Thursday, May 12, 2005


The local conswervatives are scrambling to create a budget that fulfills the needs of the state, while generating enough revenue to accomplish that goal. Being bound by the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" (funny, I can't find the text of the pledge. The link on the Taxpayers League site brings up the Caucus Resolution in PDF. David, anyone, can you help me out here) has created some conflict within their own ranks. However, like the linguists that they are, they have found wiggle room.

It is simple, we don't call anything a tax anymore. The latest is the debate regarding the Cigarette tax.
Northfield Rep. Ray Cox, a Republican, has sponsored a bill that would raise $50 million per year in fees, which equals about 17 cents per pack, on cigarette distributors to pay for the state costs of cigarette smoking. His bill calls that a "cigarette cost mitigation fee."
Ahhhh, after however many years of calling it 'the cigarette tax', it is now a 'cigarette cost mitigation fee'. What does the Governor think:
Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said Wednesday that Pawlenty talked to him about the idea of a fee on cigarettes to pay for health care in April.

"The governor talked to me about it. I listened. He called it a health care fee and we listened but did not make any commitments. I did the research (into) what $1 per pack raises. It's $260 million annually ? That tells me he might have some interest in that fee," Johnson said.
So does that mean the gas tax is a 'highway maintenance fee', the sales tax is a 'purchasing fee', and income tax is really a 'state revenue enhancement fee'

Ahhhh, I get it! See, I have no problem with individuals sticking to convictions, and standing for what they believe in. But when intelligent people use linguistic gymnastics, instead of accepting responsibility for their flawed philosophies, they create a credibility gap between themselves and the electorate.

REW, you were looking for some things to ask David Strom, I'd like to hear his take on his pledge signers doing the linguistic lambada. I don't suspect he is all that thrilled about it.


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