So it's telling when the OPP breaks out not just the tongue in cheek wit, but a true scathing editorial that condemns the DFL led legislature for their entire approach to the budget and taxes.
When the DFL-controlled state House of Representatives went looking for a way to balance the budget and fill the projected $627 million deficit, the Democrats did so in a predictable way — by proposing to raise taxes. The plan, passed in the House Wednesday by a 69-to-64 margin, will raise $2.6 billion dollars by tapping high earners, smokers and drinkers.
Even though the OPP wrote in favor of sin taxes compared to the incredibly unpopular extension of the sales tax to services that the governor proposed, the next paragraph makes it clear that sin taxes were simply less bad in their opinion.
Raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol are not surprising. Despite being an incredibly regressive tax, such so-called “sin taxes” are popular among Democrats seemingly because it doesn’t take more money out of the pockets of people, but it also extends the long reach of government into individuals’ personal lives by trying to change their behaviors.
The OPP goes on to remind us of the actual origin of a popular phrase, 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.
We are also reminded of that time in England, back in the days before the Protestant Reformation, when English citizens were expected to pay taxes both to St. Paul’s church in London and to St. Peter’s church in Rome. But the taxes were hefty and so some Englishmen would neglect the Peter tax in order to have money to pay the Paul tax. It soon became known as “robbing Peter to pay Paul” — an adage meant to express the idea of using the resources that legitimately belong to or needed by one party to satisfy the legitimate need of another party. The problem, of course, is that there is no net gain in doing it and, in fact, often makes the situation worse.
Such is the situation that the state of Minnesota finds itself now in as lawmakers and the governor are looking for any way they can to balance the budget and still meet the basic needs of Minnesotans.
But then comes the best line of the piece, and the sad truth about the DFL proposal to raise taxes over 3.5 billion dollars to 'solve' a rapidly disappearing deficit, now pegged at less than $650 million.
Yes, Minnesota faces a budget crisis. But let’s try to cut spending before trying to raise taxes. Otherwise, we’re just robbing the people to pay St. Paul.
Robbing the people is exactly what the DFL legislature is intending to do-not for pressing state financial needs, not to rectify a huge budget deficit, but for a laundry list of ideological spending wants.