Tom Horner’s budget plan, aimed at the middle, quickly attacked by both DFL and Republicans

Tom Horner announced his budget plan this afternoon in St. Paul.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Tom Horner announced his budget plan this afternoon in St. Paul.

The numbers on the budget outline that Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner announced this afternoon are a little squishy.

But the politics are clear.

This budget outline (PDF) offers up ideas that will enrage both the left and the right.

Horner knows that. In fact, he’s almost counting on supporters of the DFL’s Mark Dayton and the Republican Party’s Tom Emmer to express great angst. He wants to paint himself as the man in the middle, willing to step on toes of people on both sides as he tackles problems.

“If people disagree, fine,” Horner said. “But disagree with alternatives.”

DFL, GOP take the bait
And of course DFLers and Republicans took the bait. They both snapped at the Horner outline.

Dayton was first up, offering his criticism within moments of reporters having left the stuffy conference room where Horner unveiled his outline for dealing with the $6 billion hole in the state’s budget. 

“Mr. Horner and Representative Emmer both believe that Minnesota’s millionaires and multimillionaires should not pay a single dollar more in personal income taxes,” Dayton said in a statement, “and that everyone else in Minnesota should pay higher taxes instead. That is a fundamental difference between me and both of them in this campaign.”

Republicans took a little longer to respond but were nearly as predictable.

“Tom Horner’s regressive and irresponsible plan to extend the sales tax to clothing and others services like haircuts will hurt hard-working Minnesotans of all incomes,” said the party’s chairman, Tony Sutton, in a statement. “Horner likes to pretend he’s a moderate but he always ends up taking the liberal position by pushing for higher taxes and bigger government. … With Horner and Mark Dayton both promising tax increases, Tom Emmer is the only candidate in the race who will reduce taxes to foster private sector job growth.”

Dayton’s right.

Horner’s outline calls for no increases in the income taxes paid by Minnesota’s wealthiest.

The Republicans are right.

Horner is calling for $2.1 billion in “new revenue” (taxes) to attack the budget deficit Minnesota’s next governor will be greeted with.

Sales tax proposal one key element
Most of that new revenue would come in the form of a broader-based sales tax that would include clothing and some services. Other revenue will come from a racino ($250 million), an increase of a whopping $1.50 increase on each pack of cigarettes and a dime increase on every adult beverage served in Minnesota.

The sale tax proposal is the biggest element and contains the most room for political fighting. Horner would start by decreasing the tax by 1 percent. But that figure is misleading, for in another portion of the Horner outline, counties would each be allowed to increase sales taxes by a half-percent to make up for losses they would incur from cutbacks in funding they currently receive from the state.

In reality, both Horner and his running mate, Jim Mulder, an authority on county governments, believe that most counties indeed would tack on the half-percent, meaning the real sales tax cut would be a half-percent.

Most progressives — and today Republicans — find the sales tax hugely regressive.

Horner, however, argues that it’s actually progressive.

“The wealthy consume more,” he said.

To protect the poorest from the broadening of the sales tax, Horner would establish a sales tax credit program of $350 million. At this point, he has no calculations as to how poor a Minnesotan would have to be to tap into that $350 million pot.

When asked for specifics, Horner repeatedly said that he didn’t have an economic team available to create a model that would deal with all the intricacies of his plan.

Is Horner’s plan left or right?

White collar vs. blue collar?
Perhaps the terms “white collar” versus “blue collar” would be more accurate in attempting to define the Horner position. With those terms, this would appear to be a plan that favors those with white collars.

For example, when Horner talks about which services would be subject to a sales tax, he was quick to eliminate lawyers.

“I would not tax legal services,” he said, saying that lawyers face competition from across state lines. He added that other forms of “business to business” services would not be subject to a sales tax under his proposal because of his fear of putting Minnesota businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

When Horner talks about business, he sounds very much like the Republican he’s been for most of his life. He would cut corporate income taxes, which he says are far too high and put Minnesota in a tough spot competitively. He also says corporate income taxes are “regressive” in that they simply are passed on to the consumer.

