It’s gonna be a long session

The Strib did a lengthy piece in Sunday’s paper on the Dayton Administration’s efforts to draft a comprehensive tax reform bill.  Practically all of the piece is devoted to the mechanics of what could go into the proposal as well as looking at the potential impacts of making certain changes.  It’s a good read, as is this piece at Wry Wing Politics which points out that Dayton’s final proposal may end up looking a lot like Tom Horner’s 2010 platform.  This is an effort that has been neglected for too long by both parties.  The depressing part comes at the end, when we get the first reaction from a member of the Republican legislative minority.

Preston GOP Rep. Greg Davids, the outgoing House Taxes chair, offered a gloomy prediction: “This next session has disaster written all over it. You get what you voted for. I guess Minnesotans want two years of higher taxes and misery.”

This reaction doesn’t really make any sense at this point.  The reform proposal hasn’t even been finalized yet, much less introduced as actual legislation.  Many of Dayton’s goals line up with goals that Republicans have advocated for in the past.  Shouldn’t Republicans at least wait until they see an actual bill, before they decide that they’re opposed to it?

It’s this sort of short-sighted, partisan-for-partisan sake nonsense that ended the Republican legislative majorities after two unproductive years.  Can’t we at least entertain the possibility that there might be some common ground here that could be built upon before we descend into partisan gridlock again?

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31 Responses to “It’s gonna be a long session”

  1. So you’re saying Horner is a Democrat? No argument there.

  2. If there is any decent into gridlock, it won’t be partisan, The DFL owns the House, Senate and Governor’s mansion. Whatever happens, the DFLers own. Republicans should just sit on their hands and watch the DFL fight it out amongst themselves. It should be entertaining.

  3. Whoopsie…descent, not decent. Nothing decent about what the DFL wants to do.

  4. 45 billion budget. That’s the goal. Not sure how they expect to raise that much revenue in a down economy, or even a booming economy. This experiement of DFL control will not last. There’s no way to afford more than two years of DFL control. There just isn’t enough money.

    • Where are you getting that number from?

      • Folks at the capitol. The number is from very early on in the process, and hopefully, someone comes to their senses and realizes they can’t grow our state budget by that much without some seriously ridiculous tax increases.

        • Are any of those people actually involved in putting together the Dayton budget proposal, or are they just partisan hatchetmen?

          • Apparently you a have a different number you’ve heard? When I first said north of 40 billion you said it wouldn’t be that high. You were right, it’s much higher. Best get to digging. These guys are coming after all of our families. There’s no way to get this from just the rich. They’re going to raise the sales tax. Last I checked, that hits us all, every day. The article states how the left sees tax breaks. Money supposedly leaves the coffers through these loop holes. 11 billion in tax breaks? So what? How billions are left behind by allowing us with any income at all? Where does it end? When is enough, enough. To a liberal, the answer is clear. There is never enough. The man was right. Two years of higher taxes and misery are coming to MN, with another 4 coming to the country. People don’t get it. Government has become unsustainable. That’s a fact.

            • Well, under current law, the state budget would be $36.86 billion. Inflation isn’t included in those estimates — adding inflation brings it up to $37.75 billion. Paying back the remaining school shift in this cycle would bring it up to $38.85 billion. I’d be surprised if the final number ends up being much higher than that.

              And in actuality, I would suspect it may be lower than $38.85B. I’m not sure we need to pay back the remaining shift this cycle. From what I’ve gathered from talking to folks from a couple of school districts, they’d just as soon have a predictable stream than trying to force a quick payback.

              Going over $40 billion would be rather risky politically, and Bakk and Thissen have been going out of their way thus far to avoid overreach.

              • What was reported about Thissen yesterday, from MPR: Thissen said he intends to listen to liberal groups which are advocating for billions of dollars in new spending, but other DFL leaders are working to temper expectations.

                • “Listening” is one thing. We’ll see what actually makes it into a bill.

                  Again, I’ll go back to my original point. It seems a bit silly right now to rage against a proposal that hasn’t even been proposed yet. I have no idea what the specifics of the tax reform or spending proposals will look like. Why can’t we sheath the knives until we have an actual proposal to evaluate?

                  I’ll again also point out that the makeup of the new DFL majorities is different that those from the 2000s or before. The suburban DFLers who won in swing districts are far more likely to look from a policy perspective like Terri Bonoff than Frank Hornstein.

                  • Back on Nov 16th, Dayton was initially talking about a 45 billion budget. So, hopefully you are right, and some of these guys are reining him in. My guess is that the freshmen won’t have enough pull, and unless the DFL suddenly swallowed a reality pill, we’re going to see massive growth in this propsed budget.

