The New York Times opts to toss facts under the bus in yesterday’s editorial about the Minnesota Shutdown:
How far will Republican lawmakers go to protect millionaires? Those who think a default on the federal government’s credit seems implausible should take a sobering look at the “closed” signs dotting Minnesota. The Republican Party there readily shut down the state’s government on Friday by refusing to raise taxes on the 7,700 Minnesotans who make more than $1 million a year.
The GOP refused to raise taxes. Period. Dayton chose to make it about “millionaires”, and before that “the rich”. Had Dayton chosen to raise, say, the gas tax (like the DFL majority in 2009 did), a terribly regressive tax that squats all over working-class prosperity, the GOP would have opposed that, as well.
For the Times to turn the GOP’s opposition to a tax into “protecting millionaires” is a craven bit of rhetorical dishonesty.
Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, campaigned for office last year promising to raise taxes on high earners, so it was no surprise when he proposed a tax increase on families making more than $150,000 a year to help close a $5 billion budget gap. In negotiations with the Republican majority in the Legislature, he compromised and reduced the increase to those making $1 million or more, but Republicans are refusing to consider any income tax increase.
Note the rhetoric: Dayton keeping a campaign promise? Good. The GOP? Can’t be good, can it?
Like Republicans in Washington, they have the delusion that they can balance the budget entirely from cuts.
The Times’ “editorial” was apparently written by the MNDFL’s chair, Ken Martin. The GOP budget is the biggest spending increase in Minnesota history.
The governor proposed more than $2 billion in cuts but refused to slash billions more from education, health care and public safety programs.
All of which the GOP compromised on, meeting Dayton much more than halfway.
The Legislature also wanted new abortion restrictions and a voter ID law that Mr. Dayton had already vetoed. When he said no, lawmakers allowed the fiscal year to end without a budget, and state government officially shut on July 1.
The Times apparently believes the GOP should “negotiate” like a Saturn dealer; start with their “final offer” and work backward from there.
Also unmentioned by “the Times” editorial writer: Dayton walked out of the negotiations every time. The GOP Legislature was waiting in the Capitol, ready to negotiate and/or pass a “lights on” bill, to keep govermment running
More than 40 state agencies have closed, including the state parks over the July Fourth holiday. Courts and public safety agencies are operating, but essential services for the poor, like food pantries and child care subsidies, have evaporated. Many parents say they may have to quit their jobs if state-subsidized child care does not resume quickly. The shutdown will cost the state money, since many of the 22,000 laid-off workers will receive unemployment benefits and health insurance, while the treasury is unable to collect on tax audits, lottery tickets and park fees.
Unmentioned by the Times (or any of the Twin Cities media); the evidence is overwhelming that Governor Dayton rigged the shutdown to cause as much pain as possible, specifically to drive those dependent on state employment or services to try to push moderate Republicans into wobbling.
As painful as the closure may become, the governor is right not to yield to the extremist ideology the Republicans are pursuing in St. Paul, Washington and across the country.
The GOP ran very openly on a platform of holding the line on taxes and spending. Perhaps you remember the Tea Party – it was in all the papers, including the Times.
Extremist? Governor Dayton won with 43% of the vote; the GOP majorities had, by definition, over 50% of the state’s voters pick them (since the third-party challenges were virtually nonexistant in legislative races in 2010). Can a policy chosen by over half the voters be “extemist?”