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DFL needs to give up 'tax and spend' ways

Minnesota taxpayers need to let their voices be heard in resolving the state's $4.6 billion budget deficit problem. Gov. Pawlenty proposed "across the board" spending cuts by state agencies including colleges and universities while protecting funding for K-12 education and public safety budgets. He is opposed to tax increases which impose further economic stress on working families already struggling to make ends meet during the current economic downturn... This belt tightening, common-sense approach deserves public support.

Conversely, DFL lawmakers in both the House and Senate proposed massive tax increases to solve Minnesota's budget shortfall problem. This tax increase approach would have been both incomprehensible and irresponsible.

Consider these facts:

- Minnesota already is among the top five highest per capita taxing states in the nation.

- Minnesota's business tax system is ranked worst in the nation by the National Small Business Council.

- Minnesota taxes individuals and business at a substantially higher rate than all surrounding states with similar climate and geographic conditions.

- Minnesota's unemployment rate of 8.4 percent also is substantially higher than all surrounding states.

- Economists agree that increasing taxes slows economic growth and "kills" jobs.

DFL legislative leaders need to abandon their traditional "tax-and-spend" philosophy. It doesn't make sense for the federal government to spend billions of dollars to stimulate the economy and create jobs while Minnesota lawmakers raise taxes and "kill" jobs.

Legislative leaders need to cut non-essential spending and trim back costs in all areas of state government rather than forcing another tax increase on taxpayers.

A.L. Kleinke