Politicians like nothing so much as lists and multi-point plans. At a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Excelsior today, Independence Party candidate Tom Horner outlined his five-point program for bringing jobs to the state.
• Reforming Minnesota’s tax system
• Educating Minnesotans for the new economy
• Investing in research and innovation
• Streamlining regulation
• And investing in modern infrastructure.
If you feel like you’ve heard this before, it’s because you have in various forms of Horner’s presentations on education, the state fiscal crisis and business.
For all of Horner’s talk of new approaches to state government, only one proposal in his jobs program is easy-to-understand old school. When he says investing in a modern infrastructure, he means a bonding bill, though his bonding proposal ($400 million) would be less than half that proposed by Mark Dayton.
“Investing in research and innovation” is the squishiest of Horner’s proposals. He envisions a $145 million pool of money to assist start-up costs for new companies.
Another favorite talking point of Horner’s is “integrating Minnesota’s two-year technical and community colleges into the needs of the local and regional economies.’’
Horner’s overall goal is neither surprising nor different from the goals of Tom Emmer or Dayton.
“The goal of any jobs program for Minnesota must be to increase the number of good, well-paying jobs in the private sector,” he says.
All three candidates agree that “streamlining” the government bureaucracy is vital. As for rejuventating Minnesota’s place as a business leader, there’s disagreement based on principles.
Emmer insists the only way to do that is “to get government off the backs of business.”
Dayton’s list tends to be shorter when he talks about the job market. A bonding bill, yes. But mostly he pounds on investing in education, from preschool through college.
Minnesota’s Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton, meanwhile, quickly issued a statement dismissing Horner’s plan as “a rehash of ideas from his unbalanced budget plan and exactly what one would expect from an Obama supporter.” Sutton added: “Horner calls for more government spending, which struggling Minnesota taxpayers can’t shoulder.”
Later, the Dayton campaign weighed in, too.
“Mr. Horner’s proposal to create jobs by cutting the corporate tax rate shows that he is more concerned about his friends in big business than he is about working women and men in Minnesota,” said Deputy Campaign Manager Katharine Tinucci. “He is willing to sacrifice the best interests of Minnesotans for the sake of special interests.”