Budget gap shrinks, but massive philosophical divide remains in shutdown battle

The road is closed to Tettegouche State Park north of Beaver Bay.
REUTERS/Eric Miller
The road is closed to Tettegouche State Park north of Beaver Bay.

Minnesota is officially in shutdown mode for only the second time in history. And all the frustration and indignation and rhetoric Republican legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton can summon won’t fix that very large problem.

So where do they turn now? How long will this last? What can happen that will end a dispute that is fundamentally unchanged since January.

In one small way, the gap between the GOP and the governor keeps shrinking. It’s down to $1.4 billion, according to Dayton.

But the principles that divide the two sides are unchanged.

No new taxes, say the Republicans.

In the name of fairness, at least the 7,700 richest Minnesotans who earn $1 million or more a year must be willing to pay higher taxes, says the governor.

Both the governor and Republican legislators left the Capitol before the midnight deadline last night. Both were stewing about being wronged by the other side. And both were claiming they would take their cases to the people.

Both sides counting on ‘the people’
It will be “up to the people of Minnesota to persuade them [Republicans],” Dayton said as the last night of negotiations ended dismally.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, House Majority Leader Matt Dean and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch were saying the same thing. The legislators, they said, will scatter across the state to their home districts and explain, from their point of view, what went wrong.

The GOP legislative leadership -- from left, Dean, Zellers, Koch and Michel -- speaking to the press Thursday night.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
The GOP legislative leadership — from left, Dean, Zellers, Koch and Michel — speaking to the press Thursday night.

“What’s next?” asked Dean, rhetorically. “An explanation. The governor is going to have a very difficult time explaining [why the state government has been shuttered].”


But Dayton won’t be alone in having some explaining to do.

Republican behavior while Dayton was speaking late Thursday night was boorish in an unprecedented way. Members of the House and Senate caucuses hooted and jeered when Dayton, who was holding a news conference, said things that offended them.

Longtime Capitol reporters said they’d never heard a governor receive the sort of disrespectful treatment Dayton received.

That behavior goes to either the zealotry or the inexperience of many Republican legislators, who apparently haven’t yet learned basic lessons of political civility.

Republican leaders wouldn’t comment on the surprising outbursts of their members, saying they weren’t in the room at the time.

They do talk about how unusual their caucuses are, but in only positive ways.

Zellers, for example, last night was talking about how unique these large freshman classes are. They are, he said, filled with people who came to St. Paul “as reformers.”

But they also have come with a sense of absolute rightness, which makes compromise difficult.

But Dayton, too, has some absolute principles. Those showed in the impassioned comments he made as the final day of negotiations crashed.

“I cannot accept a Minnesota where people with disabilities lose part of the time they are cared for by personal care attendants so that millionaires do not have to pay $1 more in taxes,” he said. “I cannot accept a Minnesota where young people cannot afford the rising tuitions at the University of Minnesota or a MNSCU campus so that millionaires do not have to pay $1 more in taxes. … That is not Minnesota.”

What is Minnesota?

Quick resolution unlikely
Well, right now it’s a closed-down mess. And there seems no end in sight. The state’s only other shutdown, in 2005, lasted eight days. It’s hard to imagine, given the breadth of work to be done, this shutdown can end so quickly.

Go back to the fundamental fight: revenue. Republicans say the state has enough, and they will resist increasing taxes, especially income taxes.

But what about other potential revenue streams?

Hot and muggy and unproductive as Thursday was, there were some humorous moments.

For example, around 11 a.m., Dick Day was in a tunnel in the Capitol. Day is the former Republican Senate minority leader who now lobbies at the Capitol for racinos.

Day was talking about the economic wonders of racinos and the terrible impact a shutdown will have on horse racing, when Republican legislative leaders came marching past.

“Just a second,” Day said to the reporter he was talking to.

He turned to the sober-faced Republican leaders and yelled at the top of his lungs: “I still have $250 million for you.” (That’s the amount racino backers say the state could collect each biennium from putting slot machines at the metro area’s two racetracks.)

