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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Taxing Secret?

Posted: 05/23/05 12:45

by Paul Bartlett
Accredited Minnesota Assessor (retired), Eagan

Hey, if I tell you a secret, do you promise not to keep it?

Tim Pawlenty recently vetoed legislation because it contained an increase in the state gas tax. Part of his logic: the additional tax could cost the typical driver $75, perhaps $100 per year.

Now, here's where the story gets good. Minnesota has a hideous property tax law known as Limit Market Value (LMV). LMV is a tax shift scheme that gouges the owners of new homes and folks who live in low inflation communities. You see, they provide an enormous subsidy to LMV recipients. The recipients are the folks who have realized the greatest actual or potential home capital gain. Isn't that a hoot, subsidizing the most fortunate amongst us?

Here's where the secret comes in. LMV is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2007. But, during a May 11 MPR interview, our tax conscious governor performed a classic flip flop and stated that he now supports an extension of LMV, contradicting his earlier opposition to the nation's worst property tax law. Over taxation can easily cost the LMV victims ten to twenty times more than the paltry additional gas tax. Isn't this a real scream, Pawlenty vetoes a reasonable gas tax increase but supports an unsupportable property tax shift rip-off?

Remember, you promised not to keep this secret; pass it on.

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Tax the Turnips!

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 05/20/05 19:09, Edited: 05/20/05 20:58

by Dave Mindeman

Gas taxes are not fees? Cigarette fees are not taxes? I think Governor Pawlenty should put a tax on turnips because he apparently thinks we all just fell off the truck!
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How Dumb Can They Be?

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 05/20/05 16:04

by Dave Mindeman

Good government is a combination of sound fiscal judgment, creative problem solving, and a desire to meet the needs of all constituents. In Minnesota, there is no evidence that any of these factors are being considered.

Today's leadership places rhetoric above sound judgment in terms of fiscal policy. The current case in point is the transportation bill. An important bill because for the first time we had a real bi-partisan answer to a problem that has plagued the legislature for over a decade. A prudent leader would have seized the moment and hailed the bill as a turning point to broader cooperation. But our governor was too bound to his own "pledges" to do the right thing for our state. Again, our only solution will be to borrow and borrow heavily to meet needs that all sides say are factual and immediate.

Creative problem solving is ignored. The bill combined many potential revenue sources.... the gas tax being only one of several. Yet, Governor Pawlenty, would not even allow a full examination of the merits. His answer was simply NO!

The majority of Minnesotans would have benefited from this bill. Every area of our state has transportation needs. Even with this bill it is nearly impossible to fix the huge infrastructure gaps we have and it is equally impossible to satisfy each geographic area fully. But it still would cover a broad base of Minnesota's constituents. Instead of embracing that, Governor Pawlenty tried to pit groups against each other. Outstate vs Metro... Farm vs Suburbs... North vs South. Instead of bringing us together, he used his position as governor to accent the divisions.

Yes, the transportation bill could have signalled some real progress to meeting the needs of this state. Instead what we got was a fundamental breakdown in real leadership. Governor Pawlenty, this gridlock is YOURS!

If the citizens of Minnesota are ever "profoundly stupid" enough to, again, elect a governor that eliminates options for balancing our budget before we even begin the discussion, you have to ask the governor's own question, "How dumb can they be?"
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