Friday, January 25, 2008

More Tax Advice From OurLeader

OurLeader has previously weighed in with the unhelpful suggestion that the State of Minnesota tax clothing. He now suggests that the gas tax be raised. I don't agree with a tax on clothing, but do think that a gas tax increase would be in the best interests of the state. However, OurLeader's arguments for these tax increases count for little, especially when he explicitly links them to increases in funding for the U.

OurLeader is dealing with a professional politician - Governor Pawlenty. This is a mismatch.

When your building priority list starts out with a new football stadium, perhaps you should not be wasting your time giving tax policy advice? Minnesota citizens aren't actually interested in the U becoming the third greatest public research university in the world [sic]. They very well might be interested in improving their university so that it rises at least to the middle of the BigTen. But that of course would require honesty about the present situation.

From the Startribune:

U of M president says gas tax would free up money for higher education

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks acknowledges that the state needs to solve significant transportation problems.

But he also said roads and bridges shouldn't be paid for at the expense of investments in higher education.

Because of that, Bruininks said Wednesday that legislators need to at least consider an increase in either the gas tax or sales tax.

"This is a time when we ought to seriously consider a gas tax increase and perhaps a sales tax increase dedicated to transportation. We need additional resources to take that pressure off of the general fund of Minnesota."

When Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- who has twice vetoed bills that would have paid for bridge and road repairs through a gas tax -- announced his capital investment plan last week, higher education took what Bruininks considered to be too much of a financial hit.

"Higher education is typically 35 percent of the bonding recommendation and the number now is 23 percent," Bruininks said. "That's a very significant gap on almost $1 billion."

On Wednesday night, Bruininks told a crowd of several hundred university supporters simply: "We're going to need your help to keep the university going."

Bruininks said that he thought Pawlenty made a "sincere gesture" to fund several university projects but that too much was cut.

"If the state wants to remain vibrant in a global economy it needs a great, vibrant transportation system, it needs an educational system that works, it needs a research university that can create the discoveries that are going to lead to the creation of new jobs in Minnesota's economy," he said. "I'm just very hopeful that the policymakers will get together, compose their differences and come up with solutions that will really move us forward."

Let's see, an educational system that works and a research university that leads to the creation of new jobs. Somehow I missed the part about becoming the third greatest public research university on the planet...

This kind of rhetoric, followed to its logical conclusion, might actually get us somewhere.

Ciao, Bonzo

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