By Mike Kaszuba

Given his nickname – “Dr. No” – and his title as president of the conservative Taxpayers League of Minnesota, it’s been a surprise to see Phil Krinkie touting the benefits of federal stimulus money.

But there he’s been, both on TV and in the newspaper, running advertisements for his heating and air conditioning company and highlighting the federal tax credits that are available if you buy a new energy-efficient furnace from him.

Krinkie, the co-owner of the Snelling Co., a firm with roughly 18 employees that he owns with his brother, said the ads have been airing on TV and running in the newspaper since shortly after the federal stimulus package passed Congress earlier this year. An ad including a photo of Krinkie, the former Republican chair of the Minnesota House Taxes Committee, has been featured on CNN among other media outlets.  

Krinkie acknowledged that the federal tax credits for heating and air conditioning purchases were made available as part of the federal stimulus program – the $787 billion initiative by President Obama, a Democrat, to kick-start the economy that has generally been criticized by conservatives.

The Taxpayers League, according to its website, describes itself as an organization that “fights for lower taxes, limited government and full empowerment of taxpaying citizens in accordance with Constitutional principles.”  

So is there a something out of sync here?  

“I’m in business,” Krinkie explained. “At what point do you say, ‘Well, I’m going to be such an idealist, I’m going to be such a free-market type person, that I’m not going to participate?’  

“This is [under the] federal stimulus program, that if you purchase a high-efficiency furnace, a high-efficiency air conditioner, there’s up to 30 percent of the cost of the product and the installation [that] will qualify for that federal tax credit,” he said.  

“If I put on my Taxpayers League hat, [then] why wouldn’t I want people to take advantage of a tax credit? Because that’s money that the federal government doesn’t have,” he said, because it has gone back to the people.

“We’re a small operation,” he added, with a chuckle. “So. . .anything you can do to promote the Snelling Co., we appreciate it.”  

How many sales does he think he’s made because of the federal tax credit? “I really don’t know that number,” he said. “I’ve never sat down and calculated [it].”  

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