GOP’s Tom Emmer releases jobs plan — and a vision for a new kind of state budget

Permac CEO Darlene Miller, left, listens as Tom Emmer announces his job creation plan during a Monday press conference.
MinnPost photo by Jay Weiner
Permac CEO Darlene Miller, left, listens as Tom Emmer announces his job creation plan during a Monday press conference.

It came in a non-union machine shop on Labor Day: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer unveiled a tax reduction plan that adds up to more than $600 million in cuts for businesses — what he bills as a “job-creation agenda.”

In the process, he began to roll out his vision for a new kind of state budget.
 
Emmer reiterated a major thesis about the state’s budget over how to pay for these substantial tax cuts in the face of a looming $6 billion state deficit: Trust him — there will be enough revenue to cover the costs of doing the state’s business over the next two-year cycle.

As he said this morning, at a gubernatorial candidates’ debate in Duluth, “In reality, the [state budget] deficit doesn’t exist if you’re living within your means.”

Meanwhile, in these days of what seems to me a nearly daily game of opposition research, there was a “gotcha” flap Monday that Emmer’s campaign seemed to unexpectedly walk into. Hours before he unveiled the first part of his long-awaited budget plan, the DFL released what it called a “spoiler alert.”

It asserted that Permac Industries, the woman-owned host company for Emmer’s jobs-plan unveiling, had received funding from the Obama administration’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the so-called “stimulus package.” Of course, Emmer has been opposed to that.

The kerfuffle caused his campaign to click into scramble mode even as Emmer himself was touting his jobs plan.

The Emmer plan
Emmer insisted that the combination of cutting state business taxes and the state’s general property tax while expanding the state Research and Development Tax Credit and tax credits for investors would create jobs.

“By growing jobs, you will drive revenues,” he said, which, he believes, would begin to balance the state’s budget, which faces a $6 billion deficit.

His entire program and release can be found here.

Highlights of the Emmer jobs plan include:

• Cutting the business tax of 9.8 percent in stages so that it is eventually repealed by 2015;

• Expanding small-business tax relief;

• Cutting the state general property tax;

• Expanding a research and development tax credit and a tax credit for investors in new businesses;

• Changing the method of refunding capital equipment sales taxes to businesses;

• And seeking a “reform [of] state regulation,” which reads like reduce state regulation.

Of proposed tax increases by DFL candidate Mark Dayton and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner, “They don’t get it.”

Enough revenue?
Emmer restated what he has been saying for the past couple of weeks: If the state “lives within its means,” it can cover its expenses. He asserted that the state will have nearly 8 percent more revenues — $2.8 billion — in the coming biennium than it did over the past two years.

“We are budgeting from the point that we have today, rather than what government wants to spend,” Emmer said. “The $5.8 billion deficit is actually what government wants to spend. It wants to spend roughly $38 billion in the next biennium … We will have almost 7.8 percent more in revenue to spend in the next biennium, but it’s about $5.8 billion short of what government wants. In reality, if we did not spend a nickel, if we agreed we weren’t going to change a thing, then theoretically two years from now Minnesota would have a surplus, not a deficit.”

Emmer’s view of the budget has been calmly questioned by Bill Marx, the chief fiscal analyst of the Minnesota House. He recently and, in understandable terms, walked the Star Tribune’s Lori Sturdevant through the complexities of state budgeting and the deficit.

Among the key issues that any new governor must address will be the loss of more than $2 billion in federal stimulus money. That’s cash that has helped the state, but that will go away. Emmer has been opposed to the stimulus package.

The Permac controversy
That opposition led to Monday’s dustup. The DFL tossed its firebomb in the morning with its release to embarrass Emmer and Permac CEO Darlene Miller.

(Note: It was hard not to feel sorry for Miller, who seemed to be a hardworking entrepreneur and employer but who got whipsawed by the political reality of an apparent contradiction during a vigorous political campaign. Lesson: Hosting a campaign event can draw scrutiny these days.)

On the one hand, the headline on the DFL’s release was a bit of a reach: “Tom Emmer to Hold Press Conference at Company Saved by the Recovery Act Funding He Opposes.”

No, Miller said, her company wasn’t “saved” by the stimulus package. Permac has long used the Dakota Scott County Workforce Center and recently hired one employee through that program, she said.

