Friday night, former AG Mike Hatch tried playing the ‘raising taxes is inevitable’ card during the political roundtable on Almanac. His argument is that we’ll either raise property taxes or income taxes to balance the budget.

Hatch even cited MMB statistics showing that the GOP’s plan to not raise income taxes will cause “a $428 million property tax increase.” That’s nonsense. Here’s why.

First, MMB can’t assume that local units of government will change their priorities or spending habits even though it makes sense. In the real world, people make different decisions when financial conditions change.

Next, Mr. Hatch apparently thinks that citizens won’t fire elected official who’d rather raise taxes than set intelligent priorities. With money being tight, I think the odds of citizens just settling for that type of representation is unlikely.

Finally, the people who’d raise property taxes would property taxes on their neighbor, their co-worker, their friend or someone they know at church. It’s one thing for someone in St. Paul to raise taxes on people who they’ll likely never meet. It’s another for a person to raise taxes on their neighbor, friend or co-worker. After all, it’s likely that that politician’s neighbor, friend or co-worker will want to have a chat with them if they cast an unpopular vote.

Also appearing on the panel were Fritz Knaak, Marty Seifert and Denise Cardinal. One thing that’s apparent is that Ms. Cardinal was outclassed by Mssrs. Hatch, Knaak and Seifert by a significant amount.

Marty made a number of substantive suggestions on how Minnesota could save money, including unfunded mandate reforms and privatizing things. He specifically mentioned sending printing jobs to a private company several years back rather than using the in-house print shop.

Bids were taken. Predictably, the government unions complained about losing jobs. The job was done by a private company for a cheaper price than the job would’ve cost had they kept the project in-house. It took less time.

Most importantly, Minnesota’s Main Street didn’t notice the change. Had they noticed, I’d bet they would’ve been fine with the change because it saved the state money, which means citizens could’ve kept more money in their wallets.

The thing that stood out most to me was when Fritz Knaak said that, this week, it became apparent to him that the DFL was the party of the status quo, that they weren’t the party of ideas. I didn’t realize that Mr. Knaak hadn’t noticed that before tonight but it’s nice that he’s noticed.

I’ve written for the past 3 years that the DFL was an obstructionist majority and that Sen. Berglin’s HHS committee was “where good health care reforms go to die.” This isn’t news to GOP activists. It’s a bit of a yawner, in fact.

The reality is, though, that the DFL is stubbornly wedded to the status quo because too many government unions rely on the status quo.

DFLers Hatch and Cardinal apparently didn’t notice that voters rejected their policies in rather significant numbers this past election. It wasn’t just a matter of the DFL losing a few seats in both houses. In the Senate, the DFL lost one-fourth of their members, dropping from 46 seats to 30. In the House, Democrats went from 87 seats to 62 seats, a drop of almost 30 percent.

Cardinal hasn’t shown that she’s figured that out yet, replying that the GOP majorities will have a difficult time governing. That’s foolishness. Thus far, the GOP majorities have kept one promise after another in terms of streamlining the permitting process and cutting spending.

DFL legislators shouldn’t heed the advice of pundits like Ms. Cardinal. If swing district legislators listen to her, they’ll soon be former legislators.

Hatch is right about this though. Something is inevitable. That inevitability just isn’t what he said. Change is what’s inevitable. It’s just a matter of whether the DFL listens to the people or whether they’ll get hit with the political equivalent of a steamroller.

Based on their actions thus far, I’m betting it’s the latter.

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6 Responses to “It Isn’t A Matter of Whether We’ll Raise Taxes”

  • Gretchen Leisen says:

    Thanks for you excellent commentary on all the latest political news and ideas. You are a great watchdog for conservative principles. Your blog is first on my list to view every morning.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Thanks Gretchen. I hope life is well with you.

  • walter hanson says:


    I live in Minneapolis. Here’s an interesting difference that makes your point. In 2011 my county property taxes went down even though the county had suffered budget cuts from the states.

    On the other hand my taxes for the city of Minneapolis went up. Their budget is over $1.3 billion and the amount of state aide which was cut was $20 million or 1.5% of their budget. Easy to replace. Of course since they don’t want to cut dream worthless spending they cut police, fire, street repairs first. Of course when the city is so totally control by the democrats they don’t care.

    Um Gary I think the Democrats lost more than a third of their Senate members.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Rex Newman says:

    Ms. Cardinal must live in the same la-la land as Lori Sturdevant. I’m at least glad she’s in politics, not doing something where such folly doesn’t work. Like handling explosives, wiring office buildings, brain surgery, rocket science, …

  • Gary Gross says:

    I totally agree, Rex. The reality is that Ms. Cardinal isn’t skilled in making logical arguments. About all she’s skilled at is repeating that day’s talking points. You can train parrots to do that.

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