Thursday, February 18, 2010

A stinging rebuke

Brian McClung, himself, today on the governor’s intended veto of the GAMC bill:

Governor Pawlenty is vetoing this bill because it irresponsibly spends $170 million, further exacerbating the state’s budget problems, and includes virtually no reform. The legislature has chosen to pass a massive spending bill without first crafting a comprehensive, balanced budget solution. They’ve got things backwards. Both DFLers and Republicans who voted for this bill should be held accountable for taking out the state’s checkbook when there’s not only no money, but a deficit.

But let’s compare some apples and oranges. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, the corporate income tax collections in Minnesota are a little north of a billion dollars year:

Fiscal year 2008 actual revenues were $1,020 million or about 6 percent of general fund revenues. Revenues from the corporate franchise tax are deposited in the general fund. The Department of Management and Budget estimated in February 2008 that corporate franchise tax collections will be $1,034 million in fiscal year 2009 and $1,085 million in fiscal year 2010.

The 2009 and 2010 figures are probably a little, um, optimistic. But let’s call it a billion dollars — that’s close enough for government work.

tarted up tpaw And in the State of the State address, Governor Hey, Sailor, c'mere; you want a free one? Pawlenty proposed reducing the corporate income tax by twenty percent. That’s about $200 million a year, more than the cost of the GAMC bill by $30 million.

Did the governor “craft a comprehensive, balanced budget solution” when he proposed lopping off $200 million of revenue a year? Don’t be silly. Just do it, says, the governor; we’ll figure out the details later. When Pawlenty comes up with an idea, it’s a bold initiative, when somebody else does, it’s just irresponsible.

The vote in the House today, especially — 125 to 9, Spot recalls — is a stinging rebuke of the governor. There were some pretty conservative people who voted to extend GAMC, but they apparently decided that trying to provide some health care to the oldest, sickest, and poorest people in the state was not irresponsible; quite the reverse.

When your kids need braces, most of us say, “Let’s get it done; we’ll figure a way to pay for it,” and then we do. This isn’t any different.

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