But in a release from a Washington think tank, Miller was quoted just last week for seemingly praising the stimulus plan. Miller and Emmer denied that Permac benefited from any federal subsidies.

Dakota-Scott County Workforce Center director Mark Jacobs told MinnPost this morning that his agency, like other workforce centers statewide, receives state and federal funding. In 2009, the Dakota-Scott center, like others statewide, did receive funds from the Obama stimulus plan, Jacobs said. It generally aids dislocated workers.

Miller, who has accompanied Gov. Tim Pawlenty on some overseas trade missions, said that any previous government benefits she received came from President George W. Bush’s earlier programs that reduced business taxes. (Permac is referenced near the bottom of this document.)

“The jobs we have here have not come through the federal stimulus plan,” Miller said. “We have not received any federal stimulus money for employees.”

DFL spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie told MinnPost: “It’s clear that their company was aided by the Recovery Act funds. That’s a fact, even if it’s not politically convenient for Tom Emmer.

Emmer communications director Carl Kuhl said “Workforce Development Centers have been around since — I want to say the 1960s . . . Did they get additional funding in the most recent stimulus package, I can’t tell you … Permac Industries has received absolutely no federal dollars.”

It does raise a central issue in the gubernatorial campaign: What is the balance between government and the private sector in growing jobs and balancing the budget? Emmer and his opponents seem to differ on that.

Opponents not impressed
After the Emmer news conference, the DFL called the Emmer plan “smoke and mirrors.” Today in Duluth, Dayton, noting that Emmer’s proposed tax cuts actually would increase the deficit, wondered when Emmer was going to address “the hard part” of the budget.

Independence Party candidate Tom Horner issued a statement claiming some of Emmer’s tax reforms proposals were previously recommended by the state’s 21st Century Tax Reform Commission. In Duluth today, Horner reiterated that those proposals are ones that he embraces, proclaiming to Emmer: “Congratulations!” [PDF]

The commission’s report, however, was rejected by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the GOP House Caucus, of which Emmer as a Delano legislator is a member. There are a collection of recommendations from that group that appear in Emmer’s jobs creation agenda.

That commission, however, also recommended broadening the sales tax base — a Horner plan — and increasing cigarette taxes, another part of Horner’s budget-balancing proposal.

Horner said to Emmer today: “The reality is you have to have a responsible budget.”

Emmer insisted that growing jobs will increase revenues to the state to cover services Minnesotans have come to expect.

As for other parts of his budget plan — and when it will be forthcoming and what programs he plans to cut, and his vision for educational and government reform — Emmer told the assembled media, they’re coming.

He chastised Dayton and Horner for their “so-called plans,” and said to the journalists, “You guys are so impatient. I’ll give all of you a hug before you go, but it’s coming . . . We’re going to give you specifics all the way through.”

Comments (40)

  1. Submitted by Karl Bremer on 09/07/2010 - 10:26 am.

    Jay writes:

    But in a release from a Washington think tank, Miller was quoted just last week for seemingly praising the stimulus plan. Miller and Emmer denied that Permac benefited from any federal subsidies.

    Here’s the quote from the release:

    “The subsidized jobs program has provided us with a wonderful way to identify dedicated and dependable workers like Royal,” said Permac Industries President Darlene Miller. Permac Industries has hired five employees through the jobs program, expanding Miller’s business while training candidates for unsubsidized positions. These employees, in turn, are developing the experience needed to increase their financial independence.

    What the hell is “seemingly” about this praise for the federal stimulus program? And how can Miller with a straight face (or without her nose growing) deny her company benefited from the program just a week after making a statement like that? Let’s call this for it is–good old-fashioned B.S.

  2. Submitted by Tony George on 09/07/2010 - 10:38 am.

    Tax cuts, especially George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the richest, have gotten us to where we are today with the economy in the hole. Emmer’s further tax cuts will put us even further down the hole. At some point, most Minnesotans will figure this out.

  3. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 09/07/2010 - 10:41 am.

    Wow, Voodoo econonics. Good plan there, Emmer. I think this approach has failed every time it has been tried since Reagan tried it: cut taxes and somehow that will spur growth in the economy to make up for the cut. He won’t even commit to some number of jobs that will be created by the cuts; he just has a blind faith that cutting taxes will create jobs and those jobs will make up for the deficit he creates with the cuts. It is weird to hear all the rightists complain about how democrats cause these budget deficits when it is this same idea they push when they are in power which only aggravates the problem.

