Minnesota’s Tax Wars seem destined to intensify


Minnesota’s version of the Tax Wars will continue, not just unabated, but with escalating gusto from now until … Bob von Sternberg and Mike Kaszuba of the Strib write: “The budget deal that ended the state government shutdown is also single-handedly reigniting what will be at least a 16-month, rough-and-tumble rematch in the bitter partisan battle over taxing and spending. … ‘I’m not going to give up on this,’ Gov. Mark Dayton said of the tax increase proposal he campaigned on but was forced to withdraw. ‘I’m going to come back, if not next year, the year following’, he said. ‘I’ll advocate for it, campaign for it, press for it for as long as I’m drawing breath.’ House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, says he is ready to start doorknocking now on what he considers the bottom line of the budget deal. ‘We didn’t raise taxes,’ he said flatly. ‘There are far more people who get the joke now. It’s not about taxing rich people, it’s about taxing small-business owners. … That’s not where a vast majority of Minnesotans are.’ ” All 7,700 of them.

Every GOP candidate knows the peril of getting cross-ways with a talk radio jock. Politico’s Burns and Haberman report: “Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign is flatly denying an Iowa radio host’s claim that Pawlenty’s team has contacted former Michele Bachmann interns in search of damaging information. Pawlenty press secretary Alex Conant said the campaign has asked WHO host Simon Conway to back up his charge, leveled at the former governor in a Wednesday interview. Conway has been ‘unwilling or unable’ to provide evidence supporting the accusation.” But I thought “evidence” on talk radio was just that the guy said it?

Not sure if there’s a warranty issue here. Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “The driver of a 1915 Model T has died after a wheel fell off the vintage vehicle and it crashed on a southeastern Minnesota highway, authorities said. Kenneth W. Meek, 64, of St. Clair, Mo., died at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester on Wednesday, one week after the crash west of Chatfield on Hwy. 30, according to the State Patrol.”

Good Lord. The stuff that allegedly serious newspapers actually publish … On the Washington Post’s “On Faith” page, Margaret Feinberg looks at Michele Bachmann and asks: “Once Christians realize that the Bible in no way restricts women from serving in politics, we’re left to wrestle with a different question. Not can Michele Bachmann run for president, but should she? Is she truly the best candidate? Does she have the experience and know-how to lead our nation through challenging times? The average voter is looking for a leader who is capable, experienced, and proven —qualifications that seem increasingly hard to find if you examine the list of presidential hopefuls. The big issue for the 2012 election won’t be and shouldn’t be a question of gender. Rather, we need to ask who the best person is to turn around our economy, bring home our troops, and clean up Washington. And on that, the vote is still out.” So “Christians” believe the Bible restricts women from “serving in politics.” What the … ?

Seven years is a lot of persistence. Steve Brandt of the Strib writes: “Developer Brad Hoyt’s third stab at building housing on Loring Hill in Minneapolis could be on the verge of success. Hoyt’s bid for a 124-unit residence on the hill overlooking Loring Park got a key boost Thursday: A City Council committee voted 4-1 in favor of his appeal of the city Planning Commission’s denial of approvals he needs. Assuming the full City Council concurs next Friday, Hoyt could proceed with construction on a site he’s been trying to develop since 2004. … Meanwhile, Citizens for a Loring Park Community, the neighborhood group that testified against Hoyt’s proposal, is preparing to vacate the office it has occupied for 12 years after Hoyt opted not to continue its month-to-month lease.”

And the effect on Minnesota of a U.S. debt default will be … ? The AP says: “Minnesota could face higher borrowing costs and potential cash flow problems if the federal government defaults on its debt. The Minnesota Management and Budget finance agency said Thursday that a federal default could slow the economy and hurt markets, throwing plans to sell more than $1 billion in state bonds this fall into question and potentially causing a cash crunch. … The finance agency also said a cash flow problem could develop if federal funds don’t arrive on schedule and a bad market delays the bond sales. Pushing back the bond sales could hold up construction projects. Lawmakers last week approved a $500 million construction financing package for college and university campuses, flood relief and other projects. The state’s budget fix for a $5 billion deficit includes a plan to sell $640 million worth of bonds backed by future payments from a legal settlement with tobacco companies.”