The Republicans kept marching. Day shook his head in frustration.

He said Dayton has had one-on-one conversations with him about racinos. But he can’t get Republican leaders to listen to him.

“Minnesotans say they want it,” he said. “I think we have the votes in both the House and the Senate, but I can’t get the leaders to listen.”

He grumbled in disgust about how legislative leaders won’t listen because Republican Party leaders are opposed.

This leads to another constant complaint by DFLers about this new GOP. The legislators have little independence from the party and zealous party activists, DFLers argue. When an elected legislator steps away from the party line, he or she will get slapped down by party officials.

This is a new political reality, according to the likes of Roger Moe, who for years was the DFL’s Senate majority leader.

Did Moe ever even read a DFL platform?

“I might have perused it once,” said Moe, laughing.

Gov. Mark Dayton: "We've all been clear -- this was the deadline."
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Gov. Mark Dayton: “We’ve all been clear — this was the deadline.”

He told a story of how in 1972, the far left in the DFL wing wrote a wildly left (for the time) platform.

“Somebody asked George Perpich (brother of the late Gov. Rudy Perpich) how he stood on the party platform,” Moe recalled. “George said, ‘Very lightly.’ ”

‘True believers’ complicate deal-making
But many of today’s Republican legislators are true believers in their party platform. Again, that makes negotiating a deal hard.

In the end, Republicans and Dayton weren’t only separated by fiscal issues. Republicans apparently were still loading bills with other goodies from their platform. In the final days of negotiations, Republicans were still insisting on legislation supporting voter ID and restrictions on abortion and stem cell research in their talks with Dayton.

After the talks had collapsed, Koch said those were matters that could have been “hammered out” with just a bit more negotiating. Fiscal issues were the key divide, she said.

Throughout the day, there was considerable talk — mostly from Republicans but occasionally even from DFLers such as Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk — that the two sides were close.

In retrospect, however, that seems unlikely.

Republicans at one point were said to be floating a $1 billion revenue plan. But nearly $800 million of that would have actually just kicked the state debt down the line. Included in that was a scheme to refloat a 2009 idea of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty that even Republicans found absurd. Under that plan, the state would sell tobacco settlement money in a bond to a purchaser who would pay pennies on the dollar for rights to the tobacco cash. Additionally, Republicans were willing to “shift” another $400 million away from money owed to K-12 education.

Dayton was unimpressed.

Meantime, Dayton was reducing the size of his fourth-tier income tax from the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans, to the wealthiest 0.03 percent.

Republicans were unimpressed.

Until about 9:30 last night, the “cone of silence” surrounding negotiations was maintained. (Remember, the cone of silence? Negotiators were going to bite their tongues, not say bad things about each other and not reveal what was being said in negotiations. Nice idea. Didn’t work.)

Night packed with posturing
Outside the cone last night there was a whole lot of posturing going on.

Republican House members paraded into their chamber and pronounced themselves ready to work at 8:30 last night. All they needed, they said, was for the governor to call a special session.

They got a lot of media attention for the little stunt, but it did little to keep government open. (By the way, Dean, the House majority leader, said that the House adopted rules this year that eliminates the possibility of its members collecting per diems during a special session. However, members from outside the metro area can collect money for mileage and lodging expenses.)

Republicans said the governor should at least push passage of a “lights-on bill” that would have kept government open for a while longer.

Dayton rejected the idea, calling it a stunt.

“We’ve all been clear — this was the deadline,” Dayton said.

Angry Republicans booed when Dayton said that.  

Booing and finger-pointing may feel good. In some cases, it may even been justified.

But even in the midst of anger and adrenaline that comes at the end of long, failed negations, the people that led Minnesota to shutdown realized they must be the ones who get it running again.

Dayton, Koch and Zellers all said they were ready to meet again.

Presumably sometime soon they’ll figure out whatever they’ve been doing that hasn’t worked.

