Dayton vetoes "smokin' hot" MNGOP-crafted tax cut bill

Davids described the GOP tax bill as "smokin' hot." He needs to get out more.
Davids described the GOP tax bill as "smokin' hot." He needs to get out more.

An exchange on the House floor Tuesday night succinctly captured the difference of opinion between MNGOP and DFL lawmakers about a tax bill vetoed this morning by Gov. Mark Dayton.

House Taxes Committee Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, described the legislation as a "smokin' hot tax bill." In reply, Minority Leader Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, said, "It's smokin' hot only because it's going to be burning a hole in our state budget."

Dayton, predictably, sided with Thissen. At a news conference this morning, the governor announced he'll be vetoing the bill, which he characterized as "not fiscally responsible."

According to the Star Tribune, the tax bill would've frozen the statewide property tax for businesses and cabins, sped up a sales-tax exemption for businesses purchasing capital equipment, expanded tax credits for investors in new ventures, and sweetened a sales-tax exemption for data centers and computer equipment. Property-tax relief for homeowners who face large increases and income tax credits for businesses that hire veterans were also included.

That's all well and good, but the tax cuts also would've drained $48 million out of the state's budget reserve in the current biennium and $145 million out of it in 2013 and 2014. Dayton said last month that he is not a fan of tapping into the budget reserve at a time when the state is just emerging from a financial abyss induced by the Great Recession.

Since Dayton's opposition to tapping into the general fund is no secret, Republicans tried to win his support for the tax bill in another way. Essentially, MNGOPers hoped they could blackmail the governor by suggesting they wouldn't vote in favor of a new Vikings stadium unless Dayton signed the tax bill into law.

Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said Dayton's support for the tax bill "sets the stage for success on the Vikings stadium vote." In response, Dayton's spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, said that "if [the MNGOP] is looking for a way to bury the stadium, they need to find a more direct way to do it."

Republicans, of course, believe that cutting taxes -- especially for businesses -- magically creates jobs. Said Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, during Tuesday's floor debate:

Gottwalt hasn't been paying attention to Wisconsin's recent jobs numbers.
Gottwalt hasn't been paying attention to Wisconsin's recent jobs numbers.

These are job creators; these are our Main Street businesses who are sick and tired ... of the Democrat mantra of how they are somehow the evil wealthy, that they're somehow taking advantage of Minnesota. They create the jobs that put the food on the table, that create the resources for all the do-gooding you want to do.

We just have one question for Gottwalt and his ilk: How did the cut-taxes-and-the-jobs-will-come mantra work out in Republican-dominated Wisconsin? Oh, that's right, the Land of Cheese has lost more jobs in the last year than any other state.

Said Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook: "You think Wal-Mart's going to hire anybody if we cut their property taxes? They will benefit on the corporate bottom line in Bentonville, Arkansas -- they're not going to hire more people."

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