Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The DFL's Whine and Cheddar Tour 

Because they're going to whine, and they want your cheddar. (Look, I know Minnesota Magical Misery Tour is out there, but why drag the Beatles into this?)

A copy of a letter from Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) to a selected group of constituents has been running around the GOP caucus. One of his paragraphs:

The purpose of this hearing is to get testimony from affected programs in every level of government, education, health care or service impacted by the cuts suggested by the Governor's state budget. ...

We would ask you to focus your comments on the impact of the Governor's budget including what is the harm to your area of government or program. Please be as precise as possible using facts such as number of lay offs, increases in property taxes, cuts in services, increases in tuition, elimination of programs.

As I've mentioned before, faculty here are being recruited by the local union to argue not only to spare MnSCU -- certainly understandable -- but today they include arguments to raise taxes instead to solve the budget wars.

On February 19th and 20th (this Thursday and Friday) legislators will be holding town hall meetings in state university communities to gather citizen input on how to solve the states massive budget shortfall.

.... The competition is fierce as K-12 education, health and human services, local governments and state agencies struggle to retain their slice of a shrinking state budget. In addition, business and taxpayer groups are pushing hard for Governor Pawlenty�s proposed tax cuts for corporations, which would further exacerbate the budget shortfall and cause deeper cuts. It is absolutely essential that we have a large turnout of higher education constituencies to support funding for higher education.

...Messages we want conveyed to legislators:

  • ...The Governor�s proposed cuts, if implemented, will almost certainly cause massive layoffs of faculty, which in turn will cause large scale cancellation of course sections, which in turn will make it difficult for students to complete in four years. This will cause students more money and delay their entry into the workforce.
  • The IFO supports increasing taxes on high income earners to help solve the budget shortfall. A Department of Revenue study showed that Minnesotans that earn over $105,000 per year pay a smaller percentage of their income in state and local taxes than Minnesotans earning less than $105,000. Tax rates on higher income Minnesotans are significantly less than what they were a decade ago.
  • The pain of the current economic crisis should be shared by all Minnesotans, not just students (through higher tuition) and public employees (through pay freezes and layoffs). IFO feels it is better to raise taxes on high income earners than raise tuition on students.

See this on the claim that state taxes on the rich are smaller. If they wanted to make the rich pay more, they might look at my corporate income tax post from yesterday.

But that's not what they're interested in. They just want more OPM.

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