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

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Comments (30)

  1. Submitted by chuck holtman on 07/01/2011 - 09:45 am.

    The problem is that the question isn’t about “compromise,” which all depends on the arbitrary point folks start from and quickly becomes divorced from real dialogue about what sorts of collective investments serve the shared interests of our community. The problem is that deciding on a budget requires this dialogue, and one side is fundamentally incapable of participating in it. Though the Governor and the DFL caucus are far from perfect, they at least understand that setting a budget and assessing revenue sources have to do with a relationship between expenditures and how they affect people and the long-term health of Minnesota. But what characterizes Republicanism in its now-prevailing form is unbending adherence to a set of simplistic ideological tenets to which facts on the ground, and the consequences for the lives of people, are wholly irrelevant. This makes it impossible even to have the discussion.

    Otherwise, if as reported the majority caucus was continuing to force their social issues into the conversation, that it truly unforgivable.

  2. Submitted by Sandy Huseby on 07/01/2011 - 09:51 am.

    Listening to the posturing, cat-calling Republican zealots leaves me scratching my head. Why do they think the mega-rich shouldn’t have to contribute to fixing a problem largely of their making?

    Workers didn’t bust Minnesota’s economy, yet workers — and those who rely on them — bear the burden unfairly. And Minnesotans didn’t elect anyone this year to dictate extremist laws and sneak them into what should be common sense consensus legislation.

    Minnesotans chose Governor Dayton. Knowing what he believed in and planned to do as Governor.

    When the children on the Republican side boo and diss the Governor, when they try to ram through extremist laws, they disrespect all Minnesotans. And democracy, itself. For shame.

  3. Submitted by M Cathcart on 07/01/2011 - 09:57 am.

    At a time when serious compromise and statesmanship is required, this is absolutely unacceptable for Republican “leadership” to insert in budget negotiations: “Republicans were still insisting on legislation supporting voter ID and restrictions on abortion and stem cell research in their talks with Dayton.” Good grief. Talk about lack of seriousness.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/01/2011 - 10:00 am.

    Republicans are also liars. They’ve been telling us for days that they are “close” to a deal. Throw that on top of all the bogus laser focus on the budget and you pretty much have to disregard anything the Republicans say. They cannot be trusted which makes the deal even more troublesome. If they can’t be trusted to even describe the negotiation process how can they be trusted to follow through on any agreements they make once a special session is called? I predict they’ll make a deal, and then toss all this crap back into the legislation once they get into special session.

  5. Submitted by craig furguson on 07/01/2011 - 10:04 am.

    Governing, a national publication, has a pretty succinct and accurate synopsis(http://now.eloqua.com/es.asp?s=1222&e=225588&elq=96b4cdeec45b4a829d81bbd0e78158a4)

    “Talks imploded between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders in the final hours before a midnight deadline, and Minnesota began a historic government shutdown. The governor said his last offer would have raised income taxes only on those earning more than $1 million a year — an estimated 7,700 Minnesotans, or 0.3 percent of all taxpayers. The GOP proposed delaying another $700 million in payments owed to schools, which would add to the more than $1 billion the state already owes K-12 schools.” It’s difficult to believe that the GOP is really concerned about government debt for our children while proposing borrowing to temporarily fix an ongoing budget gap versus having .3 percent of taxpayers pay more ongoing. Their actions speak to protecting the rich.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/01/2011 - 10:05 am.

    The term “true believers” is actually an oxymoron. In reality a “true believer” is ALWAYS someone who has decided to believe whatever they believe, not because it’s verifiably true, factually true, or even historically true, but because they NEED to believe it.

    Why do “true believers” (of all stripes) need to believe what they believe?

    Because any other perspective, any other set of beliefs, any other ways of viewing the world make them uncomfortable, even ENRAGED living in the world.

    When you have had your empathy, your compassion, and your ability to trust anyone who does not agree with you on everything that seems important to you, beaten (literally or figuratively) out of you by your families, friends, communities and/or churches,…

    You are incapable of experiencing or expressing such things.

    When life bumps you up against circumstances that ask those things of you, you find yourself ill at ease, bristling, even enraged that people deserving of such things even exist and at those who are pointing their existence out to you.

