Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I feel so stupid 

I had a few people write over the weekend about the lawsuit filed by Big Tobacco against the state of Minnesota. I thought about it for a day and while thinking Andy at Residual Forces comes up with a humdinger of an explanation for why the Pawlenty Administration used the 'fee' language: It increased the take.

It is a fee and not a tax because if it were a tax, the casinos would not have to pay it. It was a goal for this last session was to get the tribal gaming casinos to make contributions to the state. Just like the 3o-some other states get. Had the fee been a tax, the casinos would have been able to sell tabacco at prices much cheaper than the public stores, creating another advantage or monopoly for them.

This was similar to the state sponsored casino proposal, another attempt at getting the tribes to cough up a little dough.

I got to tell you, when I heard this my thought was "how the hell did I miss that?" As best I can tell, so did everyone else (take for example this article when Pawlenty first proposed the fee.) He's right that it would, and now it puts both Pawlenty and Hatch in a sticky place. Assuming the tobacco lawyers are correct here -- and it certainly looks like a good case -- the way out that's offered is to call it a tax. Hatch knows this makes good political hay so he'd want to use the defense, and says so. But here's the catch: If he does too good a job, he might win the governorship but not the money to spend.

Andy carries on from there to chastise fiscal conservatives, and I think he means me too.

If you worry-warts think things are bad under Pawlenty, just wait until Hatch resides on Summit Ave. There will be no debate over calling what he will do. He is going to tax the living begeezers out of us.

...So, stay home if you like. Spend the next few months before November next year, attacking Pawlenty and the Republicans. But in the end, remember that things will be worse under the DFL. Higher taxes. Higher spending. More useless trains. Bye Bye Second Amendment. Bye Bye parental notification. To name a few.
As opposed to now? Apres lui, le deluge? Not a great campaign slogan there, sir. Try this one instead: For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

We are not attacking Pawlenty. We are trying to help him find again the principles he showed us before. There's time for this to happen, but fall is here and the clock is ticking.