Pawlenty vetoes tax hike

posted at 11:28 am on May 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

As he promised when the Minnesota legislature started ginning up new tax increases to cover a budget shortfall, Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed the proposal early this morning before heading out for the state’s fishing season opener.  The legislature slapped the bill together in a day, trying to rush a solution through while political momentum for it exists.  The question for the legislature is whether they cast their line again, or cut bait (via Mitch Berg):

Gov. Tim Pawlenty threw a $1 billion package of tax increases back at the Legislature, issuing a prompt veto Saturday of the rapidly constructed bill.

Pawlenty spokesman Alex Carey said the GOP governor vetoed the bill around 3 a.m., just before setting out to mark the opening of Minnesota’s fishing season on White Bear Lake.

The tax plan passed the Legislature on Friday, after pulling the bill together from scratch the night before. Democratic House and Senate majorities sold it as a way to stave off deep cuts to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. The new tax money would flow to the special accounts for the three areas. …

“Governor Pawlenty feels the bill is like a bucket of leeches on the tax payers of Minnesota,” Carey said. “There was no way he was going to sign it.”

The veto was not exactly a state secret.  Pawlenty had warned repeatedly that he would not acquiesce to the DFL’s impulse to raise taxes in a recession, especially given the relatively high taxation rate in Minnesota already (12th highest in nation).  The Legislature easily passed the bill, but not by a wide enough margin to override Pawlenty’s veto.

What did the DFL want to hike?  They tried the class-warfare method (individuals making $250K and above), the populist/pitchfork method (credit card companies), and interestingly, the regressive/nanny-state method (alcohol sales).  Legislators took the unusual step of earmarking the revenues for specific programs rather than the general fund, which would have made closing the $4.6 billion biennial gap more complicated.

The state will have to make some hard choices to fix its budget problem, and that means that the political class may have to scale back or eliminate non-essential government programs while the tough times last.  If they choose to hike taxes instead, all they will do is guarantee that the hard times will continue for much longer as capital flees and businesses close.  Pawlenty understands that, and also understands that when people are forced to cut back and save, they expect their government to do the same.


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Good for him.

ddrintn on May 9, 2009 at 11:31 AM

Good going, Mr P!! Too bad Minnesota looks like they are going to get that loser Frankenbot for a Senator!

catlady on May 9, 2009 at 11:33 AM

A promise kept by a politician is a rare thing.

myrenovations on May 9, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Pawlenty 2012!

Or did he say something nice about gay people and we`ve condemned him to hell?

ThePrez on May 9, 2009 at 11:35 AM

It’s always nice to see a politician with Cojones

rubber, meet the road……..

Janos Hunyadi on May 9, 2009 at 11:35 AM

A man of honor among a den of thieves is a very rare thing indeed.

izoneguy on May 9, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Pawlenty 2012!

ThePrez on May 9, 2009 at 11:35 AM

I wouldn’t go that far.

ddrintn on May 9, 2009 at 11:41 AM

a bucket of leeches on the tax payers

Tim Pawlenty has a gift with words. I like it. Especially when he keeps his word and vetoes tax increases. Good for him.

Loxodonta on May 9, 2009 at 11:42 AM

The state will have to make some hard choices to fix its budget problem, and that means that the political class may have to scale back or eliminate non-essential government programs while the tough times last.

Looking to cut non-essential government programs? Start with the Legislaturist salaries and perks. Then set Legislative Sessions to no more than 90 days per year. Finally, make them pay for programs out of their own pocket.

SeniorD on May 9, 2009 at 11:45 AM

If they choose to hike taxes instead, all they will do is guarantee that the hard times will continue for much longer as capital flees and businesses close. blockquote>

To Democrats, that is a foreign language they don’t understand, and would never sit down long enough, to try and understand.

capejasmine on May 9, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Time for a new strategy: Scapegoating the pols. Worked before and if it’s long enough and loud enough it will work again. Not only are they perfect targets they are something we can actually change! How rare is that?

jeanie on May 9, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Good for him. A budget thrown together and passed in one day? What kind of idiots are these?

Why is it that essential programs are always the ones that are cut and non-essential programs are the ones that remain in the budget?

