The release of Governor Dayton’s budget produced the expected responses from members of Carver County’s legislative delegation, pointing out the sales tax changes (focused on the tax on clothing over $100 and services) as the main enemy in the proposal.
Interestingly enough, though, both State Senator Julianne Ortman and State Representative Ernie Leidiger took another shot at Democrats over taxes — this time at the federal level.
From Ortman’s January 23, 2013 Capitol Report:
In addition to Governor Dayton’s proposed tax increases, President Obama has two major tax increases that will take even more money out of the pockets of hard-working Minnesotans.
This month, wage earners will notice an increase in the amount that they pay for the federal payroll tax. Since the first of the year, most Minnesotans have already seen this happen on their paychecks.
From Leidiger’s January 28, 2013 e-mail to constituents:
Look at it this way: a hardworking middle class family will not only have diminished take-home pay because of higher social security taxes, but they will also have to dig deeper in their pockets for everyday items and services.
Ortman and Leidiger are referring to the expiration of the payroll tax cut on January 1, 2013. This change increased the Social Security payroll tax rate by 2%, back to its statutory rate of 6.2%. The rhetoric of the two legislators – particularly Ortman — might lead you to believe that this tax increase was just another way that so-called tax-and-spend Democrats are out to get the middle class.
Well, that just isn’t so. In fact, when it comes to payroll taxes, Democrats have been the defenders of giving taxpayers a break. The temporary payroll tax cut was passed in the lame-duck session following the 2010 midterm election and was designed to be a one-year only provision, expiring at the start of 2011. Over the objections of his caucus, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner agreed to another one-year extension in the 2011 showdown over the debt ceiling. And as we approached the fiscal cliff, we should recall that no Republicans were standing up for continuing the extension. Not Boehner. Not Mitch McConnell. Mitt Romney didn’t support extending the payroll tax cut, either.
And while President Barack Obama didn’t make the extension of the payroll tax cut a “must-have” in fiscal cliff negotiations the way he did in 2011, he was forced to scrap plans for an alternative middle- and lower-class tax cut in order to secure the needed Republican votes for passage.
So, let’s recap: Republicans are blaming Barack Obama for adopting the policy they themselves insisted on. Ain’t politics grand?