Don’t like the outcome?
Change the rules, or maybe change the reality
Today, my friends, I want to compare the dissembling, and bullshit carrying capacity, of two Republican politicians: Senate Minority Leader David Hann and flash-in-the-pan former state senator Ted Lillie; Lillie is now the head of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota (not possessive, according to the League, which shows it has deficiencies in grammar as well as public policy), the group, that under the leadership of David Strom, held Tim Pawlenty’s gonads in trust for eight years.
Most of you are aware than a tax bill passed both houses of the Legislature this week (and signed by Governor Dayton) that calls for a half-billion in tax cuts, some retroactive to 2013.
Sen. David Hann, and exactly one other Republican Senator, think this is a massive tax increase. All of the other Republican senators voted for the bill. Gee, Dave, what were you thinking?, say some of Hann’s Republican colleagues, calling for his resignation as caucus leader.
This creates a bit of a dilemma for the other star of today’s story, Ted Lillie, the top illusionist at the aforesaid Taxpayers (no apostrophe) League. If Ted gives the Republican senators who voted for the bill credit for reducing taxes, well then, he has to give the DFL senators who voted for the bill credit, too. This will never do, because the object of the exercise in coming up with the League’s legislative scorecard is to make Republicans look good and the DFLers bad.
Ted’s answer is classic: the vote doesn’t count.
[B]eleaguered Minnesota taxpayers deserved a break. They did not deserve the games they got from the DFL-led legislature. And so we told legislators who asked us, that we were preparing to score amendments to the bill (those that made the bill worse and those that made it better) and not final passage of the bill itself. In this case, we believe that the amendments tell the real story of this bill.
In other words, Republicans, all your posturing amendment bullshit on the floor of the Senate will pay off for you.
But my favorite paragraph in the entire bilious mess from League is this:
Officials often like to tout bulking up reserves, as responsible fiscal management such as would be done with a family budget or a private business with a “rainy day fund.” The fact is that public finance is a wholly different activity. When government overtaxes and keeps this money in reserve, it is generally not used for “emergencies.” It is spent down over time by avoiding needed reforms that would reduce spending. From a macro-economic standpoint, the state is buying financial stability for itself at the expense of job creation and growth in the private sector.
How many thousands of times have you heard, my friends, Republicans compare state budgeting to a family’s budgeting? It’s a mantra. At least until it’s not. Now, prudent financial reserves and protecting the state’s bond rating are just macroeconomic foolishness.
It’s Lillie, by a nose.
Correction: There were three Republican senators who were not present for the final vote.
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