Monday, May 07, 2007

Your lips say no but our greed says yes 

The Times editorial board chastises the Legislature for not putting their forks down.

Traditionally, major bonding bills are debated and drafted in sessions when legislators are not focused on setting the state budget. In other words, next year.

The governor clearly took that approach when he proposed $71 million in capital improvements this year. But what the heck happened in the DFL-controlled House and Senate?

The House passed a $290 million plan. The Senate OK'd a $320 million bill. Under the spirit of compromise, we would have thought the governor would be asked to sign a bill amounting to somewhere between his request and the Senate's big number. Instead, House-Senate conferees upped the ante to $334 million � even more than the Senate's request.

Sorry, but that's not even close to a reasonable compromise.

And it's noted that the inability to compromise has given Governor Pawlenty the whip hand currently, according to the StarTribune. The domestic partners benefit got kicked to the curb by the Legislature without much of a fight. That's a real kick in the pants to the faculty union which made it a centerpiece of its legislative agenda for this year.

But giving the governor too much credit isn't the way our newspaper works.

Sadly, we make the same point about the governor's continued defiance to proposed tax increases of any kind.

We note again that Pawlenty said during his campaign he would not be beholding to "no new taxes" pledges and the divisive partisanship they invoke. Well, whether it's gasoline or income taxes on only the wealthiest state residents, the governor to date has proven his fall campaign pledges to have been nothing more than political hot air.

But what does that pledge really mean? He didn't pledge to raise taxes, he only pledged that he would not rule out a tax increase under some possible states of the world. The current state of the world, however, is a $2.2 billion surplus and an economy projected to allow almost 10% in new spending over the next biennium without an increase in taxes. At what point did he pledge to accept more than a 10% increase in the budget??

The reason the governor has said no to the gas tax has been because he is willing to use the new MVST money for bonding those expenses. The Legislature wants to bond for their pork but tax for roads. The governor's threatened veto of the income tax increase is, contra the Times, the tax increase will be shifted to the poor in higher prices and depressed wages and lost jobs going over the border to lower-tax states. If the Legislature thinks the tax system isn't progressive enough, why use the money to pay the ransom to Education Minne$ota? Why not take Laura Brod's proposals and cut the tax rate on the lower end of the spectrum?

Because it isn't about fairness.

It's about the pork.

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