Last year, I wrote about the difficulty the DFL had in passing their tax increases. I titled the post “35-31, 68-65: A Tale of the DFL’s Tax Troubles“. This afternoon, the Senate DFL leadership had similar difficulty in passing this year’s tax increases, passing it by a slimmer than slim margin of 34-33.

The Strib is reporting that Tarryl Clark, my senator, cast the deciding vote:

Democrats were leaning on their large majorities in both chambers to pass the tax provision. Even so, a dozen Senate Democrats voted no. The deciding vote was cast by Sen. Tarryl Clark, a candidate for Congress in a right-leaning district represented by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, an outspoken anti-tax Republican.

The proposal would establish a new income tax bracket for 122,000 high-income taxpayers, raising $395 million through the middle of next year.

Raising $395,000,000 isn’t nothing by any stretch but it’s barely a dent in the $3,000,000,000 deficit. First off, this bill won’t make it through the conference committee. Whatever tax increase that comes out of the conference committee will be less than one-seventh of the projected deficit.

That means that the DFL legislature will still be left with finding another $2,600,000,000 in spending cuts and spending delays. You’ll remember that that’s almost the identical amount unallotted by Gov. Pawlenty. After all the fighting, the DFL still hasn’t provided a solution to the problem that Gov. Pawlenty fixed last year.

Tarryl can’t even defend her vote as being an important part of the final solution to the deficit they’re facing. It’s just another DFL attack on small businesses. If it’s true that good policy makes for great politicking, then Tarryl’s vote in the polar opposite of good politicking.

Tarryl’s vote just alienated small businesses en masse from Stillwater to Fridley to St. Cloud. Tarryl was fighting an uphill fight prior to this vote. Now she’s fighting an uphill fight against the wind on slippery roads. Good luck with that fight.

The GOP leadership in the Senate quickly criticized the DFL’s approach:

“Last week, the DFL Majority passed a bill to bailout public employee pensions. Now, they want to raise taxes to bailout the Minnesota State Government,” said Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem (R-Rochester). “This is simply the worst time to be raising taxes in any form.”

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Geoff Michel (R-Edina) added: “The Senate Democrats have been chanting ‘tax the rich’ for years. If we maintain this attitude towards Minnesota’s taxpayers and job providers, unemployment will rise and personal income will spiral downward. Making Minnesota the fifth-highest taxed state is not a solution that will create jobs and encourage economic growth. This bill is a job killer.”

“Failing to put the school payment shift permanently into statute sends a terrible message to school districts all over the state,” said Senator David Hann (R-Eden Prairie). “School district officials need financial certainty as they try to effectively manage their budgets.”

From a public policy standpoint, this is foolish. There’s no way to defend this vote. More than a few DFL senators will be defeated for casting this vote, not just for raising taxes but because it isn’t the solution to the deficit. More importantly, this tax increase will weaken Minnesota’s economy. Geoff Michel put it perfectly by saying this:

“The only people celebrating today are real estate agents in Arizona and Florida. There will be a lot of Minnesotans packing to leave as they are taxed out of house and home.”

If this tax increase was signed into law, there’d be a jobs exodus from Minnesota. Thankfully, it won’t become law. Still, it’s important to know which senators voted for the jobs exodus bill:

DEMOCRATS VOTING YES

Anderson (St. Paul); Bakk (Cook); Berglin (Minneapolis); Betzold (Fridley); Chaudhary (Fridley); Clark (St. Cloud); Cohen (St. Paul); Dibble (Minneapolis); Foley (Coon Rapids); Higgins (Minneapolis); Kelash (Minneapolis); Kubly (Granite Falls); Langseth (Glyndon); Latz (St. Louis Park); Lourey (Kerrick); Marty (Roseville); Metzen (South St. Paul); Moua (St. Paul); Murphy (Red Wing); Pappas (St. Paul); Pogemiller (Minneapolis); Prettner Solon (Duluth); Rest (New Hope); Saxhaug (Grand Rapids); Scheid (Brooklyn Park); Sheran (Mankato); Sieben (Newport); Skoe (Clearbrook); Sparks (Austin); Stumpf (Plummer); Tomassoni (Chisholm); Torres Ray (Minneapolis); Vickerman (Tracy); Wiger (Maplewood)

It’s noteworthy that all 21 Republicans voted against the DFL’s jobs exodus bill.

The bottom line is this:

  • The Senate DFL’s tax increase bill is an attack on small businesses.
  • Tarryl’s vote for the jobs exodus bill is another nail in her political career, especially running against Michele Bachmann in Republican friendly year.
  • Alot of DFL senators will lose their seat because of this vote.

Now it’s time for small businesses and their employees to rally against the DFL. It’s time they started supporting pro-capitalist conservative candidates because their job is at stake.

The good news for me is that John Pederson will be taking Tarryl’s place in the Senate next year. John’s a strong conservative and an unabashed capitalist. In other words, the polar opposite of Tarryl.

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