  4. Submitted by myles spicer on 09/07/2010 - 11:01 am.

    Wow…Emmer wants to reduce taxes! To paraphrase that famous line from Casablanca as the inspector was leaving Rick’s place with his winnings, and he prounouced disengenuously:

    “I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you to find there are tax reductions going on here!”

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/07/2010 - 11:08 am.

    Allow me to calmly walk the thoughtful reader past Sturdevant’s predictable, leftist papspew to the facts…

    “Emmer is correct to this extent: State general fund spending in 2010-11 is pegged to wind up next June 30 at $30.7 billion. State revenues are forecast to reach $32.9 billion, or 7 percent more, in 2012-13, according to the fund balance analysis issued by Minnesota Management and Budget in June.

    But this biennium’s $30.7 billion general fund outlay is buying more than $34 billion worth of government services. A one-time discount is in play.”

    Shorter version: A “one-time discount” is in play, because T-Paw failed to put a lid on the Democrat legislature, the state accepted Porkulous cash to prop up the unsustainable status quo, and it is now coming back to bite us in the posterior.

    That means that because the Democrat party based it’s spending on a non-existant magic money tree in Washington D.C., the people who rely on government to subsidize their lives are now going to take an even bigger hit.

    And worse, the billions they’ve borrowed has had no effect on the economy…because it was spent in the public sector.

    Nice job, Democrats!

  6. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 09/07/2010 - 11:22 am.

    If Emmer is cutting all state business taxes is he also going to cut all state government services to businesses? Let them contract separately for their own fire and police protection. Make businesses pay large fees every time they want to use the state courts (including when they are sued). Privatize roads in industrial developments and make the business located there pay for their own maintenance. Require businesses to pay higher fees to use the lock and dams and railways.

    Cutting business taxes to zero would logically lead to eliminating the Dept of Employment and Economic Development and much of the Secretary of State’s office. It would also lead to cuts in the Dept of Agriculture, Department of Commerce,

    Let businesses pay for workforce training to get skilled workers. Shut down the Minnesota Small Business Assistance Office, Green Enterprise Assistance team, Disability Employment Specialists, Small Business Development Centers, Office of Science and Technology, Labor Market Analysts, International Trade Assistance and the Positively Minnesota Marketing Partnership. Stop the Small Business Development Loan program and the Minnesota Investment Fund.

    Fair is fair – I don’t make use of these services as a lowly employee and citizen. I shouldn’t have to subsidize them.

  7. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 09/07/2010 - 11:34 am.

    Mr. Emmer,

    Thank you for providing information concerning the growth of tax receipts and the growth of the State budget.

    It seems that we do not have a revenue problem but a spending problem.

    The “big Government, tax and spend crowd” are already crying at the mention of “cuts.”

  8. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/07/2010 - 11:35 am.

    The truth is, it doesn’t matter what Emmer’s “plan” is for creating jobs in this state. He’ll be forced to work with a democrat legislature, most of whom have never had a job outside of government and wouldn’t agree to anything Emmer proposed anyway.

    Emmer’s role, and the reason we elect republican governors in this state, is to veto the nonsensical, counterproductive spending plans that the democrats propose. Period. End of story.

  9. Submitted by Brian Simon on 09/07/2010 - 11:52 am.

    Dan Landherr writes
    “If Emmer is cutting all state business taxes is he also going to cut all state government services to businesses?”

    That is a good question, and really underscores, for me, a real failing of the Emmer approach. Rep Emmer is focused on the revenue side, rather than on the expenses side. That seems to be putting the cart before the horse: shouldn’t we instead be determining what services citizens (corporate as well as individuals) should expect from the state, then determine who should pay for them? Obviously, if we balk at the price tag, yes, go back and look at which services are not delivering appropriate bang for the buck. Point being: Emmer’s approach of cutting revenue before even talking about the role of government is bass ackwards. Its like quitting your job before you think about how to put food in your mouth or a roof over your head.

    “Hey, if I don’t eat anything that costs money, I’m living within my means.”

  10. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 09/07/2010 - 12:06 pm.