Yet, he and Mulder sound more like DFLers when they talk about Emmer, who has announced no plan other than to cut government to get out of the deficit hole. (Emmer’s campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan, told MinnPost’s Jay Weiner that Emmer will announce his plan in September.)

From the top of the news briefing to when Horner and Mulder were exiting the building, there were shots at Emmer.

Horner started by asking the Republican tracker on the scene to leave the stuffy conference room at the Kelly Inn, where the briefing was held.

“We’re doing press credentials only,” Horner said to the tracker, meaning news media people only. “If Mr. Emmer would like to sit down and talk, that’s fine with us.”

After the briefing was over, Mulder took a hard shot at what Emmer and his running mate, Annette Meeks, have proposed so far.

A ‘redesigned’ car?
He scoffed at their use of the term “redesigning government.” He compared their way of redesigning to driving a car into a brick wall.

“You’ll have a redesigned car, all right,” Mulder said. “You may even like how it looks. But it won’t run anymore.”

Because the devil’s in the details in budgeting, it’s hard to say how effective the Horner approach would be. For starters, would either a DFL or Republican Legislature pass it?

The big savings that Horner proposed would be not paying back the $1.8 billion school shift in the immediate future. Horner said that was a hole created by “Republicans and DFLers together” and will need to be addressed at a later date. In the meantime, he said, the state should pay schools’ interest on loans they have to take out to survive the shift.

Horner also claimed he could find $2.45 billion in savings via reform and other reductions, but generally he was not specific on how those reforms would generate those savings.

One area the outline included in terms of reform was putting a sunset on all mandates the state government places on counties. In the end, only those mandates that create “positive outcomes” should be brought back, Horner said.

But again, this six-page document was as much a political document as a budget document.

And from a political standpoint, it was effective.

For starters, the little room was filled with reporters. That means Horner and Mulder were generating a lot of news coverage with this event, which is exactly what the frail Independence Party needs.

And then, of course, left and right attacked, meaning more coverage for Horner.

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

Comments (34)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/23/2010 - 06:26 pm.

    Alas, poor Tom (Horner)…

    He, too, has run into a buzz saw.

    Six minus two is four. The four is to be cut down to two by dubious methods and the rest of the problems will be solved by pulling the rug out from under schools.

    And don’t criticize this plan unless you have one, too. Well, I guess this is aimed at Tom Emmer because the other candidate has a plan that is certainly more specific than this crock of Tom’s.

    And there are ironies galore here. A tax on clothing is progressive? Even the REPUBLICANS are calling it regressive.

    “When asked for specifics, Horner repeatedly said that he didn’t have an economic team available to create a model that would deal with all the intricacies of his plan.”

    So we have a plan but Horner doesn’t even know enough about it to give specifics? This sounds a lot like the other Tom.

    The author of this post seems to believe that at this point if Horner can only get both the Dems and Repubs yelling at him, this will be a good thing.

    Unfortunately for Tom (Horner) this strategy has not worked very well for Emmer because as people realize that the emperor has no clothes, he sinks in the polls. May the same fate befall Horner.

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/23/2010 - 07:21 pm.

    Taxing income always was a bad idea, and it still is. Income, especially hard-earned income, is a good thing and should never be discouraged. We should instead tax the consumption of goods and services with negative externalities and high social costs.

    It’s very short sighted to say that the rich can always pay more. Of course they can, but the long run consequence will be less investment. To paraphrase Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises , we can always burn our furniture to heat our houses, but no one should mistake that for a long term solution or for any kind of wisdom.

  3. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 08/23/2010 - 07:36 pm.

    “Most progressives — and today Republicans — find the sales tax hugely regressive.
    Horner, however, argues that it’s actually progressive. “The wealthy consume more,” he said. ”

    Does someone earning $300,000 consume 3x as much in road usage and public infrastructure as someone earning $100K, 10X as much as someone earning $30K. No. These are (il)liberal polices designed to punish hard work and personal risk.

    Politicians for years raised taxes on liquor sales and tobacco sales in order to reduce their consumption. Why do they no believe that raising taxes on other goods and services will not reduce their usage/sales. Typical non-sensical fiscal policy.

