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As others see it: No surprises at DFL forum

It comes as no surprise that four of the candidates vying to become Minnesota's next governor -- DFLers Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza and Margaret Anderson Kelliher, along with the Independence Party's endorsed candidate Tom Horner -- are promising to raise taxes. What is a bit surprising, however, is that the four seem to be jockeying for position on who can -- and will -- raise taxes the most.

In a forum sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Social Workers held Friday, each of the four said that he or she would push for higher taxes. Mr. Horner, a former Republican, even went so far as to say, "Here is my Walter Mondale moment: I will raise taxes," though to his credit, he said he would like to decrease taxes on "job creating activities," such as businesses.

So where is the money going to come from? You guessed it -- the citizens of Minnesota.

Echoing the mantra of Robin Hood, the four are promising to steal from the rich to give to the poor. Or to put it more accurately, they want to raise taxes on upper income individuals and families in order to expand government. Mr. Dayton, who gleefully brags that he is the only DFL candidate willing to raise $5 billion through tax increases, says that couples earning more than $150,000 a year and individuals earning more than $130,000 should pay more.

"I know where the money is. I know who has it. And I will get it if I'm your governor," Dayton said.

While that may seem to some like a perfect solution to state's budget woes, consider that at the same time they were pushing for higher taxes they were talking very little about where they would cut state spending. Indeed, the Democrats voiced strong support for expanding state government, especially when it comes to Minnesota's adopting of a single-payer health care system.

Even Mr. Entenza, who acknowledged that given the current budgetary constraints of the state and the cost of expansion of state-sponsored health care, Minnesota is unlikely to adopt such a system in the next four years. Still, he said, he was in favor of expansion.

So the Democrats, plus Mr. Horner, want to expand state government and raise taxes to do it. No, no surprise there. Disappointing, yes, but surprising, no.

Owantonna People's Press