The Banana Republic of Minnesota: Render Unto Caesar Edition

Minnesota’s Commissioner of Revenue, Myron Frans, penned a column in [Thursday’s] Minneapolis Star Tribune.  The column’s disingenuousness is matched only by the complete inappropriateness of the exercise.

Commissioner Frans opens his piece as follows,

I’ll take the Minnesota way any day:  Tax policy and investment under Gov. Mark Dayton has produced results.

He goes on to say,

This year, we [Gov. Mark Dayton and I] worked with the DFL majority in the Legislature to pass a fair and balanced budget.

For those readers who do not follow Minnesota politics, Gov. Dayton is a Democrat and DFL is the local branch of the Democrat party, abbreviated for Democrat-Farmer-Labor.

“Fair and balanced” is in the eye of the beholder.  But you would hope that the head of the state’s equivalent of the IRS would be more careful about uttering such partisan political sentiments.  As with the IRS, taxpayers need to know that they will get a fair shake from the tax collector, regardless of any partisan leanings.  When the Commissioner of Revenue is singing the praises of the state’s majority party, that presumption is lost.  Frans adds,

We overcame a projected $6.2 billion budget deficit in 2010.

That is a remarkable feat, considering that Gov. Dayton did not take office until 2011.  In 2010, Mark Dayton was an unemployed Department store heir and Mr. Frans was a tax attorney in private practice.

In his commentary, Frans takes credit for reversing imaginary budget cuts and paying back the school shift, a move his party fought against.  All of this would be unremarkable, if a bit over-the-top, had the column been signed by his boss, the governor.

But as Commissioner of Revenue, you would hope to see a little more modesty from the man whose office has consistently overestimated the amount of revenue actually generated by the Democrats’ new taxes.  At least a less triumphant tone would be in order.

But triumphalism has been a hallmark of the Dayton administration.  This governor has consistently governed on behalf of the 43.6 percent of the population who elected him.  Cabinet officers, one would hope, should make a least a pretense of representing the whole of the state.

I’m not sure what Frans means by “the Minnesota way,” but it shouldn’t include partisan tax collectors.

Cross-posted at Bill Glahn – comments welcome.