It’s time for another episode of Carver County’s new favorite game show, Let’s Go To The Tape. In our first episode, we checked the claims of the Carver County Commissioner candidates who said that the League of Women Voters were conducting biased forums. Believe it or not, we found those claims to be utterly without merit.
In today’s episode, we look at the mini-kerfuffle that has broken out within the Carver County GOP over some live-tweeting by Waconia City Council member Jim Sanborn and Waconia Mayor Jim Nash at last week’s candidate forum in Waconia. If you go to the comments on the linked post as well as on the Carver County Current site, you see that there’s been some questioning of the accuracy of the tweets, and apparently Nash and Sanborn have been taking some heat for their quoting of Rep. Leidiger at the event. The video of this event has been posted (you can watch it all at the bottom of this post).
So, Let’s Go To The Tape:
Leidiger’s answer to this question begins at the 23:45 mark in the video. At 24:15 he says, “In terms of education, certainly, once again, the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed a bill that increased education spending by 8 percent over the last biennium.”
As was noted previously, this answer is not fully the truth. Yes, the Legislature passed an increase to the basic per-pupil funding formula of $50 in each of the two years and chipped in some one-time money. However, the school shift that Leidiger voted for resulted in most districts seeing a net decrease in state revenues for the biennium. Leidiger ignores the impact of the shift in his comment.
And, yes, at 24:38, Leidiger does say ”The problem is that under the current system with the union controls, we don’t get the ingenuity that we should in the system.” That certainly qualifies as criticism of the union. This Tweet is accurate.
At 30:54, Leidiger says ”Well yes, we want our elected officials to really be held to a higher standard.” You can review how Leidiger has performed here, and see if he meets the standard he sets up for himself. These Tweets are accurate.
It’s also interesting to note Leidiger’s answer to the previous question regarding the role of government in promoting small business (starting at 27:20). In that answer, Leidiger not only dodges his own history with small business loans, but criticizes the actions of the Carver County Board saying (at 28:00) “they don’t live by their own regulations”. This coming from the guy with $144,000 in tax liens? Pot, meet kettle.
At the 49:00 mark, Leidiger says “I’ve never gotten a job from a poor person, it’s always been from a rich person.”, and at 50:34, he says ”There should be an environment where everyone has 2 or 3 jobs that they can go to.” Yet again, the Tweet in question here is accurate.
At 50:50, Leidiger says ”So thank you very much for having us here. I think this has been a great audience and I think its very important that we do these kinds of forums far more than what we have in the past.” I suppose one could argue over what “these kinds of forums” refer to, but Sanborn and Nash’s inference here (and implicit criticism of Leidiger for skipping the LWV forum) is certainly reasonable.
Seems to me that Sanborn and Nash accurately reported what Leidiger said. Maybe folks in the Carver County GOP who don’t like it should consider how what Leidiger says matches up with his actions instead of shooting the messenger.
Both Leidiger and State Senator Julianne Ortman refer to the fact that the top 10% of income earners in the state pay over 50% of the income taxes in the state. This is used to buttress support for reducing taxes on upper-income people. This is true, but it leaves out some additional context. According the Department of Revenue’s 2011 Tax Incidence Study, the top 10% earn 42.1% of the state’s income. They pay 56% of the state’s individual income tax. However, the individual income tax is less than 50% of the state’s tax base. When you take into account all state taxes, the top 10% only pay 41.6% of all state taxes. If you factor local taxes into the mix (because local budgets are highly influenced by state taxes), the top 10% only pay 37.8% of all state and local taxes. So, in reality, those high-income folks are well-protected in our existing tax code.
Whenever you hear a politician talk about tax burdens but only give you statistics that reference one kind of tax, watch out because it’s very likely they’re trying to avoid telling you the whole story.
Here’s the entire video of the event: