SC Times tax policy debate?

The important part of this SC Times editorial is that it reminds people of a tax policy debate at the St. Cloud City Council chambers this Wednesday evening:

Please be part of the Times Editorial Board’s 2014 Sales Tax Round-Table Talk set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Cloud City Hall’s council chambers. If you cannot attend, please watch it online at

Here’s the information of who’s participating as panelists:

  • Myron Frans, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
  • Mark Haveman, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence.
  • Beth Kadoun, director of tax and fiscal policy for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
  • Sean Kershaw, president of the Citizens League.
  • Jeff Van Wychen, director of tax policy and analysis for Minnesota 2020.

Then it included this foolish statement:

As noted since September, the intent is to have a policy discussion, not a political debate. (That’s a main reason there are no elected officials on the panel.)

Of course this is a political debate. Myron Frans travelled throughout Minnesota when he was appointed to be Gov. Dayton’s Department of Revenue with the stated purpose of listening to people’s ideas on tax reform. Upon returning from said travels, the Dayton budget proposal of 2011 was all about raising taxes. It didn’t do a thing about reforming Minnesota’s antiquated tax system.

In 2013, things got worse. Frans didn’t travel the state pretending to listen to the uppity peasants about tax reform. Instead, Gov. Dayton just proposed a ton of tax increases. Then they hailed the biggest tax rate increases in Minnesota history as tax reform.

Technically, Commissioner Frans isn’t an elected official. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a politician. He’s the commissioner because he agrees with Gov. Dayton’s philosophy of raising taxes.

As for Jeff van Wychen, he’s from Minnesota 2020. There isn’t a nonpartisan bone in his body. Again, van Wychen is a raise-taxes-first-last-and-always type. Simply put, he’s a political hack. He isn’t a serious tax policy analyst.

Notably missing from the list of panelists is Prof. John Spry. Prof. Spry has served on multiple tax policy study commissions appointed by both Gov. Dayton and Gov. Pawlenty. Simply put, he’s the gold standard on tax policy analysis in Minnesota. If you want to have a serious discussion on tax policy, Prof. Spry should participate in that discussion.

Finally, the stated goal of making this a policy discussion is worthwhile. That being said, it’s foolish to think that this discussion isn’t slanted towards increasing taxes. There’s no doubt that the Chamber of Commerce will advocate for repealing the B2B sales taxes. After that, the rest of the panel believes passionately in raising tax.

Please understand that I’m thankful that this discussion is happening. I’m thankful because it’ll expose the DFL’s tax increase agenda. I’m thankful because the DFL’s special interest support organizations will be on the record about their desire to raise Minnesotans’ taxes.