  4. Submitted by Bill Coleman on 08/23/2010 - 07:46 pm.

    The funniest comment here is that the GOP attacks this plan as being regressive. Yet Dayton’s plan to bring state and local taxes to a neutral position bring howls of protest.

    I also chuckle at the notion that corporate income taxes levied on MN companies raise prices for MN consumers. That might be true for small companies serving local companies, but I doubt any meaningful impact on prices at Target or Best Buy or on 3M products at the hardware store.

  5. Submitted by Tom Horner on 08/23/2010 - 08:13 pm.

    I invite everyone to take a look at the plan I laid out. Actually, it is quite specific, with detailed recommendations on reducing spending, redesigning government and reforming taxes. It includes new spending on early learning, families in crisis and older adult services; it creates three “Minnesota Innovation Funds” to spur new thinking about challenges in education, health and community vitality; and, it will create jobs. The details are available at http://www.Horner2010.com

  6. Submitted by Bruce Anderson on 08/23/2010 - 08:14 pm.

    Mr. Horner has put forth a reasonable, balanced solution the DFL/GOP somehow have the nerve to criticize while offering no solutions themselves—and they are responsible for this mess!

    And really Mr. Grow, not only are you wrong about your description of the Independence Party, but I also “frail” to see how that shot is germane to the news event that is Mr. Horner’s budget solution.

  7. Submitted by Dave Kopesky on 08/23/2010 - 08:46 pm.

    As bad as it is he has a real proposal. Dayton would just run business out of the state and Emmer would slash government expenditures(and expect us to “trust him” to tell us where those cuts would come next January). Wouldn’t it be nice if all three candidates would put real proposals out there and we could have some honest debate? In today’s polarized political climate I realize that is not possible.

  8. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/23/2010 - 08:50 pm.

    Tom (Horner)-

    “When asked for specifics, Horner repeatedly said that he didn’t have an economic team available to create a model that would deal with all the intricacies of his plan.”

    Is this quote accurate? Please explain.

    Bill Gleason

  9. Submitted by Tom Horner on 08/23/2010 - 09:20 pm.

    Doug overstates the case in saying that I “repeatedly” said I don’t have an economic team so can’t provide details. There are some specifics that do require more resources than are available to my campaign, but the key elements of my plan are in place and available for anyone’s review. Keep in mind, Mark Dayton STILL is vague on how much he will raise the income tax rates and what other changes he will make — and that after months and months and millions of dollars invested in “tax the rich.” I think if you look at my plan, you will see that the direction, principles and key elements are all there. People may not like my proposals — but I don’t think there will be any uncertainty over where I stand. Plan is at http://www.Horner2010.com

  10. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/23/2010 - 09:27 pm.

    We want to talk about politics and avoid any substantive discussions. Which is probably because we do not have any easy and acceptable answers on the policy side.
    For years we’ve been practicing avoidance, how can we avoid the hard decisions, endless postponement. Call it a shift or a deferral, or call it borrowing. All those deferrals are delayed tax increases. Then then you’re hoping those tax increases will happen on somebody else’s watch and then blame them.

    There was an expectation that we would economically grow our way out out of the problem. The reality is quite the opposite. We have grow into the problem and the problem has become larger because we’ve been rolling our deficits over for the past eight years. We as a state have not recognized that we have a long term problem and until you recognize that, you can’t even discuss what the solutions are.

    We sell slogans instead of philosophy. Nobody agrees on the facts. The DFL doesn’t want to talk about it when they’re trying to spend more on education and social services. The GOP don’t want to talk about it because that would put tax increases on the table. So you have a bipartisan agreement not to talk about the most important problem facing our state. It’s very difficult for the left and the right to make all sorts of promises that can’t be kept. Perhaps a good moderate, who tells the truth, puts together a good coalition together can win.

    For the vast majority of folks that vote candidate and not party. Tom Horner offers policies that include adding revenue and meaningful budget cuts. He brings good ideas from both parties and leaves the political dogma behind.

