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Rick Brock, truck driver for the Minnesota Majority Soup Truck, shows the bowls of Instant Lunch visitors can claim as the truck stops around the state. The Soup Truck dramatizes the damage the Minnesota Majority thinks Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposals will cause - diminished quality of life for Minnesotans. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

'Soup Truck' protests Dayton tax proposals

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The Minnesota Majority has adopted a novel approach to oppose Gov. Mark Dayton's budget plans.

The gimmick is a "Soup Truck" driven by Rick Brock around various Minnesota cities offering free chicken-flavored Instant Lunch soup, along with pocket copies of the U.S. Constitution and opportunities to donate to local food shelves.

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Also available is a brochure describing the dire consequences and tongue-in-cheek survival tips if the governor's budget passes. Ideas from the "Economic Survival Guide for Minnesota Families" include:

- Eating cold canned food, which is already parboiled in the process, and ramen noodles soaked soft without boiling to save energy.

- Skipping lunch (for those who still have jobs) - "eating three meals a day is overrated."

- Skipping lunch and dinner (for those who are unemployed) - "and if you aren't working, you don't need the calories."

- Recycling toothpaste.

- "If all else fails, try hitchhiking to South Dakota where taxes are low and jobs are plentiful."

The truck is decorated with an image of Dayton holding a bowl of soup and a photo of a 1930s soup line. The truck was parked in the lot north of Target from 9-10 a.m. Wednesday. It was also scheduled to visit Thief River Falls, Crookston and Grand Forks Wednesday. Brock said he toured southern Minnesota last week with the Soup Truck.

"It's a little over the top," Brock said. But the movement is serious in the Soup Truck website message that "Dayton's proposal would give Minnesota the dubious distinction of having the highest tax rate in the nation. ... It's as if Mark Dayton is saying to Minnesota, 'Let them eat soup.'"

"We're trying to get the word out about the governor trying to raise taxes," Brock said. "The reality is we don't have a taxing problem; we have a spending problem."

Dayton's proposal is to raise taxes on the wealthiest top 5 percent of Minnesotans. Minnesota Majority maintains that such a measure would drive wealthy people out of state, along with their businesses and the jobs they provide.

"If we keep penalizing people for their success, they'll leave," Brock said.

He said many businesses have already relocated out of state or out of country, and tax increases would exacerbate the exodus. As a result, according to the Minnesota Majority brochure, lower and middle class families will be hurt the worst because of job losses and higher costs of living due to higher taxes.

The Soup Truck website is at www.SoupTruck.net; Minnesota Majority is at www.minnesotamajority.org.

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