    Of course the loss of your compassion, empathy and ability to trust make the give and take of normal, healthy friendships and love relationships inaccessible and impossible for you.

    That’s where the worship of wealth comes in.

    The promise of wealth for such people is the promise that they can surround themselves with people who will act out the roll of loving and compassionate friends and lovers without ever expecting or requiring that THEY, THEMSELVES offer anything of the kind in return.

    But, of course, that NEVER works because your inability to trust means you can’t even accept and appreciate the love and compassion of those who actually DO love you because you fear they are only doing so because you’re wealthy.

    Sadly, your dysfunctions only allow you one solution to that miserable conundrum: you need MORE money, and MORE, and MORE.

    Your dysfunctions render you completely unable to allow to enter your awareness the fact that you’ll never get the love, support and compassion all of us humans need,…

    In the only way your dysfunctions allow you to pursue those things.

    Thus do your dysfunctions allow your missing pieces, which haven’t really disappeared but are locked away within your psyche, to get even with for not finding out how to release them from their internal exile,…

    Acting as tricksters – motivating you to live your life and pursue exactly those things that will blow up in your face.

    When we allow such people to take control of some of the levers of power of the government which is supposed to serve the needs of all of us, we inevitably get what we see now (and what looms in Washington),…

    A government shutdown which will blow up in ALL of our faces.

    Such “true believers” also generally ignore the Bible’s words and images of the one true God, inventing a “god” in the image of their own dysfunctions, i.e. a God who ONLY agrees with them and never questions or challenges them. A “god” who worships money and those who have it right along with that “god’s” dysfonic acolytes.

    As we now so clearly see here in Minnesota, these “true believers” cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be educated or informed. Their dysfunctions simply will not allow to enter their awareness any countervailing information. Those who provide such countervailing information are just dismissed as being “not one of us.”

    Such people will not change because their dysfunctions will not allow it.

    All we can do with these dysfonic “true believer” Republicans is vote them out of office as soon as possible. If we fail to do so, their internal “trickster” will cause them to continuously tear down our state (in the name of “building wealth”) in ways that make the need for compassion and empathy for those who have been damaged and wounded become more and more obvious and overwhelming day by day,…

    to the point that soon NONE of us, even those who have insisted that this was the ticket to heaven on earth, will want to live here.

  7. Submitted by Robert Saxton on 07/01/2011 - 10:08 am.

    I tried to get onto the DNR website to get lake information to take my boys fishing this morning and…shut down. Here’s my message to anti-tax republicans: if you aren’t willing to raise revenues and SACRIFICE a bit to support our lakes, parks, wildlife and state, then you aren’t Minnesotans – you just live here.

  8. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/01/2011 - 10:12 am.

    We are seeing the complications that arise when the strands of religion and politics are too tightly interwoven. To concede anything is “making a deal with the devil”.

  9. Submitted by Clare LaFond on 07/01/2011 - 10:24 am.

    We live in a sound-bite world. By sticking to strict ideology Republicans get their sound bite and presumably ensure their re-election.

  10. Submitted by Craig Huber on 07/01/2011 - 10:38 am.

    Called Gov Dayton’s office to express support: got thru on first ring, quick but polite, no problems. Fair amount of phone ringing in the background.

    Still trying to get my House reps office on the phone. Busy so far. Not sure what that says.

    In a way, kinda nice to have a 4 day weekend to start applying pressure.

  11. Submitted by Mark Birchwood on 07/01/2011 - 10:39 am.

    So we have newly elected Republican “leaders” whose first item on the agenda was to bash gay people, then shut down the government. Such incompetence will be duly remembered next election day.

  12. Submitted by Lance Groth on 07/01/2011 - 10:45 am.

    It comes down to this: protecting the rich and the money in their pockets is more important to this new breed of repubs than anything else.

    The whole “we are close” schtick yesterday was a fib. They knew talks were collapsing, so they told the “we are close” narrative to try to pin blame on Dayton. They must think we’re pretty stupid.