There ought to be a law……

SouthernRoots on May 9, 2009 at 11:52 AM

The state will have to make some hard choices to fix its budget problem, and that means that the political class may have to scale back or eliminate non-essential government programs while the tough times last.

Hey, I have an idea. Maybe they could cut useless govt. giveaways. Here’s hopin’.

Mojave Mark on May 9, 2009 at 11:55 AM

I wouldn’t go that far.

ddrintn on May 9, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Agreed. This is a guy who grew the state budget by 50% in six years. He might be okay on taxes–property taxes have gone up big time under him–but he’s a disaster on spending. Remind you of anyone?

IR-MN on May 9, 2009 at 11:55 AM

I hope he didn’t take Federal dollars like California or he might experience the same thing we are when they attempt to do cuts in the budget.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-health-cuts8-2009may08,0,4592200.story

The Obama administration threatens to rescind billions in stimulus money if Gov. Schwarzenegger and lawmakers do not restore wage cuts to unionized home healthcare workers.

and this was just a tiny $74 Million cut they attempted.

JeffinSac on May 9, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Good for him. A budget thrown together and passed in one day? What kind of idiots are these?
SouthernRoots on May 9, 2009 at 11:52 AM

The same kind of idiots we have in Congress that threw together an 1100+ page stimulus package and never read it?

Please pass the Raid, the cockroaches are everywhere!

Knucklehead on May 9, 2009 at 11:56 AM

That pic makes him look like he is lead singer of STYX.

portlandon on May 9, 2009 at 11:57 AM

The same kind of idiots we have in Congress that threw together an 1100+ page stimulus package and never read it?

Please pass the Raid, the cockroaches are everywhere!

Knucklehead on May 9, 2009 at 11:56 AM

LMAO!!! 100% dead on!!!

capejasmine on May 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Good for him . . . the blame for this rape of the treasury and our bank accounts must be placed squarely on the shoulders of the left and its political agents where it belongs.

rplat on May 9, 2009 at 12:07 PM

One thing not mentioned: Much of this tax increase was to be a 30% tax on credit card interest above 15%. So they were going to tax the revenue of credit card companies, not their profits.

Now, it doesn’t take much of a rocket surgeon to figure out that the first thing credit card companies would do is raise credit card interest rates across the board on MN residents.

strictnein on May 9, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Thank you Gov. Pawlenty!!!

deidre on May 9, 2009 at 12:12 PM

A politician who doesn’t lie. Incredible. Being a lying coward is so much easier.

volsense on May 9, 2009 at 12:15 PM

JeffinSac on May 9, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Wait until May 19th here in California when the defacation hits the rotating oscillator.

It looks like all of Scwarzendumbass’ balltot initiatives are going to get rolled.

All except the “No pay raise” one for those idiots in Sac- town.

BallisticBob on May 9, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Thank goodness there is a politician somewhere that uses his brain for the good of the people.

ladyingray on May 9, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Good. Pawlenty should look at defunding libtard sacred cows. Whatever they are in Minnesota. If there’s a noxious libtard agency or organization, and it gets state funds, Pawlenty should ax it.

Iblis on May 9, 2009 at 12:39 PM

“Governor Pawlenty feels the bill is like a bucket of leeches on the tax payers of Minnesota,”

Hey! Leeches can be useful in treating certain medical conditions, for example, blood congestion in extremities.

Let’s look for another blood sucking analogy to capture the destructive effects of taxes.

How about “free range leeches”?

Laurence on May 9, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Good to see a republican governor actually NOT raising taxes or growing government.

JIMV on May 9, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Well played…

Starve the Beast!

Romeo13 on May 9, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Hey Pawlenty, didn’t you get the message? “A great civilization cannot be conquered from without until it destroys itself from within.” Obama has dedicated his administration to bankrupting this country to it’s knees in order to equalize it with all other countries in order to build a New World Order in his likeness. You are not cooperating.

volsense on May 9, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Hmmm Ed, you might want to take a look at the fine print in that budget!!

I just read it, and there’s a couple million in there to fix that hole in your front yard.

You might want to rethink your position on this veto!

Knucklehead on May 9, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Pawlenty should look at defunding libtard sacred cows.

