Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Despite record deficit, Pawlenty firm against tax hike

The Minnesota Independent is freaking out over Governor Pawlenty's intransigence on taxes.

Pawlenty said increasing taxes would be off the table. Minnesota hasn’t increased revenues in a decade. The period from 1997 to 2001 saw massive tax cuts and refunds in the form of “Jesse checks” (named after then-Gov. Jesse Ventura) and with the exception of Pawlenty’s 21 percent increase in fees, his “no new taxes” pledge has held from 2002 to 2008.

Pawlenty presided over $2.7 billion in tax cuts as House Majority leader and has resisted any tax increase in his seven years as governor. Minnesota government took a $4.3 billion cut in 2003 because of those tax cuts and the refusal to increase the amount of money the state takes in. Education, one of Minnesota’s strongest economic drivers, took a big hit.

(Ea). How would Minnesota's deficit be any different had Pawlenty not cut those taxes? The extra money would have gone into schools, infrastructure etc., and how could those programs insulate a state from the hard economic times we're experiencing? The only thing that could have insulated Minnesota is economic growth, which would have increased revenue. And economic growth is stimulated by tax cuts -- like the one Pawlenty passed. Education doesn't drive state revenue.