  11. Submitted by Eric Schubert on 08/23/2010 - 09:54 pm.

    Attended a fundraiser for Tom Horner tonight. What was so interesting is that it was attended by a lot of thoughtful people of both major parties, who today aren’t sold on their parties’ candidates. I sense you’ll start seeing more high profile Minnesotans coming out in support of Tom and making it more OK for moderate Democrats and Republicans to jump ship and move to Horner.

  12. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 08/23/2010 - 10:34 pm.

    So, let me enumerate the differences I see….

    Tom Emmer wants the people to help prioritize spending policy and then cut back to what we can afford. Good.

    Mark Dayton wants to tax the rich, the rich being defined downward from when I was a kid. Bad.

    Tom Horner wants to raise taxes on everybody!. Worse.

    Can someone please ask Mark and Mr. Horner why spending has to INCREASE year over year?

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/24/2010 - 06:39 am.

    Mr. Granneman, By bringing revenue to the table, it will allow that the long term structural deficit will start to be dealt with. We have an aging population problem in MN. So the question really should be; Where will the money come from and how will it be spent.

  14. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/24/2010 - 07:12 am.

    Dear Tom Horner – We don’t need “new thinking” – we need to get rid of the wrong-headed and cruel actions of Republicans. You’re going to save $2 billion in new efficiencies in government? Good luck with that. Your plan is a shell game that refuses to make the hard choices necessary.

  15. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/24/2010 - 07:18 am.

    Dave – you’re calling for “honest debate” ?? When you say Dayton would “run business out of the state” ?? How would he do that? That is merely inflammatory rhetoric. Certainly Dayton’s proposal is just as specific as Horner’s, and more realistic to boot. He doesn’t claim to be able to save $2 billion on mere efficiencies.

  16. Submitted by John Cricky on 08/24/2010 - 07:54 am.

    “Tom Emmer wants the people to help prioritize spending policy and then cut back to what we can afford. Good.”
    Same old slogan. Year after year the Republicans want smaller government and lower taxes. Yet, I’ve NEVER seen it happen. Ever.

    It’s like the Peanuts cartoon when Lucy holds the football out for Charlie Brown to kick. Maybe this time! Maybe I’ll actually kick it! And then, like always, she pulls the ball out and he crashes to the ground.

    Welcome to Republican campaigning and governing in Minnesota.

  17. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 08/24/2010 - 09:38 am.

    Richard S – I appreciate your second post, but you need to retract your first one. Please stop repeating the myth that tax cuts for the wealthy increases investment. That’s nonsense. Tax cuts tied with other investment incentives? Maybe.

    Mohammed – You also need to think beyond the Tea Party rhetoric…..”help prioritize spending policy and then cut back to what we can afford”?? Frankly, that means absolutely NOTHING! You somehow think gov’t is different than business and can simply supply the same services on less and less. Again, that’s nonsense! Why does spending have to increase? here’s an example. Gov’t consumes goods produced by the private sector and those costs increase. Or do school districts get their fuel and heating from some magical source? Please, stop with the slogans and substitute some thinking. Horner’s plan may not be perfect, but it makes more sense than the other two.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/24/2010 - 09:42 am.

    //Taxing income always was a bad idea, and it still is. Income, especially hard-earned income, is a good thing and should never be discouraged. We should instead tax the consumption of goods and services with negative externalities and high social costs.

    Many of the economies that are and have outperformed out economy in the few decades have higher income taxes, and our economy experienced one it’s greatest periods of expansion at a time when our income tax rates were as high as 90% for the top brackets. This idea that income taxes are “bad” is an ideological assertion, not a economic one. The point is to have a stable, sufficient, and sustainable government revenue. If you want tax sales fine, but then you have to tax the products and services the wealthy spend most of their money on as well i.e. financial and legal services, real-estate, etc. Sales taxes are repressive, period. Regressive taxes are “bad” because they place more burden on the those with the lease resources.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/24/2010 - 09:52 am.