    We have a deficit? Cut taxes. We have a surplus? Cut taxes. It’s raining? Cut taxes. Baby has a messy diaper? Cut taxes. Twins lost to KC? Cut taxes. Stubbed your toe? Cut taxes. Cut taxes? Cut taxes. It’s simple.

  11. Submitted by myles spicer on 09/07/2010 - 12:06 pm.

    Here’s another dose of “reality” missed in Emmer’s proposal. Most small businesses are Sub-S corporations. Sub-S corps pay NO TAX AT ALL. This is a lot of tilting at windmills.

  12. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 09/07/2010 - 12:20 pm.

    Some people like to compare government budgets to family budgets (which doesn’t work anyway), but suppose you use that metaphor. If you sit down at the kitchen table with your family and decide you need to cut your spending (if that’s possible in your situation) I don’t think that we decide we’re going to cut, first before doing anything else, 25% or maybe 10% of our budget. Most of us look at what we need and where the money is coming from and then think about how and where to cut in some systematic way that still allows us to pay the mortgage and buy food. Or in the state’s case, to fund vital needs like education and the state patrol.
    Nor do we decide right off the bat that first of all, before anything, we are going to quit taking money from one source of funds in our budgets–say, a family member’s part-time job, without first figuring out, again, how and where to get the money to fill that gap.
    A lot of assumptions without any statistics are being made here.
    But then, that’s what you get when you follow the Tax evaders league “ideology” off the cliff.

  13. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 09/07/2010 - 12:23 pm.

    # 8 – Dennis, I’m not sure what you are driving at there. It sounds very nihilistic to me. Are you saying that Mr. Emmer can propose all he wants, but it will all come to naught if and when he is elected Governor? And yet, you are saying, he will have veto power and nobody will get anything done?!!

    For my part, I’m more concerned with the ever-growing ironies of the political world we live in.

    Right now, I’d like to confabulate about the irony of a Republican talking about job creation at a non-union storefront on Labor Day, of all days!

    Isn’t it similar to a recent incident of somebody attempting to “restore” America’s honor and Civil Rights on MLK’s anniversary in front of the Lincoln Memorial?

    Usurpation, usurpation!!

  14. Submitted by Rich Crose on 09/07/2010 - 12:34 pm.

    Here’s what businesses do with tax cuts: First, lease a new vehicle for the owner, second, lease new software/hardware for the business and outsource the support, third, remodel the corporate offices. All of the above are tax write-offs –don’t want to pay any taxes. Finally, if there is any money left, hire a new employee.

    When the economy falters, they can’t return the computers and remodel job so the choice is between the owner’s new vehicle and the employee. Sorry, new employee, we can’t afford you any more. Oh, and by the way, we have to lay off two more to pay for the computers and remodel job.

    The owner drives his new vehicle to his newly remodeled offices and surfs the internet on his new laptop for more pro-business candidates to donate money to.

  15. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 09/07/2010 - 12:40 pm.

    # 5 Mr. Swift says, “And worse, the billions they’ve borrowed has had no effect on the economy…because it was spent in the public sector.
    Nice job, Democrats!”

    Some pointed questions to you: Is AIG in the public sector? Are all the banks that got bailed out in the public sector? Is GM in the public sector?

    It is amazing how some groups can create catastrophes in their wake, and complain about how somebody else is cleaning up their mess.

  16. Submitted by Ray Aune on 09/07/2010 - 12:56 pm.

    I’ve got to admit I’m getting really tired of all the coded language flying around. ‘living within your means’ as code for something.. probably unpleasant and apartheid-esque.. ‘job creation’ as code for something.. child labor? slavery? something. It’s getting to the point where all I can read is between the lines.

  17. Submitted by Brian Simon on 09/07/2010 - 01:06 pm.

    Rich Crose –
    I think you’re mostly right, but regarding that last part, businesses don’t hire the new employee until they need that new employee to get the job done. The real problem our economy faces is on the demand side. In our consumer driven economy, wages have been flat for the last decade & unemployment is high. The economic growth we did see was driven by cheap credit. Now people are cutting their debt & increasing savings – which means there’s less demand for consumer goods and services.

