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Gregg Kulberg, Published July 08 2011

Increasing taxes does not solve a spending problem

The shutdown could have been avoided. How many believe the legislators cut too much with their “all-cuts” proposal?

November’s election was an outcry from the voters to bring back financial responsibility. The downturn in our economy exposed the belly of the beast, and it is bloated. Spending, in our state alone, increased by 184 percent over the past 20 years. That is 278 percent times the rate of inflation for the same time period. During the good years, spending was simply increased with the assumption good times would last forever – and as many households have figured out, they never do. So how does increasing taxes on anybody solve a spending problem?

Gov. Mark Dayton claims an “all-cuts” budget proposed by the Legislature is unacceptable. His private education must have taught math differently because a 6 percent increase in spending doesn’t equate to a budget cut. Some have argued, because of last year’s stimulus money, we had spent a lot more, and this should be factored in. I don’t know if that is their reasoning, but it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to increase our budget on an ill-fated program to spend our way out of a spending problem.

This tactic might backfire on the governor. He was not elected with the majority of the votes (received only 43.63 percent), thus he does not have a mandate to increase state spending or taxes. The majority of the legislators, however, did receive the majority of the votes in their district and should not be written off. The legislators have a duty to stick to their guns and need to hold their ground, no matter how painful Dayton’s shutdown is. This might actually expose more waste, such as taxpayer-funded yoga classes.

A temporary funding bill at current spending levels would have avoided a shutdown and allowed for continued negotiations. The governor refused this “lights on” offer, and his intent was to shut down the government for political purposes.

As you’re deciphering the blame during the shutdown, ask yourself: Can more taxes solve a spending problem, and is an “all-cuts” budget defined as more spending?

Kulberg is Renville County Republican chairman.