    It is also clear that they were never serious about negotiating a deal. By inserting right wing policy language into the budget bills that they knew Dayton could never accept, their intention was clearly to torpedo any agreement.

    Let no one forget this. The shutdown happened because of zealotry, unthinking adherence to dogma, and a desire to protect the rich. They are no friend to the common citizen, and are defying the will of the 56% of voters who voted for candidates for Governor who offered a mixed solution including revenue increases.

  13. Submitted by Ann Spencer on 07/01/2011 - 11:12 am.

    Finger pointing feels good but at this point I don’t see where it gets you. Real people are suffering and will continue to do so until this is resolved.

    It seems obvious that the GOP is never going to agree to higher income taxes on high-income people so there’s no point in Dayton continuing to offer variations on that theme.

    It’s equally clear that some sort of new revenue stream will have to be part an eventual deal and therefore the Republicans will have to abandon their insistence on $34 billion and not one penny more.

    Therefore, the parties should be talking about alternatives to higher income tax rates if this logjam is ever to be broken. A number of proposals are out there, from broadening the sales tax base to racinos to higher taxes on cigarettes and liquor. All these ideas have their own problems but we do not live in a perfect world and sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. Politics is the art of the possible, not the art of the perfect.

  14. Submitted by Dale Carlton on 07/01/2011 - 11:27 am.

    I think the mdia should publish the names of the Republicans who hiised and booed the Governor during his press conference.
    That way those who acted mature will not be faulted and the others will be made known.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/01/2011 - 11:49 am.


    //It seems obvious that the GOP is never going to agree to higher income taxes on high-income people so there’s no point in Dayton continuing to offer variations on that theme.

    The “real” people your talking about will suffer more harm long term with the Republican budget. It’s cuts 85% of the public transportation budget, throws 140 thousand people out of health care, and literally asks cash strapped families with disabled to pay $350 a year more rather asking millionaires to pay $200 more in taxes. The Republican budget guarantees perpetual budget crises that will demand even more “sacrifice” from “real” people in the future. Sooner or later we have to stand up real people, not kick the ball down field so we can go the State Parks again.

  16. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 07/01/2011 - 12:45 pm.

    Republicans got what they wanted from day one – a shutdown.

    Their hard-core admirers are celebrating the shutdown. When you believe that government is the enemy, this is the ultimate in democracy. When you believe smaller government is the answer, no government must be perfect. They are in their glory.

    I would be willing to bet only a handful of Repbulicans are even remotely concerned about what this will mean to the people they allegedly represent.

  17. Submitted by Ann Spencer on 07/01/2011 - 12:55 pm.


    I did not suggest that Dayton capitulate to the Republican budget. An eventual solution will have to include new revenue. But the GOP is never going to agree to raising income tax rates on high-income people. That’s just reality. Dayton has fought for his position and compromised on it and it’s gone nowhere; now it’s time to move on to other ways to close the gap. Both sides are going to have to give something up. The Republicans will have to move off $34 billion and Dayton will have to agree to other ways to enhance revenue than higher income tax rates—preferably methods that can be labeled as something other than a “tax” with a straight face. From what I’ve read and heard, there are Republicans willing to discuss these alternative revenue enhancers. That’s a place to start in searching for common ground.

    Unless Minnesota is going to shut down permanently (which is ludicrous), the parties will have to reach an agreement eventually. Neither side is going to get everything they want here. Their energies should be spent trying to solve this sorry mess, not assessing blame. That will be up to the voters, and I have no doubt that they will call their elected representatives to account.

  18. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/01/2011 - 01:07 pm.

    Surely there MUST be a minority of Republicans who are still healthy enough to “snap out of it” and break free of the “imperious curse” (Harry Potter) under which so many of their colleagues are laboring,…

    a curse seemingly placed on them by Grover Norquist, the Koch Bros, et al, and rendering them willing to do absolutely anything at the behest of those very wealthy moral midgets,…

    in order to provide sufficient numbers to broker a deal with Gov. Dayton regardless of what the chief dysfons among their leaders, Mr. Sutton, Mr. Brodkorb, et al, want.