    Mr. Horner,

    I’m sorry this is not a plan, it’s typical republican anti-plan. The simple fact is you do not balance budget. You leave 4 billion dollars on the table. Even if you find another two billion in “effeciency” (which really means service cuts) you’re still left with 2 billion. And as far as finding two billion in savings you have to be specific, I want to see exactly where these saving are, I’m not going to take your word for it. I’ve had enough of republican magic plans, you guys have been promising to balance the budget with savings for 8 years and you never come close to producing the savings you promise. By the way, the state implemented a hiring freeze and early retirement at least three years ago and it obviously hasn’t balanced the budget.

  20. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/24/2010 - 10:15 am.

    Mohammed Ali bin Shah writes
    “Does someone earning $300,000 consume 3x as much in road usage and public infrastructure as someone earning $100K, 10X as much as someone earning $30K. No.”

    That’s a poor comparison, as road/infrastructure is funded primarily by the gas tax, not the general fund. As far as the gas tax goes, there is a correlation between size/weight of vehicle & the amount of fuel consumed, so you do get the heaviest users paying more for maintenance.

    So backing out to the general fund & whether its fair to tax the rich more, you have to ask: who benefits the most from living in this society? Using income as a proxy for ‘benefit’, there’s a strong argument that the rich benefit more than the poor and thus should pay more. For instance, if we invest in the education & health of our citizens, who benefits the most? Clearly the direct recipients of decent healthcare and a quality education are the primary beneficiaries; but if we look at where the cash flows, you can easily see that the rich benefit more – they become richer. Thinking differently, how do you become seriously wealthy in this country? Barring the small numbers of athletes and entertainment figures, the way you make money is by benefitting from the work of others. As a technology professional, I can make a decent income strictly from farming myself out, but there’s a limit to the hourly fee I can charge. On the other hand, a company that does the marketing/placement work doesn’t have the same kind of cap – they can place tens, hundreds or thousands of people like me and skim a couple bucks off the top for each one. I make a decent income, and their take on my work wouldn’t be a decent income, but their take from ten or twenty guys like me starts to be a significant income. Now apply that basic concept to medical devices or sticky tape or cheap crap at a deparment/electronics store and its pretty easy to see how investing in our citizens’ health and education should be a no-brainer for the wealthy who will be skimming more profits off a healtny, educated work force than an uneducated, sick one. And that’s why income taxes should be progressive.

  21. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/24/2010 - 10:24 am.

    First of all, I admire both Horner and Dayton for the simple fact that they have laid down some proposals. Whether one chooses to agree with them is simple politics and that’s fine.

    Rep. Emmer has a “no-plan” proposal. I would think that folks should be hammering away on that fact.

    There are arguments for both sides. Economists cannot even agree on such things as whether the stimulus worked or not. But I do respect the differing opinions which are probably have more to with ideology and seem partisan nature.

    The fundamental issue here is this: We’ve run out of other people’s taxes to raise. We’re going to raise yours – whoever you are.

  22. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/24/2010 - 10:29 am.

    Taxes on “hard-earned” income? OK, let’s insert into income tax policy a set of rules which specify that working hard to earn your income should gain you a tax break.

    Obviously those who are doing the types of things featured in the TV show “dirty jobs” would pay no income taxes at all.

    Those smaller and larger business owners who are still intimately involved with the running of their businesses – who put in long hours and know exactly what’s happening in every aspect of their businesses pay no taxes either (this would include smaller family farmers).

    Those who sit behind desks and order other people around, especially in cases where those other people are held responsible for problems, mistakes, missed steps, and other errors while the boss orders those who seem to cause problems to be fired, where the boss orders people who have caught his/her eye or attention to be hired (regardless of skills or need) and never takes responsibility for anything him/herself –

    the kind of boss who figuratively places signs which say “the buck stops here” on each of his subordinate’s desks, who, when questioned in court about malfeasance or fraud in his company claims not to know anything about how things were actually being done, get taxed very heavily (this would include the largest farms where hired employees do most of the work and a consortium of family members has divided up their holdings in order to maximize their receipts from federal farm programs).

    People who work for those who can be documented to be “bad bosses,” get a tax break because such a boss makes any job “hard work.”

