Saturday, March 1, 2008

More on the Transportation Bill

  • I'm glad House minority leader Marty Seifert acted swiftly in punishing the "Rouge Six" in his party that voted to override Gov. Pawlenty's veto of the massive transportation bill. Independence is a good thing (see my support of John McCain). Stupidity is not. What these six did was not independent. Supporting the largest tax increase in state history while we are in the middle of a turbulent economy and massive state deficit is narrow-minded thinking, not independence. If these six truly wanted to be independent, they would've came up with a plan that reformed Minnesota's massive entitlement system and re-directed some of that money to transportation projects. That's called creativity, which leads to independence.
  • To be fair, I never heard an alternative proposal to the transportation bill come from any Republican. Perhaps they thought it could wait. Or maybe they just didn't have the guts to make a genuine effort at reducing spending in this state.
  • I wonder if Seifert threatened this type of punishment before the veto override vote was made? Also, if the governor is able to order all state representatives and senators to St. Paul for a special session, he should be able to send them home early from a regular session. That would be the best move for the state right now.
  • Centristy offers a well-written and researched alternate point of view on the recent transportation bill. Perhaps the GOP proposal would've been even bigger (albeit with some more creative financing measures)?


Texas said...

Actually the Governor cannot send them home early. There are a mandated number of days that the legislature can be in session (130 i think) each biennium. They used 85 in the first half so they only have 45 days this go round. As far as the Minnesota Six are concerned: a) most if not all have come out saying that a majority of their constituents wanted them to vote for this. Isn't that what representative democracy should be about? You are the voice of the people who sent you to your post! I thought that's what it meant, perhaps i am naive. b) I feel like the Republican party leaders in Minnesota are shooting themselves in the foot. Representatives like Tinglestad and Erhardt have years of knowledge and wisdom with which they based these decisions on. And Ron Carey going to endorsing caucases and trying to intimidate delegates seems like the wrong thing to be doing when the party is floundering in MN right now

AC said...

My comment on sending the House home early was mostly tongue-in-cheek, but you wouldn't see me protesting if it actually happened.

As far as a representative democracy, you're partially correct. In my opinion, it's dangerous to base your vote solely on which way the wind is blowing in your district. That's basically governing by majority rule. Who knows what sort of country we would have if majority-rule was our form of government since the beginning.

The Republican's are floundering right now, but not as bad as a year ago. I haven't heard one of my democratic friends say they're in favor of this tax increase. In fact, they feel like it was far too large and fed into the stereotype that dems don't know how to do anything besides tax and spend. Time will tell, but the Democrats can't have it both ways. Telling us the economy is in the toilet (because of Republicans) and then reaching into our pockets for the largest tax increase in state history just doesn't seem to make sense. I think many voters see that. Of course, November is a long ways away, so time will tell.

Simon said...

"The biggest tax increase in history" is a typical BS talking point. Just about every tax increase is the biggest in history, given inflation. Huge deficits need to be dealt with, and frankly we can't afford any more "creative financing" of Republicans.

It is certainly good for Democrats that Seifert is putting the hammer down on the "rogue six." Marginalizing centrist republicans willing to compromise to get things done ensures a party full of radicals, who will live in the minority. See the Kansas republican party for an extreme example of this.

AC said...

Raising taxes every time there's a huge deficit is a very slippery slope, my boy. There's nothing progressive, creative or innovative about it. Our tax system is very archaic and makes no sense whatsoever. Minnesota needs a strong economy to fund our (massive) government. If the economy dips, our government is going to run large deficits. Minnesota's solution to this problem is to reach into our pockets and take more of our money. That's proven not to work over and over again.

High earners pay most taxes in this state, but high earners also have highly fluctating incomes (many are business owners). If they're income dips, so does the state's. To solve this, we should build our tax system around sales taxes, property taxes and some sort of flat tax. That creates a more stable source of income for the state. However, doing this would require actual thought and innovation, and our elected officials are not capable of that. Or maybe citizens are not capable of realizing it. Either way, the methods we choose to fund this state are laughable at best.

Simon said...

Perhaps a radical overhaul of the tax system is needed, but not remotely possible. Given that, you offer no solutions other than typical "cut spending" bloviating. It sure isn't creative or conservative to plug your ears, refuse to invest in infrastructure and demand a regressive tax system that will make homeownership more difficult and being poor even more tragic.

AC said...

So you look at your paycheck every two weeks and say to yourself, "Gee, I wish the government would take more of my money so it can invest in infrastructure." Believe me, if I thought the government wasn't collecting enough to keep our infrastructure updated, I'd be the first one to cry foul. There's plenty of money out there for infrastructure. The government chooses to spend it elsewhere, a lot of it toward unnecessary and damaging social entitlement and handout programs IMO (to both the rich and the poor).

Obviously, our leaders in Minnesota have chosen to make us a state that relies heavily on a very big government. Fine. I don't like that path, but nobody listens to me. What I'm saying is, if you choose the big government path, at least come up with a more reliable way to fund it. Income taxes are not the answer when the highest earners pay most of the taxes. Those high earners see their incomes drop when the economy slows, which leaves us with a deficit and our government wondering what happened.