That TV ad with the fake Morgan Freeman urging Wisconsin voters to reject Democrat Shelley Moore has caught the attention of Strib editorial writer Jill Burcum. She says: “Calls to the organization behind the ad weren’t immediately returned Thursday. The website for Citizens for a Strong America doesn’t list its funding sources. One credible organization, SourceWatch, alleges that Citizens for a Strong America has ties to billionaire libertarian David Koch, who has called for abolishing Social Security and legalizing prostitution, among other things. The respected Politifact.com fact-checked a previous ad the group ran in a Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign earlier this year and gave it the worst possible rating — ‘Pants on Fire’ — on its Truth-O-Meter. The group’s latest effort is nothing less than a fake celebrity endorsement of Moore’s opponent, Republican Sheila Harsdorf, in the recall election taking place just across the border. And it comes on the heels of the news that the state GOP enlisted fake Democrats to run in primary contests.”

Wisconsin is getting gayer by the year. Dan Simmons in the Wisconsin State Journal reports: “The number of same-sex couples in Wisconsin jumped nearly 66 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to federal census figures released Thursday. Not all of those couples publicly celebrated their union … and the state doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry after voters approved a 2006 referendum limiting marriage to a man and a woman. … Among the 29 states for which the census has released data so far, every one showed an increase in same-sex couples, with a total overall jump of 49 percent. At the top of the list were Montana, which saw an 88 percent increase, and West Virginia, at 80 percent. Wisconsin ranks 11th among the 29 states in rate of increase. Big jumps in some states probably can be attributed to a growing willingness to report. ‘There does seem to be a notion that more conservative places previously had bigger closets,’ [UCLA demographer Gary] Gates said. New York, California, Vermont and Connecticut, by contrast, saw only modest increases.”

Last evening’s fiasco over the so-called “Boehner bill” to resolve the debt crisis — with the Speaker of the House (the Speaker of the House) — scheduling a vote without having his ducks in line to pass the bill — was still playing out when John Hinderaker filed a post on Power Line: “Normally one would assume that Boehner wouldn’t schedule the vote unless he knew he had the votes needed for passage, but news accounts say the outcome was still in doubt as of a few hours ago. … One would hope that voters have begun to notice that the only body that has actually done anything concrete to resolve the debt impasse is the House of Representatives. Unlike the Senate, it has passed a budget. It also passed cut, cap and balance. So now, for the third time, the House will have acted while the Democratic Senate can’t get its act together. Harry Reid says he will organize a vote in the Senate to defeat the House bill, perhaps as early as tonight. Maybe so. But as the clock ticks toward August 2 (which may or may not be a particularly meaningful date, but the Republicans are best served by going along with the assumption that it is), it will be obvious to everyone that any failure to resolve the debt ceiling issue lies at the door of the Democratic Party; in particular, Harry Reid and Barack Obama. So let’s hope Boehner has the votes.” John, pal, isn’t it pretty obvious that all Boehner can do is “hope” … and pray?

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 07/29/2011 - 07:57 am.

    It would be ironic if the real Morgan Freeman endorsed Moore.

  2. Submitted by RR Strick on 07/29/2011 - 08:17 am.

    We keep hearing that the House of Representatives is “the only body that has actually done anything concrete to resolve the debt impasse.” But how meaningful is that when what they’ve passed is so far outside what polls have shown the majority of Americans support? And how effective can they possibly be when they refuse to even consider thoughts, suggestions & ideas from across the aisle??

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/29/2011 - 08:32 am.

    …It’s not about taxing rich people, it’s about taxing small-business owners….

    It’s time for some real research into the actual number of employees of the small business owners with a taxable income of $250,000 or more.

    My suspicion is that many of these people are small operations that have few, if any, employees. Would an insurance agent or an attorney fire their assistant if they paid a couple thousand more a year in taxes? Are they ever likely to hire more employees, or will the farm or pactice remain essentially the same into the forseeable future? How many people actually are in the rinky-dink tax set-up of running all business income as personal income?

    Time for some research.

  4. Submitted by Shannon Walsh on 07/29/2011 - 08:34 am.

    The foundation for the fundamentalist group think regarding the role of women is typically based on the biblical writing of the Apostle Timothy. I Timothy 2:11-15.

    Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.

    Some people’s kids…

  5. Submitted by Tim Walker on 07/29/2011 - 09:05 am.

    Biblical text that prohibits women from entering politics? Try 1 Timothy 2:12:

    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”

    Heck, women shouldn’t even *talk* in church (1 Corinthians 14:34):

    “The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.”

    And this is New Testament stuff, too.

    A lot of folks slam Islam for its treatment of women, but Christianity is all about subjugating and controlling women, too.