    Those who make their money on investing a pot of money to maximize their returns are taxed at 99% (unless they can show that those investments are actually producing new jobs within the borders of the state – for MN tax policy, and in the nation – for Federal tax policy).

    So, yeah. I’m very much in favor of reducing income taxes for those who “work hard” for their money. But let’s make sure we’ve figured out who those people actually are because, in reality, “working hard” for your money has very little correlation to being wealthy, nor does being wealthy have any significant correlation to the benefits your life confers on those who share this state and nation with you (far too often, the accumulated wealth of one has resulted from that person being in a position which allowed them to arrange, by their own choices and demands, for the impoverishment of others in order to further pad their own overabundant wealth).

  23. Submitted by Dave Thompson on 08/24/2010 - 11:24 am.

    We cut taxes when there was a surplus. Now Horner and Dayton are proposing to raise taxes to cover the deficit. Makes sense to me!

  24. Submitted by Colin Lee on 08/24/2010 - 11:38 am.

    “Can someone please ask Mark and Mr. Horner why spending has to INCREASE year over year?”

    I’d ask Tom Emmer that question. His party set a MN spending increase record that’s stood for the last fifteen years. 2002-2003 biennium: GOP Governor, MN House, Congress, Senate, and Presidency. How do we know his talk about spending is any more than lip service? It’s astoundingly easy to oppose ALL spending when your party cannot pass their own priorities!

    We need to reduce health care costs or American government and employers are sunk. It’s nearing half of our budget and growing at three times the rate of inflation. That’s why spending is out-of-control. It’s not rocket science.

  25. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 08/24/2010 - 01:27 pm.

    Colin, Tom Emmer was not in the House in 2002-2003. “Poof” goes the strawman argument.

  26. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 08/24/2010 - 01:30 pm.

    Mr Cricky,

    You state the The Republicans talk about cuts, but don’t. Please give me your data. We are seeing that the DEMS talked about no tax increases nationally, but the DID (Obamacare being the worst). Now we have Horner and Dayton both promising to raise taxes. What is better, a chance at cutting them, or a sure thing at raising them?

  27. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 08/24/2010 - 01:35 pm.

    Mr Hunt,

    You stated “You also need to think beyond the Tea Party rhetoric…..”help prioritize spending policy and then cut back to what we can afford”?? Frankly, that means absolutely NOTHING! You somehow think gov’t is different than business and can simply supply the same services on less and less.”

    NO Michael, I don’t think that Government can always provide more for less. What I stated is that we have to decide on what services we want to pay for as citizens of this state. Cut back to what is Constitutionally mandated and then prioritize, and then only pay for that. LESS FOR LESS is what is being proposed. Why don’t you trying arguing that rather than a false strawman?

  28. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 08/24/2010 - 01:42 pm.

    Mr Simon,

    “Thinking differently, how do you become seriously wealthy in this country? Barring the small numbers of athletes and entertainment figures, the way you make money is by benefiting from the work of others.”

    Wow. And here I thought you got wealthy by coming up with a good or service that people are willing to pay for and then provide it to them by risking your capital to buy raw material and machinery to make it. And probably providing a lot of jobs along the way.

    Is something stopping you from pooling together your fellow programmers in order for you to make more money? Is it risk aversion? Lack of skill? Lack of drive? Why do you fault people for creating value for others? If the case you mentioned, value is created for the programmer by allowing him to not have to market himself and provide a more stable income stream, and value is provided to the end customer in the form of a stable supply of programmers and a lower overhead in administering them.

  29. Submitted by Colin Lee on 08/24/2010 - 02:28 pm.

    It’s not even close to a straw man. You cannot prove spending credentials by voting within the minority party. It proves nothing to vote against the opposing party’s spending bills!

  30. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/24/2010 - 03:41 pm.

    //LESS FOR LESS is what is being proposed. Why don’t you trying arguing that rather than a false strawman?

    It’s nice to see a Republican being honest about the less for less agenda. The only problem with your theorem Mohammed is it assumes we cut to some imaginary level of constitutional requirement and argue about the rest. In fact in a democracy, we get to argue about what we cut and don’t cut, and it’s not at all clear what the minimal constitutional service requirements are. You can’t assume we want less for less, on the contrary we may well want more for more.