    To get the economy back to a growth state, we need wage inflation; firstly in getting the unemployed back to work, secondly in boosting wages. Putting dollars into the hands of individuals is what will put us back on the path to GDP growth. Tax cuts don’t do this because everyone who has spare money is tucking it into the safest investments they can find – take a look at bond yields for the proof. Investors are waiting for a sign of economic recovery before they risk their dollars in the equity markets, or in starting a new business. This is the whole point of Keynesian economic theory – when the private market is not investing, the gov’t steps in with spending to inject cash into the economy. To instead cut government spending actually worsens the economy – if your cuts include layoffs, you’re putting more people on the unemployment rolls, further reducing GDP & increasing your costs of UE benefits. The result is to worsen the recession, not fix it.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/07/2010 - 01:19 pm.

    This is the same Magic-Plan, cut taxes and wait for the magic to happen, that conservative Republicans have been peddling since Reagan. It’s never delivered the promised results and won’t now. The question is will enough people fall for it again?

    I’ve created a basic model of tax structure to illustrate how government budgets and tax revenues work. It’s a lengthy piece but you can find it on my blog at:

    http://pudstrand.fatcow.com/blog/

  19. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/07/2010 - 01:20 pm.

    JJ, AIG the banks that got bailed out and GM were bailed out under TARP I and II.

    I know, I know…a guy needs a score card to keep track of Democrat spending these days, but we’re talking about the $786 BILLION Obama & Co. sent to state governments to “stimulate” the economy…but unless you happened to actually work for the government, failed completely to do so.

    By the way, GM *is* actually in the public sector. The Democrats borrowed $60 BILLION to buy a majority share of the company and put the tab on the taxpayers of America…GM is actually Government Motors.

    (cue sad trombone)

  20. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/07/2010 - 02:00 pm.

    Dan (#6) and Brian (#9) are on to something, I think. If corporations are, according to the Citizens United decision, “people” and thus “citizens,” and if they want the ability to fund political campaigns that advance their interests, as a “citizen” would, shouldn’t they pay their fair share of the costs of the goods and services provided by the rest of the society? Why are all these tax breaks aimed at business? What assurance is there that lower taxes, which will enhance a corporate bottom line no matter what, will automatically lead to more jobs and/or a healthier economic climate for those of us who are not corporate executives?

    When I saw the Emmer presentation at Permac, and Ms. Miller was asked about Emmer’s proposal(s) afterward, I didn’t hear any guarantee that Permac would, in fact, be hiring more people if its taxes were lowered. What I heard was that she’d “consider” hiring more for the 2nd shift. As a CEO, of course, it’s not only her right, but her responsibility not to commit company resources unless there’s some certainty of recouping those expenses. However, the tax cuts Emmer proposes would go into effect whether Permac hires anyone or not, or any other company hires anyone or not. That’s a 2-year reduction in state revenue, at minimum, with no assurance at all that the revenue reduction will, in fact, lead to more jobs, and especially to jobs that will enable their holders to actually sustain a decent standard of living.

    Ginny (#12) is also on to something, and I’ve thought about this issue from the very same viewpoint. I agree that the family/government metaphor often doesn’t work, but if, for argument’s sake, we start with that, she’s dead-on. No sane family looks at the monthly bill total and simply says “We’re going to cut our expenses 25 percent!” without first looking at what income is available, and then in some systematic way – or at least a way that makes sense to the family – figuring out what can be done without, either permanently or temporarily, until the budget situation improves. If finances are THAT tight, no sane family would refuse to accept the income tax refund from the IRS, either, precisely because that IS their money being returned to them. Yet we have a Governor who delayed until the last possible moment accepting many millions of our own dollars, coming back to use in our own state.

    An ideology is often a dangerous thing, and easily becomes a fetish instead.

  21. Submitted by andy on 09/07/2010 - 02:03 pm.

    Wow- so Tom Emmer wants to give the folks who just fired a bunch of hard working Minnesotans (no doubt laughing about it when they were safely gone) another pad for their bottom line.

    So what are local units of government gonna do if Emmer gets to punch another half billion hole in the budget? Turn off all streetlights for the duration? Leave corpses to rot in the street? Are we going to start to see cholera again when municipal water systems start breaking down?

    We’ve been convinced for thirty years now that if we give a big tax cut to the *real* parasite class the wealth will trickle down- thirty years we’ve waited and it still hasn’t happened!

    All they’ve done with their stolen wealth is close factories and move them offshore, sock it away in the Caymans, or take it to the Wall Street casinos and inflate financial bubbles. It’s past time for them and their tools that they aren’t the only people living here- and their victims outnumber them!