  6. Submitted by David Wintheiser on 07/29/2011 - 09:16 am.

    Mr. Hinderaker appears to be missing an important point in his analysis of who’s being ‘serious’ in the budget debate: namely, Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution:

    “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”

    Perhaps the Tea Party Caucus might like a word with Mr. Hinderaker?

  7. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/29/2011 - 09:56 am.

    After ten years of the Republican Party in Minnesota worshiping at the feet of Grover Norquist and slavishly sticking to their “protect the huge tax cut we granted to our rich friends, no matter at what cost to the average citizens of the State of Minnesota,”…

    and after our recent budget crisis, the citizens of Minnesota now clearly see the Republican Party in its current incarnation for the one-trick pony that it so clearly is.

    Today’s Minnesota Republicans are the functional equivalent of a person whose only tool is a hammer, who therefore, sees every problem, from a lose floorboard, to a cracked window, to a balky laptop computer, to a noisy child as something to be solved by pounding on it, their “hammer,” the ONLY tool in their toolbox being “tax cuts” (but more than that, doing whatever it takes to further enrich the already fabulously wealthy).

    They really seem to believe that the only problem of Minnesota and our nation is that the rich aren’t rich ENOUGH yet. If we just give the rich MORE of everyone else’s resources, they’ll magically solve ALL our problems. The thirty+ years of countervailing evidence we now have is simply not allowed to enter their dysfonic awareness.

    Yes, there will be a lot of sound and fury regarding “small business owners” being the victim of tax increases, but the reality is, that small business owners are FAR MORE the victims of policies enacted by the Republicans:

    bankruptcy law changes that made it almost impossible for a person trying to start a small business to go through the three or four business failures (average) required before they develop a successful formula; said changes making it nearly impossible for such entrepreneurs to escape from their failures in order to accomplish success, (and thereby wiping out one of the primary sources of job growth in our state and nation).


    the decision on the part of most financial institutions that they can make far more money playing games with money than actually investing it in those who are taking the risks of starting new businesses – thus it is now impossible for a small business startup to find financial backing.

    Of course MILLIONS of small businesses, nationwide, evaporated during the financial crises when bankers got skittish, decided that lots of successful small businesses might be risky, and pulled those small business’s operating loans.

    Every one of us saw successful small businesses close overnight as the result of losing their financing because nervous bankers didn’t want to take even the slightest risk (said bankers, thereby, making the economy FAR MORE risky and adding to the national rates of unemployment by their own very questionable actions).

    The Republican Party has come very close to killing “small business” in this country and made it almost impossible for entrepreneurs to start up new small businesses, and TAXES have had NOTHING to do with it.

    But Minnesotans are NOT as stupid nor as blind as our Republican friends hope. No matter how slick their commercials, nor how ominous their prophecies of doom if we elect more functional adults to run our government, Minnesotans, with this years’ budget crisis firmly in their minds, will see those commercials as the equivalent of late night infomercials selling get rich quick real estate schemes, miracle weight loss products, rejuvenating vitamin supplements, or “magic” juices from rare tropical fruits;

    amusing in their over-the-top enthusiasm but about as trustworthy as the man on the street of some third world country selling Rolex watches for $12.

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/29/2011 - 10:07 am.

    //Time for some research.

    Research is always a good idea but for the most party you know a Republican is lying because their lips are moving. Like all that crap about free health care for illegal aliens.

  9. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 07/29/2011 - 12:56 pm.

    So tired of the this anti-taxers hiding behind “small business” crap, as if they actually cared. If the tax code can’t distinguish between a guy running a hardware store and a financial-trader type raking in millions in capitol gains, the problem is with the tax code, not the tax rate.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/29/2011 - 01:57 pm.

    I’m glad to see Dayton’s promise to continue to champion the tax hikes. I hope he sticks to it.

  11. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/29/2011 - 07:01 pm.

    The enemies of tax fairness still don’t seem to have learned (or are pretending they don’t know) that a small businessperson is not taxed on gross income. His/her personal taxable income is what is left after paying salaries and benefits, taxes and all other business expenses. Only if $250,000 or more is left as personal income is it taxed as such.

  12. Submitted by will lynott on 07/30/2011 - 02:44 pm.

    #11, a little louder, please. Zellers is Kool-Aiding so loudly he can’t hear you.

    BTW, what’s Burcum’s point, that republicans lie, cheat, and steal?

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