DFL calls GOP’s ad campaign ‘the height of hypocrisy’

An ad campaign by the Republican Party of Minnesota urging the Legislature to return the state’s entire $1.9 billion surplus to taxpayers definitely struck a nerve with DFL Party Chair Ken Martin.

In response to a Republican news conference outlining the “Give it Back” campaign, Martin called the campaign, “the height of hypocrisy…. [Republican Party chair] Keith Downey has taken a position that is wildly different than the highest ranking Republican in the state.”

Martin was referring to Speaker of House Kurt Daudt’s comments that nursing homes and schools should be high on the receiving end of some of that surplus, though Daudt has also indicated that at least half of that surplus and “probably a lot more than that” should be targeted to tax relief.

That didn’t stop Martin from insisting that the GOP party and Downey were acting like “party bosses trying to pull the strings and call the shots,” and enforcing “ideological purity.”     

Then it was Martin’s turn to spin party ideology, describing Republican spending priorities as, “continued disinvestment in education, transportation.” 

“We actually started to turn the corner on these critical areas,” he said. “I’m outraged because I care about seeing something happen that actually benefits the people of this state.”

For his part, Downey maintains the campaign is “educational” in nature and not an end-run to dictate legislative policy. But Downey is also treading where former party chair Tony Sutton made enemies among Republican legislators.  

In 2011, Sutton demanded that Republicans oppose any new means of revenue, like gambling, that was intended to fund a new Vikings stadium. Many Republican lawmakers were already on board with gambling expansion efforts and responded coolly to Sutton’s implied threats. 

Downey said it would be up to legislators to decide the amount and nature of any tax cuts, adding that, “the people of Minnesota don’t really know. Do they really know that that the two billion dollar tax increase [enacted in 2013] has now resulted in a two billion dollar surplus?”

The GOP ad, which cost the party $150,000, will run one week on cable, broadcast and Internet outlets.

Despite Martin’s protest that the Republicans should not be entering this arena of debate, he didn’t rule out that the DFL would reply in kind.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by John Ellenbecker on 03/11/2015 - 02:46 pm.

    Educational in nature?

    If Downey in fact claims the ad is “educational” in nature, it begins by stating a lie – the opposite of being education. The ad claims that we were overtaxed – which isn’t true. The state’s budget – spending and revenue – are based upon projections. The state’s budget, based upon those projections, is required to be balanced. The level of taxation was calculated to be enough to pay for the spending that was authorized. We weren’t taxed to much – we were taxed just enough. What happened? Why a surplus? The economy far outperformed the projections. If Downey was trying to be educational, he would have stated the truth – we have a surplus because the economy turned out to be much to good – it outperformed projections. But that can’t be the message of those critical of Gov. Dayton and the DFL – to suggest that the tax increase on the wealthy didn’t hurt the economy – in fact the economy outperformed projections – would be to admit that Republicans were wrong.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/12/2015 - 07:05 am.

    How Sad It Is

    That the Republican Party of Minnesota, once a source of useful ideas to compete with the Democratic party,…

    now has nothing but lies and hypocrisy to offer the Citizens of the State of Minnesota.

    Even MORE sad is that the majority of Minnesotans will see this ad,..

    apply the “where we are now compared to where we were with the Republicans in charge,” measure,…

    and conclude that they simply can’t expect the Republican Party to offer anything of value to their lives or to our state,…

    this add just being one more proof of that fact.

  3. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 03/12/2015 - 08:19 am.

    Why Shouldn’t the People Get Their Money?

    Ok, so we have a huge surplus. Why not give it back to the people? Yes, it’s based off of projections. But if the economy does better, why do people think that the government gets to keep it? It’s not their money in the first place. Oh, your grocery bill really is $100 less this week, but the grocer gets to keep the extra money anyway.
    Thanks to the ‘great’ insight of the DFL the last 4 years, our state’s spending has increased 24%. That is far from sustainable. Of course the DFL chief has to cut down the GOP. But he, like his brethren, has never seen a spending program that he doesn’t like. Nor will he ever go against the ever permanent increases in government spending.
    If the government wants to keep the economy moving, then it will keep the money with the people.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/12/2015 - 12:48 pm.


    Save the money for the rainy day fund. Eventually the economy will turn south again, we’ll be caught (as usual) with our pants down, and the money will come in handy to balance the budget. It’s like having a cash reserve for the household in case the car breaks down and the washer gags and dies on your socks.

  5. Submitted by Chad Quigley on 03/12/2015 - 05:37 pm.

    Surplus – No, over taxed

    The surplus is an over taxation of those who actually pay taxes, not a windfall for the government so they can spend more on the failing education system (not failing for lack of money though) and social engineering programs. The DFL’s insatiable appetite for ever increased levels of spending is not sustainable.
    According to DFL logic, when the economy is bad, spend, spend, spend and when the economy is good, spend, spend, spend. My income hasn’t grown 25% in the last ten years so the government’s budget shouldn’t have grown 25%. The DFL thinks that money grows on trees and that taxpayers will continue to take it in the shorts because the so called “quality of life” is so great in MN. There are plenty of other states that have a great quality of life for people who are not dependent on the government.

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