    As refreshing as your honesty is regarding less for less I have to point out that your politicians are not running on that platform. Emmer has specifically denied wanting to cut services, as have all Republican candidates over the last 40 years. They run on a same for less platform, but deliver less for less.

    If Emmer and other Republicans would tell us what they want to cut, we could discuss and debate it. Instead they create one budget crises after another and use the climate of fear and crises to crams cuts down our throats.

  31. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 08/24/2010 - 08:29 pm.

    Colin, Paul

    The amount of tax revenue foretasted for the next biennium is $2.8B more than this Biennium. Yet we still have a huge deficit. Why? Because the DFL wants to spend more and more. T-Paw stood his ground where he could, and reduced this biennium by $2B, but our budget has continued to grow at a pace well above inflation and population adjustments.

    The current spending increase proposed for the next biennium is 17%. How can that be possibly be justified?

    As for Less for Less, do we really need 5 departments all in on the
    Taconite mine licensing? Do we really need a MN Housing authority advertising on TV and guaranteeing sub-prime loans just like the failing Freddie and Fannie?

    Education. Infrastructure. Safety. Those are mandated by the Constitution. Anything above and beyond that is a choice. And your are correct Paul , that people have to choose – more or less. Do you really see people choosing a bigger government this year?

    And Paul, you stated that “They run on a same for less platform, but deliver less for less.” The only year over year budget decrease in MN history occurred this past year. So no, the Republicans do not deliver less for less. But I believe that it is about time that they do.

  32. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/24/2010 - 10:40 pm.

    @ 31 “Hope springs eternal”

  33. Submitted by Colin Lee on 08/25/2010 - 12:14 am.

    Mohammed said, “The amount of tax revenue foretasted for the next biennium is $2.8B more than this Biennium. Yet we still have a huge deficit. Why?”

    That’s easy. Tim Pawlenty couldn’t figure out a responsible way to pay for his budget through new revenues, efficiencies, or spending cuts, so instead he passed a $2 billion education shift. This shift is automatically added to the deficit because it is very high interest, short term debt! The $2.8 billion more is paying back the shifts and emergency funds that Tim Pawlenty borrowed.

    BTW, explain why Pawlenty vetoed and Emmer voted against a statewide K-12 health policy pool which the governor’s own budget office said saved $200 million per budget. That sounds like exactly the kind of reductions in duplicate services which Emmer always talks about!

    I’d love to hear how forcing our schools to borrow $2 billion or more indefinitely from high-interest, short term loans is fiscally conservative, but any answer is a lie. If you buy Emmer’s 7% increase in the size of government myth, then you believe our schools should never be paid back and that they need to pay off their own debt incurred by false promises from the governor’s office by raising property taxes and/or doubling class sizes.

    If Emmer gets elected, our schools will continue to borrow to pay last year’s bills forever. Our state needs a real makeover, not just Emmer’s clown makeup.

  34. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/01/2010 - 08:21 am.

    //Colin, Paul

    The amount of tax revenue foretasted for the next biennium is $2.8B more than this Biennium. Yet we still have a huge deficit.

    Mohammed, please go look at the Department of Revenue projections and the 2008 Tax Incidence Study. You’re question obviously assumes that we’re starting from a balanced budget, we’re not. While MN can’t officially have a deficit, we’ve used shifts, delays, and other accounting tricks for 8 year. In effect we’ve balanced the budget on paper but the accounting tricks, like factoring inflation into revenue but not expenses, are basically Minnesota’s version of deficit spending. In other words, the projected deficit isn’t simply the difference between this years revenue and expenses, it’s the difference between this year, and the previous 8 years revenue and expenses.

    Furthermore, your attempt to blame this on Democrats and their budgets is seriously mistaken. I remind you we got to this point after 8 years of Republican budgets. Pawlenty has vetoed any Democratic spending item he didn’t like ans was overridden only once in 8 years. This deficit isn’t the product of tax and spend Democrats, it’s the product of borrow and shift and spend Republicans.

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