Is It All About Money?

MPR's Final MN Governor Candidates Debate

Is it all about money? The election for Minnesota Governor that is…

This clip from the final candidate debate is about money, taxes, and the budget that lives with it. We”ll start with a recent Humphrey Institute Poll on taxes : Do Minnesotans want to be taxed more or less? All three candidates claim to have balanced budgets that fit the needs of Minnesotans. There a couple tiny problems though : One, they will all three have to change the law, to balance the budgets as they describe. Two, there may be a problem getting it through the meat grinder of the Minnesota legislature, a committee of hundreds. They all rely on a trick–of not paying school districts on time, that was started with the past legislature and Pawlenty. These school districts, have cut programs and borrowed money to keep lights on, buy insurance and pay teachers this “shift”.

A simple question that really hasn’t been asked or answered: How do you pass that?

Mark Dayton (DFL) would need nearly every Democrat, and a handful of Republicans to raise taxes on the rich, and preserve the programs he wishes and increase spending on education.

Tom Horner (IP), would need to redefine what to tax. Do we produce products anymore, or do we have a evolved economy based on thinking, and services? He does describe wanting to protect low income families, but shift to sales taxes. He would need cooperation from both sides of the isle. He does talk compromise, all the time. After watching many debates, I asked his Press Secretary if I had summed Horner to a single word with : “Pragmatic”? He nodded and said : “I’d accept that.”

Tom Emmer (R), wants to ignore the fact that Minnesota budgets for two years and start over. He points to some revenue increase that is projected, but remember the deficit is talked about in billions of dollars. He wants to pass his “First Things First Bill”, well first. And in it he could declare a “Fiscal Emergency” if revenue did not match expenditures. Expect emergency to be the normal state, only you have to ask yourself, if the Democrats retain a majority in one house, how would he pass it over their dead bodies? And, wouldn’t tenacious legislators like Representative Rukavina grab on to his leg and not let go till the Supreme Court, because : “It looks like unallotment with a new name to me.” Expect at least a lawsuit attempt from some legislators.

This simple “how do you pass that question”, has pretty much been ignored by our press, and at the debates. It seems like it might have come up… but it’s been an argument on stage between three men confident that their budget plan, is not really a budget wish. This campaign has many issues to vote for, but the day after the election, there will really be only one question, and it will be about money. I commend Gary Eicten, for finally bringing it up and pressing it at one of these debates. I asked it to Tom Horner the other day here.

There are many issues, you may vote for Gay or Abortion rights, you may vote to preserve the family or the fetus. But the day after the election the giant question will be money: the budget deficit, taxes, what to tax, spending, and what to spend on?

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