  22. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 09/07/2010 - 02:18 pm.

    No jobs are created if people don’t have the money to buy things. That’s why tax cuts to corporations don’t work. They sit on it, use it for mergers, and the like.
    In fact, most companies now are sitting on money and afraid to add new employers. Instead, they are increasing the workload of their current employees. If companies were interested in restoring the economy, I would think they’d start hiring.
    I can’t figure out why people keep saying cut taxes, it’s the answer to everything, when we can see, with our own eyes and in our own lives that they do nothing of the sort. From Reagan onward and from Pawlenty’s ill-advised cuts and vetoes. G.H.W. Bush called it “voodoo economics.” Still is. We should all go home and stick pins in dolls representing Boehner, McConnell, and the other NOs.

  23. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 09/07/2010 - 02:42 pm.

    I am self-employed, and as a sole proprietor, I would get no relief from Emmer’s proposal, since the profits from a sole proprietorship are counted as personal income for the proprietor.

    But that’s all right. My point is that more that the state could cut all my taxes to zero, in fact, the feds could cut all my taxes to zero, and my business still might fail… if there are no customers.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the poster above who pointed out that businesses base their hiring decisions on the amount of customers and/or orders, not on the amount of taxation.

  24. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 09/07/2010 - 04:12 pm.

    #14 Rich Crose said

    “Here’s what businesses do with tax cuts: First, lease a new vehicle for the owner, second, lease new software/hardware for the business and outsource the support, third, remodel the corporate offices. All of the above are tax write-offs –don’t want to pay any taxes. Finally, if there is any money left, hire a new employee. ”

    Uh, doesn’t each of those you mentioned above mean that an employees somewhere is building something? Autoworkers have JOBS building the incremental new car. Coders and Electronics workers have JOBS writing software and building the new servers, and union carpenters and electricians have JOBS remodeling.

    These private sectors jobs CREATE wealth by creating value for customers. Employees and citizen shareholders gain from this value creation. Government jobs only redistribute wealth. Many of those government jobs are needed ( safety, education) but many are only there to seek rents for pet causes (environment, etc) or to help transfer wealth from the productive and the risk takers to the unproductive, lazy, and unskilled.

  25. Submitted by scott cantor on 09/07/2010 - 04:22 pm.

    Emmer’s plan is just a recycling of the Bush federal tax cuts, which were argued to pay for themselves through economic growth. In reality, they added a trillion dollars to the federal debt. What happens when you try to do that in MN? You can’t! The federal govt issues debt, but the state is constitutionally bound to balance its operating budget. So, it’s basically just big lie to the voters. But, hey, maybe voters are in a mood to be lied to?

    Idea! If Emmer can creatively redefine all agencies operating budgets to be capital expenses, then we can run the state on bonding, and push forward each biennium’s tab to the next cycle! That should be sustainable for, like, 5 or 6 years! Then Minnesota, not California as we all thought, can be the first state in the union to default. Yippee!

  26. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/07/2010 - 04:45 pm.

    Emmer is going down the same road — but a few hundred miles farther — than Pawlenty.

    Not just tax cuts for Emmer, but revenue reductions. Pawlenty’s tax cuts for the wealthy cost us $1 billion per year. What Emmer’s cuts to the state property tax would cost the state AND cities AND counties when LGA was further decimated would be on top the Pawlenty’s $1 billion.

    Imagine the cuts he’d make if Minnesota decides to give him the power to do so. Every single one of them from programs that provide at least some help to the poor, the homeless, the elderly and disabled, the chronically ill and unable to work, et cetera.

    He, Pawlenty and the other no-tax zealots really do live in a different “reality.”