            • “These guys are coming after all of our families”? Really, the best you can do is to try to terrorize through innuendo and fear-mongering, just because your party didn’t win? Didn’t this last election show us all that candidates and party officials who take that approach are a major cause behind the losses the GOP suffered?

              Again, name your source. You’ll have to forgive my skepticism, Mr. Brunette, but I’m still waiting for the facts and figures that you promised from the voter ID discussion, but never provided (and stopped talking about, after your “information” came into disrepute).

              The DFL leadership has been active in the media, reducing any expectation of substantial increases to discretionary funding. Sean is right, they want a stable budget, not the roller coaster of deficits, and without borrowing from local schools to fill the gaps. So unless you’ve got something tangible to the contrary, I’d suggest you stop selling your $45 billion claim as anything other than your desire to see the state fail rather than allowing for the other party to succeed.

              • Cause I really want the state to fail. Grow up. This has nothing to do with who won, and who didn’t. We know from experience that the DFL is all about increasing hte size of government. Have been since I can remember. Even Thissen admits he will be listening numerous liberal interests who would like to see increased spending in the billions of dollars. Sure, there are those are trying to put a cap on this. In fact, they won’t even speculte publicly on thier numbers at this point. Every single year under Pawlenty, the DFL tried to grow ogvernment, substaintially beyond its means. Are we suddenly to believe that now under DFL control something will change? Based upon what? Put your ,oney where your mouth is. Let’s bet what the final budget number will be. First Sean assured me its not going to be over 40 billion. I’m willing to stick with that paltry number. I guarantee it will be higher than that. I doubt anyone seriously beleives the Dayton budget will not be a bank buster. He’ll need huge revenue increases to pull it off.

                And I’d also note that the planned increases in sales taxes will hit everyone in MN. Sorry if that’s fear mongering in your book. In mine it’s reality. Sales taxes hit us all, unless you plan not to buy anything for 2 years. Good luck.

                • “These guys are coming after all of our families.” Sure, that’s not fear-mongering, right?

                  Actually, it is, in the worst and lowest form, and no amount of evasion or doublespeak changes that.

                  And again, no source, just your tragic vision of impending doom that automatically casts everything from the “other” side as wicked and wrong. I’m sorry, Chicken Little, but the sky isn’t falling.

                  Sean is right: you and other GOP members are already setting your hair on fire for a proposed budget that doesn’t even exist yet. It may be convenient for the reality you have constructed for yourself, but it isn’t real, and only serves to poison civil discourse and progress for the state. In this case, your $45 billion figure is about as reliable as Republican polling leading up to the election: it gives you comfort at the expense of reality.

                  So yes, it is fear mongering to imply that “These guys are coming after all of our families.” It is what people turn to when they have no facts to stand on.

                  • An article I recently read, states that the 3 stools of revenue for the state are unbalanced, with the shortfall coming from sales taxes. It then goes on to talk about how property taxes are the longest leg now, yet mine have consistently fallen. Only in irresponsible cities and counties have property taxes increased. And there’s only one way to make the sales tax leg longer. raiset the rates, which is exactly what this new budget proposal will contain. I suggest you liberals do some digging. Revenue is going to be coming from ALL of us in the new budget proposal. It is the only way these BIG government spenders can get enough revenue to do the things they want to do. Sean say wait for the proposal to come out. Funny how he digs into every detail on a GOP misstep, but refuses to “report” any details on this current fiasco. Credivility? Here’s your chance, fellas. I’ve shown you what the DFL has in store. Perhaps you find something that actually states what they will be propsoing, because my sources tell me it’s going to be masive incereases in spending. Not that this would shock anyone who has ever watched the DFL in action.

                    • With all due respect, Chicken Little, name your “source” for this massive budget that is motivated by a need for “ coming after all of our families.” Because I don’t see it; instead, I see a measured discussion on the best way to resolve the budget issue for all Minnesotans, not just an elite few.

                      As for property taxes falling: that’s what happens in a down market. The key is percentage of revenue coming in, so your argument is spurious, at best.

                    • The DFL is going to change the sales tax, in an effort to bring in more revenue. It was discussed on “At issue” on Sunday morning. They are looking expanding the sales tax to include clothing. That affects all families, just like I said. This is n’t a scare tactic, but a reality. Tom Hauser said it will even effect the draw to the Mall of America, because of it’s draws is that MN doesn’t have a tax on clothing.

                    • The discussion around the sales tax has involved broadening the base and lowering the rate to make it revenue-neutral to slightly revenue-positive. One would also expect that such an effort would be paired with offsets (likely in the income tax rates) to shield lower- and middle-income taxpayers from the regressive nature of the sales tax. Changes like these would make the state’s revenue stream more predictable.

