Laura Waterman Wittstock

Laura Waterman Wittstock is president and CEO of Wittstock & Associates. The firm provides consultation in new projects, creative, development, assessment/evaluation, and governance. Read more about Laura Waterman Wittstock

Pawlenty Won't Raise Taxes on Principle

Posted by: Laura Waterman Wittstock Updated: March 4, 2009 - 12:53 PM
If consumer spending is 70% of the country's economy and business and government spending make up the rest, why isn't Governor Pawlenty examining the strengths and weaknesses of consumers (taxpayers) in this recessionary period? Buying is down, except for a little bump in January, and unemployment is rising. Minnesota is now nearing the national average of 7.2. It experienced a large increase in unemployment from 2007 (4.7) to 2008 (6.9), according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

When you can't pay your taxes because you are out of a job, the average Minnesotan is taking it on the chin. The middle class taxpayer carries the load of paying revenue in the State. The poor are too poor to pay taxes, and the rich have been given breaks for decades. Pawlenty says the answer is no new taxes and he wants to give more breaks to business so jobs can be created. He means no new taxes on the  rich 

He may not have looked lately, but a lot of business jobs offer no health coverage and the hours are not enough to keep family members at home to take care of the kids. Lack of health coverage takes a toll on family health and it pushes costs over to the hospitals and clinics.

The state is moving toward a population of 5.2 million and the demographics are shifting toward large population percentages of people of color and American Indians. Keeping those populations on the other side of decent wages doesn't seem to be a good formula for success. Combine this with all Minnesotans and we have in the works a recipe for a downturn that puts Minnesota out of the Upper Midwest shining examples.

History shows that recessions have been getting shorter -compare 1873 when it was 23 years-since the Great Depression of 10 years. There have been other causes than the current housing collapse (oil, monetary policy shifts, and unemployment) but the timeline of these recessions seem to say that the fixes worked.

The governor wants his conservative philosophy to dominate the state budgeting process while at the same time he is accepting new revenue from the federal government. The stimulus to Minnesota is taxpayer dollars. New taxpayers dollars.

It is time for Pawlenty to get off his toadstool and examine the one source of new revenue that will collapse the deficit while supporting the services Minnesotans believe in and support. Which end of the taxpayer spectrum has not been examined?  

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