  27. Submitted by chuck holtman on 09/07/2010 - 05:09 pm.

    Mr Ali Bin Shah, like many politicians of the Right, unreflectively repeats the dogma that the private sector creates wealth and the public sector does not. Meaning no disrespect to him, but focusing on the dogma: Complete hogwash. The only difference between the two is that demand for private sector goods, and hence the creation of jobs for private sector workers, is determined through the so-called “market” and demand for public sector goods, and hence the creation of jobs for public sector workers, is determined through political processes. Both are highly imperfect mechanisms and the result is private and public sectors, each of which create tremendous public wealth in some ways and cause tremendous waste and social harm in others. The building and maintenance of roads and sewer systems don’t create social wealth? The fire department doesn’t create social wealth? Social programs that help people become contributors to our society don’t create social wealth? Conversely, weapons makers haul in billions selling to governments waging wars on false premises that tear apart countries and kill our young men and women. Do their profits mean that they are creating value for society? Do Monsanto’s profits producing pesticides to keep unsustainable factory farming going while workers and consumers are being poisoned create value? Do the profits of PR firms spinning away on behalf of Chevron in Nigeria and BP here at home mean that they are creating value for society? Yes, the demand mechanism for public sector goods is imperfect, but so is the demand mechanism for private sector goods. And indeed it is the latter, which unlike the former must be obsessed with ever-reproducing “demand” lest the whole thing collapse (i.e., like right now) that is driving our society and world right off the cliff of insustainability. The “reality based community” recognizes that society is complex and needs to be approached thoughtfully and pragmatically; others see political life as a battle for ideological victory unconcerned about what a society that hews to that ideology might be like for those within it.

  28. Submitted by Maureen Nalezny on 09/07/2010 - 06:27 pm.

    I am astounded by the smart-aleck humor all around. Don’t these candidates know that there’s not a lot of humor in this for Minnesotans?

  29. Submitted by Sheri Smith on 09/07/2010 - 07:48 pm.

    An Emmer Administration would ignore large segments of Minnesota’s economy.
    Businesses are not the only employers in Minnesota. Nor the only source of growth. 11% of Minnesota’s workforce is in the Nonprofit Sector. There are also the good folks who serve our communities as police officers, nurses, educators and librarians. Evan the public safety net programs add to our well being by providing hope and opportunity for Minnesotans to regain independence. I would prefer a Governor who recognizes the value of these activities.

  30. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/07/2010 - 08:20 pm.

    Mr. Emmer’s tax proposal would cut business income taxes by roughly 10% in the first year, although his website makes no mention of reducing taxes on sole propreitorships, which still account for a fair percentage of small businesses in Minnesota. This would no doubt increase income for profitable businesses. Why should we believe that these additional profits will be plowed into activities that will result in jobs? Also, since the owners of businesses not organized as C corporations pay individual tax rates, what he’s talking about is a personal tax cut for business owners but the status quo for the rest of us. So, I don’t get a tax cut because I only work for a living, I guess.

    Property tax relief no doubt will put additional money in business accounts, including the unprofitable, as Emmer’s website points out. But where’s the corresponding $100 million reduction in spending? Ditto the other tax expenditures he proposes.

  31. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 09/07/2010 - 08:34 pm.

    Mr. Emmer: “”You guys are so impatient. I’ll give all of you a hug before you go, but it’s coming . . . ”

    And we are all Waiting For Godot!

  32. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/08/2010 - 08:39 am.

    I’m shocked and amazed by the all the incredulity here! I’ve never seen a plan like this before in my life. Doesn’t anyone realize that the Emmer team has obviously spent millions of hours developing this plan from scratch? What? You think a plan to take the state in an entirely new direction can be hobbled together over-night? Cut the guy some slack people!

  33. Submitted by Joel Gingery on 09/08/2010 - 03:39 pm.

    The big lie: Tax Cuts = Jobs! Wrong. Tax cuts = less protection from businesses taking advantage of you (and others) and less help for you to improve yourself and your family (and others).

  34. Submitted by David Willard on 09/10/2010 - 09:31 pm.

    And the magic plan of Progressyves is the tax the piss out of “the rich” and Everything Will Be OK.

    Who are “The Rich?”
    Progressyves like most of the MinnPost writers and reactors think “anyone who makes more than me” is rich.

    Well, Minnpost people, that includes rich people like Mr. Dayton…um small businesses, who may employ more people if government would leave them alone, and the rich will soon be making 24000 dollars a year when the government runs out of more money.

    The “rich” big businesses like Target and Best Buy have lots and lots of employees and they are already siphoning huge amounts of tax money into the never-satisfied maw that is Minnesota government programs.

    When I get lectured by Dayton and Horner and Doug Grow and Lori Sturdevant and all of the Minnpost and Stribune demi-socialists on how my few dollars should be taxed to support more waste, I want to vote Conservative. Often. Like the Senator Comedian votes were counted.

