gallon in gasoline taxes, metro area consumers would shell out half a cent more on the dollar in sales taxes, and license tab fees for expensive new cars would go up under a big transportation funding bill unveiled today by Democratic-Farmer-Labor leaders in the state Legislature. The package would raise an estimated $8.4 billion over 10 years for roads, bridges and bus and rail transit projects.
“This bill is aimed at making sure that all of our roads and bridges in Minnesota are safe,” Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Murphy, R-Red Wing, said at a Capitol news conference. “It also will kick-start our economy.”
DFLers announced their transportation plan shortly before the Legislature opened its 2008 session at noon. Murphy predicted the measure would provide 33,000 jobs a year for five years, most of them in “good-paying, mainly union jobs with (medical and retirement) benefits.”
Here’s the first question I have: What is Sen. Murphy basing his job creation projections on? Here’s the second question I have: When has a state ever used massive tax increases to bring about prosperity? Here’s more from Sen. Murphy:
The bill would put at least $11 billion into transportation over the next decade. Murphy hopes to have the bill on Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s desk before March, and if it runs into a veto, override the Republican governor by Easter.
The good news is that the House GOP is starting this session where they left off, too:
But the bill is too expensive for Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his fellow Republicans. It’s larger than a similar transportation-funding bill that he vetoed last year.
“The bill takes more money out of peoples’ pockets than ever,” said House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall. “It’s simply unacceptable.”
The bill will be vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty. At that point, the DFL will attempt to override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto, which will be sustained in the House:
Asked if he had five GOP votes, Lieder replied, “We assume we do.”
But Seifert, the Republican leader, said, “I can’t see it.”
The DFL is pushing a massive tax increase at a time when many of their freshmen will be up for their first re-election. If the DFL insists that these freshmen vote for the increase and/or the override, they will have signed the death warrant on many of these freshmen. Here’s something else that won’t fly with voters:
In addition, the legislation indexes the gas tax to the consumer price index so that it would increase automatically without a vote by the Legislature.
That’s a chickenshit way of increasing taxes. If DFL legislators want to increase taxes, they’d better have the courage of voting for it each session. Putting that escalator is as pathetic as mandating tax increases by constitutional amendment. The reason why the DFL leadership is doing things that way is because they know there isn’t support for ongoing tax increases amongst the voters.
That isn’t the only thing where the DFL is showing their disgraceful side. Tuesday night, a contact of mine called me with a Day One wrap-up. This contact said that the DFL will tie the I-35 bridge money to the Transportation Bill in the hopes of forcing Gov. Pawlenty into signing it. The DFL knows that they won’t get the bill signed without that threat. If they try that stunt, I’ll guarantee that the public will find out about it because blogs all across the MOB will publish the news on their blogs and editorials will be written in all the outstate newspapers. I’ll personally write an editorial for the St. Cloud Times. Tarryl and Larry can take that to the bank.
Here’s the quote that sums the DFL up perfectly:
Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung noted that two of the first three bills the Legislature plans to pass rely on tax increases.
“Our concern is that when Democrats talk about jump-starting, they’re going to attach the jumper cables to your wallet,” McClung said. “This is not the direction we should be heading in when we have a tough economy.”
Anytime that you hear about a Democrat talk about creating jobs, it’s safe to assume that it’s through tax increases & public works projects. In mid-December, Phil Krinkie appeared on Almanac’s roundtable discussion, this time talking about the economy. When Ember Reichgott-Junge said that the best elixir for Minnesota’s economy would be a supersized bonding bill, Phil jumped in, saying that he’d put together the last 2 bonding bills.
He said that both were approximately $1 billion each. He then said that “If bonding bills created a good economy”, we should have the best economy in Minnesota history.
To have a consistent, job creating economy, you need a reasonable business climate. That means having a business-friendly (preferably tax-cutting) legislature. That doesn’t exist in Minnesota right now. In fact, Minnesota ranks as one of the 10 worst tax climates. Only a handful of states are worse. Voters needn’t look further than Michigan to see what happens in a hostile tax environment.
Under John Engler, Michigan kept taxes low, including a significant tax cut. During Gov. Engler’s administration, they had a strong economy. One of the first things that Jennifer Granholm did as governor was sign a massive tax increase. Another thing that happened is that she started increasing government spending. She hasn’t retreated from either of those policies.
As a result, Michigan’s economy has been losing jobs in droves for three years.
Here’s what my ‘adopted’ state legislator, Steve Gottwalt, told me this weekend:
“There is clearly middle ground on transportation that would move things forward but the DFL leadership has indicated that they will not go there.”
If the DFL insists on playing a ‘my way or no highways’ tune, the GOP will highlight that in every freshman DFLer’s reelection campaign.