    We all realize that those few courageous Republicans would would likely be sacrificing their political careers in doing so, BUT they could also form the core of a new party that would give all the non-dysfonic “Republicans” across the state a place to hang their hats.

    I suspect, given the opportunity, a great MANY former moderate Republicans would welcome the possibility of leaving the dysfons who have taken over their local precinct caucuses and love to shout down anyone who tries to disagree with them, to inhabit empty meeting rooms on caucus night,…

    While the REAL (psychologically-healthy) Republicans meet elsewhere to organize a new party for the purpose of taking back the mantle of the fiscally conservative, socially moderate, admirably thoughtful party that being “Republican” once represented.

  19. Submitted by David Greene on 07/01/2011 - 01:50 pm.


    The Governor has in fact been talking about those other revenue sources. He has said repeatedly he is open to alternatives to the income tax. He’s not the problem. The Republicans are.

  20. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 07/01/2011 - 02:09 pm.

    Kudos to Craig (#10). I hope all here will take the time to call or write to Dayton, Koch, and Zellers, and hopefully get at least one other person to do so. At this point public pressure is going to be key.


  21. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/01/2011 - 02:29 pm.

    The only sources of “new” revenue proposed by the Republicans consisted of “borrowing” more from the schools and taking the present value of the future tobacco settlement money.

    These are not really “new” revenue at all, but taking from other programs.

    It was instructive that on MPR, the Hennepin County Commissioner said that they were not going to cover the state’s share of programs that they co-ran with the state, simply because they could not trust the state to repay them after the state re-starts.

    How’s that for a lack of trust?

    That is pretty ugly.

  22. Submitted by John Ferman on 07/01/2011 - 02:37 pm.

    One of the commenters here cited the Koch Brothers. Well, push back is your wont then consider boycotting their product.

    Koch Products & Companies Include:
    Any Georgia Pacific paper products, including:
    – Angel Soft
    – Angel Soft Ultra
    – Brawny paper towels
    – Dixie cups (& napkins & plates)
    – Insulair cups
    – Perfect Touch cups, paper products
    – Quilted Northern
    – Sparkle paper towels
    – Stainmaster
    – Vanity Fair napkins & paper towels
    – Mardis Gras napkins
    – Zee Napkins

    Home/Office papers:
    – Advantage
    – Image Plus
    – Spectrum
    – Georgia Pacific envelopes

    – Stainmaster
    – Lycra
    – Teflon

    Building supplies:
    – Georgia Pacific

    – Holiday Companies gas stations
    – Gander Mountain  

    In addition, most of the oil & natural gas in Minnesota comes in via Koch brothers pipelines, so anything you can do to reduce consumption of gasoline, heating oil, or natural gas will help. 

  23. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 07/01/2011 - 02:44 pm.

    I know a lot of Republicans but I don’t know any who are willing to move much beyond the iedological rhetoric that their side has built up to cover up their basic lack of interest in others and their own selfishness that arises from fear. It is very successful because when your soundbites are clever, simple and cite common sense it has great appeal to all of us- looking for a simpler, better world with more common sense in it. The problem is the rhetoric is detached from reality and the need to solve problems. It is indeed true as someone says that the Republican belief system is fundamentally embraced because it protects people from the complexity, pain and confusion of a decaying civilization. Likewise,Democrats are hanging on to a social structure that no longer exists,is not supported and can not be financed. Despite this decay of our common world we have to start building the civilization that will follow. Maybe this is what Western Europe felt like in the 400’s with Democrats demanding the status quo and independents inviting in the new Republican Huns to finish it off. Watching are all of you moderates aghast with horror and full of ideas that no one will listen to.

  24. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/01/2011 - 03:47 pm.

    “Likewise, Democrats are holding on to a social structure that no longer exists, is not supported and can not be financed.”