  35. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 09/10/2010 - 10:36 pm.

    Mr. Swift seems overwhelmed by superior intelligence judging from the above comments. Not to pile on (but just a little bit), his attempt to politicize TARP at #19 should be called out too.

    “The Troubled Asset Relief Program, commonly referred to as TARP or RCP, is a program of the United States government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector which was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. It is the largest component of the government’s measures in 2008 to address the subprime mortgage crisis.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Asset_Relief_Program

    In the sphere where intellect and intelligence rule, it should be “game, set and match”. Mr. Swift and his defeated (we won’t say humiliated) Republican apologists should be joining the progressive left in upbraiding the Republican Party for its total intellectual collapse.

    Pride is a stubborn foe, however.

  36. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 09/11/2010 - 10:50 am.

    @#35 — Thank you Jon for that.

    The self-assured gentleman and I were having a tete-a-tete back there; and I just thought I would let him stay in his delusional world. I had plenty of good responses for him, but why encourage him. I knew intelligent readers or those with common sense would eventually discern truth from fiction by themselves.

  37. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/12/2010 - 01:06 am.

    #34//Who are “The Rich?”
    Progressyves like most of the MinnPost writers and reactors think “anyone who makes more than me” is rich.

    No David, Progressives think the rich are the people in the top income decile.

    Population Decile Income Range

    1 $9,728 Under
    2 $9,783 – $16,056
    3 $16,000 – $23,00
    4 $23,000 – $31,000
    5 $31,000 – $40,000
    6 $40,000 – $51,500
    7 $51,500 – $67,000
    8 $67,000 – $87,000
    9 $87,00 – $124,000
    10 $124,000 & Over

    Top 5% Over $176,000
    Top 1% Over $448,000

    Source: 2009 Minnesota Tax Incidence Study

    http://taxes.state.mn.us/legal_policy/Documents/other_supporting_content_2009_tax_incidence_study_links.pdf

    Note that the income in the top decile is so large they break it down further to give you some idea what kind of income you may be talking about. In MN the poorest person is probably homeless, unemployed, and manages to pan handle a couple thousand dollars or less a year on the street. The wealthiest Minnesotan is probably a corporate executive; in 2009 United Health CEO Stephen Hemsley made $101,000,000.

    (source: Star Tribune http://ww3.startribune.com/projects/exec_comp/ey )

    Another way to try to get your head around the staggering disparity of income in MN is to consider the fact that of the $165 billion dollars total earned in MN in 2008, $71 billion went to the 245,000 people in the top decile while only $1.5 billion went the 245,000 in the bottom decile. In fact, the top 1% alone, the wealthiest 24,000 Minnesotan’s pulled in $28 billion dollars, that’s more than the bottom five deciles combined. (pp. 42 table 2.2)

    I’ve been having this debate with you magic plan champions of the wealthy for decades and one thing never changes, you guys never have any idea who the wealthy, or the poor really are.

  38. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/12/2010 - 01:13 am.

    One thing that’s clear and consistent about this magic plan/voodoo economics guy like Emmer and his defenders here is that they either don’t understand basic economics, or they don’t care. Emmer clearly doesn’t care, you can tell just by looking at him most of the time that when he’s not talking about his tax cutting mythology, if you try to get him to actually talk about real people and economies, he just gets bored. He’s not interested, he simply doesn’t care about the deficit or solving problems, he just wants to argue.

    The economic fact is that tax cuts are weakest form of stimulus a government can try, and they’re just another form of government subsidy. There’s a nice article in the NYTs about this.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/11/business/economy/11tax.html?_r=1&src=busln

    I think the last paragraph sums it up nicely: “The thought that tax cuts pay for themselves or that tax cuts alone can turn around this economy is magical thinking,” said Mr. Kleinbard, now a law professor at the University of Southern California. “The debate has become so unrealistic it makes you want to scream.”

  39. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/12/2010 - 12:11 pm.

    You have to admire his cajones though: his proposal for balancing the budget assumes first that massive tax cuts will have no impact on revenue. Optimism like that is rare indeed.

  40. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/13/2010 - 10:28 am.

    //You have to admire his cajones

    Meh, it’s not cajones, it’s indifference and hubris. I can’t muster any admiration for it.

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