                      Whether that includes clothing or not, I think will be an issue of significant discussion. Certainly, the no sales tax on clothing is a significant draw for MOA. Personally, I tend to think looking at some consumer services may be a better angle than clothing.

                    • I don’t see how a consumption based sales increase stabilizes revenue. In bad economy when income taxes fall, so do sales taxes. because sales fall as well. That’s where adding clothing and servicees comes in, I guess because what are the essentials when it comes to short revenue, food and clothing, and so taxing these might heko the state keep more revenue flowing in, but that still comes from us, and will hurt.any recovery.

                      In other words, the state feels it’s more important that they get their money no matter what the economy is doing. While that helps the state, it hurts every family.

                      What is needed in fundamental government reform, where some departments are sunshing departments, in that when times are good, they have more to work with, but when revenues are down, these areas have less to work with. Our problem is hard budgets that aren’t tied to economic reality. In the private sector, owners and CEO’s make the tough toices and say, sorry, this project is on hold, or that project is cancelled. Government doesn’t do that because it’s ever expanding, and hence always needs to look for new revenue streams. The probloem is the base is getting smaller and government isn’t. At the federal level we’ve reached unsustainability. We aren’t there at the state yet, but we’ll get there faster under DFL control, guaranteed.

                    • Government certainly isn’t “ever-expanding” at the state and local level. The percentage spent on state and local government has been in decline for two decades, and unless we see a massive increase in spending (which I don’t think is likely) we’re not going to get back to level of the 1980s and early 1990s.

                    • The state government increases it’s budget each and every biennium, so, yes it is expanding. A reduction in the size of state government would mean the budget would be smaller than the previous biennium.

                    • Guess what? The population of our state is growing, and there’s inflation. That means government is going to naturally increase in terms of raw dollar expenditures. That’s why it’s far more instructive to look at government spending as a percentage of something, be it income or GDP or something like that.

                    • I wish you’d make up your mind. You said earlier that tying spending to GDP was a bad idea.

                    • There’s a difference between analyzing something by % of GDP and tying it to to % of GDP. Surely you can understand that.

    • And this is also why the reaction makes perfect sense. After years of not being able to get everything they want, the DFL is currently planning on massive increases in our budget. Two years of tax increases and misery are exactly what is coming.

      • I’m sorry, but “folks at the capital” doesn’t cut it, especially given the fact that the governor and members of the incoming DFL majority have been on the radio and in the news saying that special interest groups shouldn’t expect additional funding, and that a balanced budget was a high priority (without the rose-colored glasses the GOP was wearing, which had them originally predicting a deficit less than half of what it turned out to be).

        This sounds like a bitter lashing out after the election… because that’s what it is. If not, then put a name to your “source”, or stop celebrating the idea of fear and failure. If you’d rather see the state fail than see the other side succeed, then you’ve abandoned any concept of actually doing what is right for the people.

        • You need to get current. We had a bigger surplus than we thought we would. In fact, now we have enough to trigger a payback of the shift to the schools. I’d say our gang did a heck of a job.

          • In the days before and the morning of the announcement of the deficit figures, multiple GOP representatives made comments to the media that they anticipated a far smaller deficit of around $600 million, and that this was grounds to argue against adjusting tax rates. That didn’t happen. You may regret that this isn’t reality, as we all do, but their prediction was off.

            • You don’t get and unfortunately, you never will. The GOP forced the Governor to take the responsible steps to stave off government growth. It worked. It’s working where ever it’s tried. Government growth is unsustainable. We ahve a shrinking tax base. Put the gange down, have a cup of coffee, and sniff it. The endless government growth party is over. Turns out the hangover sucks. The only reason we have even a projected deficit at all is because it assumes more spending, over less spending. revenues are down. News flash for you, they will be until a new baby boom arrives. We cannot tax ourselves out of this problem. It’s not possible.

              Multiple DFLers said it’s be a hi9gher deficit. So freaking what? So politicians are bad at guessing deficits. News flash. Please come up with something new. Our team staves off government growth, and every projection from the left was shattered. So a handful of GOP’ers say stay the course. They’re right. If we hold off government growth, and don’t tax the crap out of every productive citizen, we might, jut might get out of this mess.

              In the meantime, Governor spenditall has another idea. Expansive government growth and massive tax increases. We’ve seen where that gets us. Unsustainable government. We don’t want to California. Do you want to spend 8 bucks a day to cross a bridge? I don’t.

  5. Isn’t it amazing that the last budget cycle had a 6 billion dollar projected deficit, and the GOP delivered a surplus from that without raising taxes? Yea, there was the school shift, but even still, we have enough to pay over half of that back, and look at us now. And the hill billy DFLers think they can solve this problem through more government spending. You can’t make this stuff up folks.

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