Protax Efforts Intensify in Minnesota

As regular readers know, Minnesota faces a budget deficit like most states, and our Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, was elected last November largely on the basis of his pledge to balance the budget without raising Minnesota’s already sky-high taxes. Budget bills are now working their way through the legislature, and, as was widely predicted, the local news media are awash in predictions of doom. Liberal interest groups are pursuing a “Victim du Jour” strategy, highlighting the alleged horrors that will result if the state’s spending does not continue to grow at a record-shattering pace (actually, the budget proposed by Governor Pawlenty provides for a 6% spending increase over the next two years.)
Today, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on a “Poor People’s March” on the State Capitol by about 1,000 protesters yesterday. Speakers at the rally denounced the Governor’s budget, alleging that “cuts will result in more poverty, disillusionment and crime.” The always-helpful Strib recycled a DFL press release, noting that “Senate DFLers have called for a balance of spending cuts and tax increases on the most affluent Minnesotans — those who benefited the most from past-year tax rebates — to balance the budget.”
Meanwhile, columnist Doug Grow devoted today’s column–as he has all his recent columns–to bewailing the impact of proposed budget cuts on Minnesotans dependent on state largesse. This time it’s a teenage nightclub in Burnsville that could lose its state subsidy. Grow, befuddled by Minnesota’s steady swing toward the political right in recent years, pines for the “old Minnesota” and warns that the “new Minnesota” will be a “cold Arkansas.”
Meanwhile, today’s St. Paul Pioneer Press headlines the Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota’s claim that “the well-being of Minnesota’s children would be jeopardized if Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s budget proposal were enacted.”
And finally, a lawn sign campaign promotes higher taxes–see the photo below. The state is not exactly awash in protax signs, however, especially since the signs imply a willingness to have one’s own taxes raised. Those who advocate higher taxes are usually talking about someone else’s.
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