In Minnesota, Dems gone wild

Marc Thiessen recently recalled that after he was defeated for reelection in 1989, New York Mayor Ed Koch was asked if he would ever run for office again. “No,” Koch replied. “The people have spoken…and they must be punished.”

In the 2012 elections, Minnesotans elected Democratic majorities in the state House and state Senate to go along with the Democratic governor (Mark Dayton) they (we) elected in 2010. It’s the first time in a generation that Minnesota Democrats have controlled all the levers of power in the political branches. Minnesotans have spoken and they must be punished. As night follows day, they (we) we will be.

Minnesota has bought into the Obama/Medicaid expansion big time. It has established its own Obamacare exchange. The tab will be big and eternal, as far as I can tell.

The governor and the legislature are now working on Minnesota’s biennial budget. One way or another — really one way and another and another and another, etc. — increasing taxes is a big part of the equation. Democrats are going wild on their old time religion: spending and taxes without end, amen. My friend Kathy Kersten writes in the Star Tribune:

Our budget train wreck stems from the fact that our current one-party government wants to boost spending for 2014-15 by about 10 percent.

Opponents joke that legislators are trying to solve a $627 million deficit problem with a $2.5 billion tax increase. (The deficit arises from autopilot spending increases included in state budget projections.) And we might not have a deficit at all if our budget process required lawmakers to review program effectiveness instead of automatically bumping up spending at the start of a new biennium.

As it is, taxes are going up big-time. And it won’t just be the rich who pay.

Current proposals from DFL lawmakers add a fourth income tax bracket, boosting taxes on incomes as low as $80,000 for a single filer and tacking a surcharge on the wealthy that would make our top rate one of the highest in the nation. The House lowers the income threshold at which higher rates kick in on every bracket, which will raise taxes on single filers making as little as $21,651. For some, higher rates will be offset by larger deductions due to conforming with federal tax changes, but a majority of these households will experience a tax increase.

Minnesotans at every income level can expect to be hit by new taxes on items like clothing, gas and alcohol and car repair. And proposals for new or increased fees include a $5 surcharge on homeowners and car insurance policies, $3 on a driver’s license and a $15 surcharge on traffic violations.

Where is the money going? Kathy adds a few notes:

We see the fruits of the DFL’s tax-and-­spendaholic mentality in education proposals. Legislative leaders assure us that if we fork over $550 million for new pre-K-through-12 spending in the next biennium, Minnesota will boast “the world’s best workforce”—and a 100 percent graduation rate — by 2027….

I buy it completely, but that’s not all:

Legislators also intend to shower public employees with goodies. The Senate has approved a 35 percent pay raise for lawmakers. Public employees’ new contract will cost $174 million in new spending—thanks to pay increases and the fact that public employees still pay zero percent of the cost of their individual health insurance premiums.

Welfare-related spending will also go up. Minnesota already spends more per low-income person on public support than any other state except Alaska, according to a recent report from Center of the American Experiment, where I am a senior fellow. This disparity suggests that a careful reconsideration of benefit and eligibility levels is in order.

It may be time for some enterprising Republican to superimpose a photo of Tim Pawlenty on the Minnesota billboard featuring President Bush asking: “Miss me yet?”

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