    I don’t believe that is true here anymore than it is in England, where PM David Cameron is out-Thatchering Thatcher by a million to one — with deep cuts that will hurt England’s most vulnerable citizens in the name of getting rid of a budget deficit that could be cured by raising revenue. Taxes, that would be.

    Neither America nor England is broke. The banking crisis of 2007/2008 is being paid for by government giveaways to those who caused the problems with money that is transferred, by cutting spending, from the poor and middle classes to a financial elite.

    In Greece, we will soon see an entire country’s ordinary people pushed into penury and its most precious public properties sold at firesale prices so transnational banks can be compensated for what they — not Greek citizens — lost by reckless lending and investment.

    John Maynard Keynes showed the way many decades ago: public spending helps an economy recover, even when the government has to become the employer of last resort. Cutting public spending is pro-cyclical, shrinking the economy ever further and prolonging the recession/depression.

  25. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 07/01/2011 - 03:50 pm.

    The top 1% of the income earners pay about 40% of all income tax revenue. The top 2% pay around 60%. That’s not enough? The GOP stands firm that it is enough. If it’s not covering the bills, then spending is too high – prioritize our spending instead of chasing high earners out of here. I’m not one of those high earners, but I like having them around because they make things happen in the economy.

  26. Submitted by Lyn Crosby on 07/01/2011 - 07:03 pm.

    Hey Republican leaders, take note of this: About 15 of the 25 comments above are (IMHO) blasting the Repubs. About one (1) blasts the Dems. About eight are neutral or aren’t blaming one party more than the other.

    Your strategy is not working. I predict many of you first timers will be one termers. Unfortunately, you get a little extra in your pocket and many Minnesotans suffer in the short term and possibly even the long term.

    I haven’t been this encouraged about the electorate since the election!

  27. Submitted by will lynott on 07/01/2011 - 11:01 pm.

    #25, those high earners are not creating jobs, or HAVEN’T YOU NOTICED? They’re stuffing their pockets with tax cut and bailout cash, and laughing at people like you who enable them.

    Be assured, they’re happy you’re backing their greed–but here’s a news flash–they don’t care about you. It’s just fine with them that the rest of us, including you, sink while they renovate their starter castles.

    It’s class warfare, all right–and they’re winning.

  28. Submitted by Lance Groth on 07/01/2011 - 11:35 pm.

    Re #25 –

    No, it’s not enough, because on average, high income earners in Minnesota pay 2-3% less in state and local taxes than the middle class. If the rich aren’t willing to step up to the plate to at least the same level as the middle class, then no, it’s not enough.

    If, as you say, you are not one of them, then you should also be tired of being used by them. Stop being a tool. Stand up for yourself – the rich don’t need your protection.

  29. Submitted by George Anderson on 07/03/2011 - 08:57 am.

    Narcissism may be applied to a social group or political party, denoting elitism or an indifference to the plight of others. There is a beautiful painting of Narcissus (admiring his reflection in water) by Caravaggio posted on Wikipedia. This picture is worth a thousand words.

  30. Submitted by Mary Birkholz on 07/04/2011 - 11:07 pm.

    Re: #25

    From Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal-

    “Minnesota’s high-income households paid a lower percentage of income in state and local taxes than lower-earning families, according to a state study released Wednesday.

    The overall state and local tax burden averaged 11.5 percent of income in 2008, the Minnesota Department of Revenue said in its 2011 Tax Incidence Study.

    [B]The state’s highest-income taxpayers – the 10 percent of households earning more than $130,000 – paid an effective tax rate of 10.3 percent. The remaining 90 percent of low- and middle-income households paid a tax rate of 12.3 percent, the report said.[/b]

    “Minnesota’s income tax is progressive – increasing as income rises – but not progressive enough to outweigh the regressive nature of other major state and local taxes,” the state said in a news release.

    The report said property and consumption taxes, such as sales taxes, are regressive, even when tax credits are figured in.

    “Minnesota’s tax system is more regressive than it was a decade ago,” said acting Revenue Commissioner Dan Salomone. “Despite a slight improvement over the last study, the system remains notably more regressive than the historical average since 1991.”

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