Saturday, February 9, 2013

WisGOP, Wisconsin losing Minnesota border war

Apparently the Wisconsin GOP doesn't learn too quickly. 2 weeks after Gov. Walker tried to mock Minnesota Governor Dayton's tax proposals, only to find that the data showed that Minnesota has kicked our ass economically for the last 2 years and now has more jobs than we do, they were back at it.

This time it was State Rep. Erik Severson, who represents an area of Wisconsin that borders Minnesota. Severson encouraging them to come across the St. Croix River.
In the private sector, one of the most important rules for running a business is not spending more than you have. It’s a concept with which your governor, Mark Dayton, seems unfamiliar

In response to Minnesota's $1.1 billion budget deficit, Governor Dayton has proposed a new $2.1 billion tax increase on consumer goods and services, as well as a new tax on business-to-business transactions. He does not seem to understand that high taxes drive businesses out—out of business and out of his state. Fortunately your neighbors to the east are ready to welcome your business with open arms and low taxes.
Ah yes, the old Confederate "race to the bottom" theory of job creation. It's why Alabama and Mississippi and South Carolina has just boomed the last 30 years, and lowered their poverty rates and raised their incomes in the process (oh wait, none of that has happened...).

Rep. Severson's letter goes on to repeat the lie that Walker and WisGOP closed a $3.6 billion deficit (it never was that high) and that they have a surplus for the future (they put 2011-2013 on a credit card of borrowing and actually have a deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the next budget).

But Severson does admit that taxes on manufacturing and other corporations are set to be lowered to near zero in the next couple of years in Wisconsin. Of course he leaves out that this will force further cuts in services and tax raises on the real job creators in America- everday workers and consumers, and drive down the quality of life that used to be one of our state's biggest economic advantages.

In addition, the alleged "job-killing tax increase" Severson brings up is discussing is part of Gov. Dayton's larger plan to restructure Minnesota's tax code.
Dayton’s proposals include cutting the sales tax rate from 6.875 percent to 5.5 percent, while broadening the tax to many goods and services that are currently exempt. He also seeks to create a new income tax bracket on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans, while providing a rebate for the first $500 of property taxes paid going forward from 2013.

Some of the governor’s other proposals include the following:

•Reducing the corporate tax rate from 9.8 percent to 8.4 percent, dropping Minnesota’s rate from fourth to 12th highest in the nation
•Raising the cigarette tax 94 cents per pack
•Extending the sales tax to clothing costing more than $100 (previously, Minnesotans paid 0% sales tax on ALL clothes, and still would on all clothes less than $100).
•Increasing local government aid $80 million a year and county program aid $40 million per year
•Increasing funding for special education by $125 million
Hmmm, increased state aid to schools and local commuities, cutting property taxes, and a lowering of the general sales tax? Sounds good to me! It's even got a lowering of the corporate tax to help all of Rep. Severson's beloved "job creators." Not that they needed the help when they were adding nearly 5,000 private sector jobs a month in Minnesota in 2012.

By the way, the ridiculing of Dayton's proposed higher sales taxes on expensive clothes really seemed stupid to say when Wisconsin DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch came out the day after Severson's letter and floated an idea to raise Wisconsin's sales tax up to 13% in order to eliminate the state's income taxes, and idea so stupid it forced Gov. Walker to have to shoot down those rumors the next day after Wisconsinites responded with outrage. If Rep. Severson wants to talk about thieving business from Minnesota, he should think about what would happen to the amount of business stores and car dealerships that would be lost in his district if consumers flocked across the St. Croix to save 8% on their purchases in Minnesota.

Don't think Dayton hasn't noticed the assclownery in Wisconsin's GOP. He responded to Walker's and Severson's needling with the best smack talk there is- the facts. As Dayton laid out in his State-of-the-State address
Minnesota’s job growth in 2012 was the 12th best among all 50 states, We outperformed three of our four neighbors. Iowa ranked 30th best; South Dakota was 44th and Wisconsin, which by the way is open for business, helped bring up the rear at 42nd. And help spread the word across the St. Croix. Their unemployment rate last month was 20 percent higher than ours, while our per capita income was 12 percent higher than theirs.  
Dayton could also have mentioned that 1,300 more Wisconsinites left for Minnesota in 2011 vs. 'Sotans who headed east into Dairyland - the first year that both Dayton and Walker were in office (you can download the data here). That migration number probably understates how many left Wisconsin for greener pastures in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, because the county with the highest percentage increase in population in Wisconsin from 2000-2010 was St. Croix County- the county closest to the Twin Cities. It's a good bet that a solid amount of people going from Minnesota to Wisconsin went to places like Hudson in St. Croix County- and those moves had very little to do with Wisconsin's economic picture and a whole lot more to do with Minnesota's.

Oh, and Dayton also came out in favor of marriage equality in the State of the State address (after state voters rejected a ban this November), while the Wisconsin GOP continues to pursue backwards legislation on abortion, voting rights, and public education. If you were a young person with talent, which state would you want to be associated with? The one with the improving economy and progressive values, or the redneck one that won't improve its quality of life, can't create jobs and seems to want to turn our formerly progressive state into a neo-Confederate cesspool?

I'm tired of having our state being a laughingstock to our neighbors because of its politicians and oligarchs, and it's time that it ends.

1 comment:

  1. Thank You! This needed to be said. I have lived "across the river" in Minnesota and many people that pack the freeway each work day have a Wisconsin license on their cars. You go where the jobs are..fact! Wisconsin is home though, born and raised here and always been proud of it...until now.