Iblis on May 9, 2009 at 12:39 PM

How do you know he doesn’t actually support those libtard sacred cows?

edshepp on May 9, 2009 at 1:05 PM

“…scale back or eliminate non-essential government programs.”

Unfortunately, those are “paybacks” and the politicians don’t want to offend their base.

GarandFan on May 9, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I wrote here about the DFL’s bassackwards thinking. South Dakota is trumpeting the fact that they have “the Best State Tax System” & that “Two of the worst [tax systems] include: 45) Iowa, and 49) Minnesota.” Meanwhile, VitalMedix Inc. told the Strib that “there’s a 60% chance of them leaving Minnesota for Wisconsin” because even liberal Wisconsin has a better tax climate than Minnesota.

You can’t more bassackwards than that.

LFRGary on May 9, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Went to the link on tax rates per state that Ed mentioned. Here are the highest tax states:
1 – NJ
2 – NY
3 – CT
4 – MD
5 – HI
6 – CA
7 – OH
8 – VT tied with DC btw
9 – WI
10 – RI
Hmmm… What do all these states have in common? (Especially considering that CA’s Arnold is similar to PA’s Arnold.

Christian Conservative on May 9, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Good for Pawlenty.

It’s a sad day when Republicans get cheered for not raising taxes in a recession. Raising taxes in a recession is bad policy. But he had the guts to go against the “popular consensus”, so kudos!

hawksruleva on May 9, 2009 at 1:25 PM

BTW, which state is #50 on the list? Alaska!

Christian Conservative on May 9, 2009 at 2:17 PM

I can see a Pawlenty/Sanford or Sanford/Pawlenty ticket on the horizon. Mitt better start upping his exposure and espousing some conservative principles before he is soon forgotten as a potential front runner in 2012. With the hate filled media on a non-stop 24/7/365 rampage to destroy Palin, I think she will be too risky to give the nomination to. It will come down to electability. I’d like to think i’m wrong about her possibilities, but I doubt it.

roninacreage on May 9, 2009 at 2:18 PM

I live Minnesota and here’s my email to Tim:

As a conservative Minnesotan who was laid off from a well paying Information Technology position from International Decisions Systems (IDS) 10 months ago and who hasn’t been able to find near-comparable work, I want to thank you for your fiscally conservative decision to veto the $1 BILLION tax increase. Again, thank you.

I need a job that will pay me a living wage. And so do many, many others in this state. And with the possibility of Al “The Liar Who Knows Liars like the Liar that He Is and His Own Lying Party” Franken being “illegally placed” (in my opinion) into Congress, my anxiety goes up even more.

My unemployment insurance is about to run out in 2 months and there are still no jobs for me. Could you please tell me what I am suppose to then? I have rent, bills, and food to pay.

I know you can’t call everyone, but here’s my phone number in case you want to know how other Minnesotans (other than politicians, of course) have to live.

Exempt

Thanks again for at least keeping this “Obamation” away from us…

Fuzzlenutter on May 9, 2009 at 2:43 PM

States are simply going to have to come to grips with the notion that programs, many of them “successful”, are going to need to be cut or eliminated.

The answer is not tax increases or bond issues or federal bailouts. The answer is that government is going to have to become comfortable with the notion that it is going to have to shrink along with the rest of the economy. That means programs eliminated and people administering those programs let go, just like happens in private industry.

Government is just too big and is not sustainable in its current size.

crosspatch on May 9, 2009 at 3:11 PM

I live in Northern Va. and Fairfax County has crippled us with high property taxes. When the housing market fell they lowered the house price but increased the land value so it was at minimum the same and in some cases higher. They have been spending the surplus like a drunk sailor in Singapore. Now we are SHORT on funds and have to hit property owners again. We NEED these tea parties. Take back our government for our childrens sake.

faol on May 9, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Our Governor vetoes every spending and tax increases only to be have his vetoes overridden by democratic controlled legislature.

Wade on May 9, 2009 at 6:15 PM

“only to be have his vetoes overridden by democratic controlled legislature.”

And that is, if the people continue electing a Democratic legislature, exactly what the people apparently want in that state.

crosspatch on May 9, 2009 at 8:53 PM

he’s just waiting for another cigarette tax hike. he will not veto that. always the smokers fault.

lostyourpassword on May 10, 2009 at 1:21 PM