After routing Republicans in the elections of 2006 and 2008, Democrats hold a substantial majority in both houses of the Minnesota legislature. As the recession has contracted state revenues forecast for the coming biennium, the Democrats succumbed to a tax raising mania. They sought to raise the top rate of Minnesota’s already high income tax to 9 percent and impose a variety of new taxes. Governor Pawlenty held his ground and vetoed the tax bills, while the hardy Republican minority stuck together to sustain him.
Having vetoed the Democrats’ tax bills, Governor Pawlenty will now balance the state budget himself through a combination of line item vetoes and unallotments. It all adds up to a dramatic story that has caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel. Strassel notes that the Democrats included in the bottomless fount of their tax raising ideas the elimination of the $10,000 deduction for expenses related to organ donation. What a perfect rallying cry for Minnesota Democrats: Close the organ donation loophole!
The heading of Strassel’s column goes to the heart of the story: “A governor and his veto pen.”