During the Political Analysis segment of At Issue With Tom Hauser, former DFL State Senator Don Betzold admitted that some tax hikes were put into the bill late in the session that Gov. Dayton didn’t know were in the bill he signed. He then talked about how hectic the last weekend of the session is.
What he didn’t admit is that past end-of-session weekends have involved a governor of one party and the legislature of the other party. That wasn’t the case this time. The DFL owned it all from opening gavel to closing bell.
Not only that but the DFL leadership announced that they’d reached a Tax Bill agreement a week before end of session:
Thissen, Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook said they agreed on spending targets and will give conference committees a few other guidelines, such as:
- The sales tax would not rise on consumer goods, including clothing, but businesses could pay sales tax on goods sold to other businesses.
- taxes would go up on people in the top 2 percent of Minnesota earners, couples with $250,000 or more taxable income.
- An income tax surcharge would be added for Minnesota’s richest of the rich, with proceeds going to help repay money the state has borrowed from school districts.
- Cigarette taxes would rise.
- Some business tax breaks would disappear.
- All-day kindergarten would be funded.
- The state would spend $400 million in property tax relief, such as by increasing aid sent to local governments.
In short, Gov. Dayton, Speaker Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Bakk knew that the warehouse tax, the telcommunications tax and the farm equipment tax would be in the final tax bill because that’s what they negotiated.
The DFL owns the tax hikes because they passed them without GOP support. The DFL owns them because they were their idea. The DFL owns them because their leadership in St. Paul negotiated them into the final Tax Bill.
This wasn’t a high speed train crash. It was a slow-motion train wreck. Businesses lobbied against these taxes. The DFL ignored their lobbying efforts and passed them anyway. Eventually, they realized they’d made a political mistake. (I’m not certain they understand they made a policy mistake.)
Later, Gov. Dayton promised f.armers at FarmFest that he’d repeal the farm equipment repair sales tax during the special session. In the end, he broke that promise, too.