Governor Dayton recently spoke to a group at the Humphrey Institute about the importance of higher education, but he couldn’t resist taking a jab at fiscal conservatives in an off-hand comment which made more news than his original topic of discussion.
“This unwillingness to pay taxes and seeing it as a threat to our freedom and our liberty and our way of life, to me, is going to be the death of this country if it’s not corrected,” Dayton said when discussing the Republican plan to hold the line on job-killing tax increases.
What Dayton didn’t process in these comments, and when he’s made them countless times before, are the economic implications of a tax increase on Minnesotans. Our answer should be simple: not now, not here.
The governor is playing to a common theme he’s used since barely winning election in 2010, one that focuses only on bringing more and more revenue to St. Paul to be redistributed as DFL leaders see fit. As conservatives, we shouldn’t be ashamed to voice opposition to raising taxes. We should wear it as a badge of honor because our free market economy has never been more threatened. Ever.
First things first. On both a federal and state level, we do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. Our government has ample cash flow to fund critical programs in an effective and efficient way, but liberals would like you to believe the only solution is more revenue from the private sector. This is demonstrably false.
Americans are speaking up against out of control spending, exploding deficits, and the insane monetary policy that the Obama administration has brought upon our nation. At rallies across the U.S., thousands give up hours of their days to gather in support of free market and pro-growth candidates and to oppose the radical agenda of the far left. Interest groups in favor of expanding economic freedom and restoring liberties have seen an explosion in their donor bases and membership across key swing states. This election is most definitely a referendum on the incumbent president and his disregard for the economic values that make us unique in the world.
Government spending in Minnesota has increased far greater than the rate of inflation over the last half century.According to Minnesota’s Office of Management and Budget, state biennial (two-year) spending increased from $1.2 billion in 1962-63 to $62.6 billion in 2012-13 (based on the biennial budget passed last year). That’s a 5,000 percent increase in 50 years.
Governor Dayton likes to label Minnesota Republicans “radical” and “extreme” for opposing expansion of government, but our state budget grew an average of 3.4% during the eight years Tim Pawlenty was our governor and even this year, Dayton “reluctantly” caved and agreed to aspending increase of 7.2 percent from the 2010-11 biennium to the 2012-13 biennium. How many of us saw 7.2% increases in take-home pay or for the value of our homes? Quite the opposite has more commonly been the case.
I’d also like to use this opportunity to set the record straight regarding the wealthy and their “fair share” of income taxes. According to CBO data from 2009 that was part of a recent report by the Heritage Foundation, the highest 1% of income earners paid 22% of total federal income taxes and the top 20% of earners footed the bill for 68% of federal income taxes. By no stretch of the imagination have these individuals gotten an easier ride then the middle class or lower class. The bottom 40% of income earners in America, by the way, only covered 4% of all income taxes paid.
In Minnesota, we can do our part by standing up for fiscal conservatives and restore a respect for free market principles and capitalism. The attack on private sector entrepreneurs, wealthy or not, will not spur prosperity and will kill confidence in the already struggling and anemic recovery.