The Star Tribune Editorial board, in a piece that reads like Lori Sturdevant, holds forth on the DFL budget proposal, such as it is – and illustrates the Strib’s deep institutional hypocrisy along the way.
The editorial is stupid, hypocritical, and awash in institutional self-interest disguised – like all of Sturdevant’s work – as populist dooo-goodism:
No sales tax on clothing or haircuts. No alcohol tax hike. No income tax increase for 98 percent of filers. On Sunday, after four months of launching a flotilla of tax ideas, the Legislature’s DFL majorities and Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a final 2014-15 state budget outline that, on the revenue side of the ledger, is more notable for its omissions than its contents.
Well, no. It’s notable for about two billion of its contents. Nowhere in the Strib’s editorial does the number “$38,000,000,000” occur.
The Strib doesn’t want to give its few readers who actually follow numbers a nasty sticker shock.
There’s plenty to like on the spending side of their balance sheet. The DFL plan pumps an additional $725 million into public education from preschool through graduate school. That’s enough to reverse the deep higher-education cuts of the past two years; ease the squeeze that has some of the state’s public schools operating only four days a week; pay for all-day kindergarten, and offer preschool scholarships to low-income families.
Read: It’s a big kickback to Education Minnesota; they paid good money for that Governor and Legislature, it’s time for them to get their piece of the action.
The plan also includes measures to close a nagging $627 million budget gap, the residue not only of the Great Recession but also of a dozen years of legislative failure to balance the budget in a lasting way.
Further proof that Lori Sturdevant wrote this. Remember 2010?
A Six Billion Dollar Deficit?
The Strib editorial board is rewriting history for the benefit of the smug and the stupid.
But remember – they have their own self-interest at heart:
But the plan’s tax features are a disappointment. They raise revenue in a way that puts Minnesota’s economic competitiveness at risk.
Particularly worrisome is a new marginal tax bracket that will apply to the state’s top 2 percent of incomes. The rate attached to that bracket remains to be set by a House-Senate conference committee, but it is almost certain to be among the nation’s highest, especially after an anticipated temporary surcharge for top earners “blinks on” to get state aid payments to schools back to their normal schedule…While that decision is true to Dayton’s 2010 campaign promises, it comes at an economic price. Making Minnesota an income tax outlier among the states won’t be helpful in attracting and sustaining private-sector investment.
Especially the next round of investors the Strib will need to stave off bankruptcy.
It gets worse:
In addition, like a bad penny, a bad tax policy idea that disappeared two months ago turned up again Sunday. Applying the state sales tax to some currently untaxed business-to-business purchases will be part of the plan, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk announced. He was not specific about which items or services would become taxable, nor about how the revenue thus raised would be used, other than for “significant economic development.”
Oh, well, then. Good enough for me!
The Strib is worried that taxing business to business purchases – which could include advertising, as well as pretty much anything in the supply chain – is going to hit their bottom line. It’s a legitimate worry; businesses of all size, from the Strib all the way down to lil’ ol’ me, are going to see some arbitrary percentage come out of our revenues; we can pass it along and hope that our goods and services continue to get purchased, or we can eat a percentage – 5.5%? 6%? – lopped out of our revenues and try to ride it out.
Regardless of how the money would be used, taxing business inputs is not sound policy. It layers hidden taxes into the cost of goods and services and takes a toll on wages and job creation in the affected industries. Those costs will affect low- and middle-class Minnesotans as surely as a clothing sales tax would. But the spurned clothing tax would have had the virtue of transparency, and could have been offset for low-income earners by a refundable tax credit, as the Senate tax bill provided.
In for a bad penny, in for a poo-streaked pound, Strib. This is the government that you wanted. You did whatever it took to get this government; you served as an adjunct PR firm for the DFL, you covered up their transgressions, you whinged about “ALEC” while laughing over cocktails with “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, you did whatever it took to get them into power, and you do your best to cover up the train wreck that is Mark Dayton.
To be sure, businesses will benefit from some of the property tax relief measures that total a hefty $400 million over two years in the DFL plan. But low- and middle-income homeowners and renters ought to be favored as the tax conference committee allocates that sizable sum.
This is Minnesota’s source of information. Good lord.
Where does the Strib think that “relief” comes from?
It’s money that’s redistributed from the parts of the state whose votes the DFL doesn’t need, to the parts whose votes they need to protect.
Who do you suppose that is, Strib?
Republicans have offered no alternative budget plan this session, evidently preferring to stand aside and criticize DFL decisions.
Further proof it’s Sturdevant.
The DFL offered no alternative budget in 2011. The Strib editorial board had not a word to say about it.
They should know that if they scuttle a bonding bill, they will deserve to be seen by this session’s critics as part of the problem.
And the Strib will do its’ level best to make sure they do.
I can not wait for the Strib to go bankrupt again.