Sunday, November 02, 2008

John Benson fact check

John Benson 'bipartisan' lit piece (photo: North Star Liberty)More batches of campaign literature continue to arrive in mailboxes (and go right into the recycling, as my wife says), including this piece from the reelection campaign of House District 43B incumbent Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka). It seeks to reassure voters that Benson is a "bipartisan" leader by leaving out some key facts from several of its claims. DFL legislators statewide are making this claim. Here's the rest of the story:

  • CLAIM: "The state budget was balanced without raising taxes."

  • FACT: As reported by Jeff Davis on True North, "The budget fix was nothing more than a band-aid and taxes were raised — significantly. Lest we forget, the override of the governor's transportation bill veto cost us a $6.6 billion tax increase on sales, fuel and vehicle registrations...The final budget deal also included a $125 million tax increase on corporations with foreign operations. This was sold to the public as "closing a corporate loophole," as if corporations were doing something underhanded. In reality, this provision was enacted by the state legislature years ago to avoid driving corporations with foreign operations out of Minnesota.

    Senate Minority Leader David Senjem (R - Rochester) cautioned that the fix relied too heavily on tapping the state's “rainy day” reserve fund and not enough on actual spending cuts. Nearly $500 million needed to balance the budget came from the state’s rainy day fund, tapping about 80% of the fund’s reserves. Senjem predicts the result will be a much worse budget problem in 2009."

Another DFL claim that Benson and others have made is the 2008 session's one-year $51 per pupil increase to school districts. This political gimmick is found money that will be characterized as a "cut to school funding" if it is not reappropriated every year.

There are going to be a lot of last-minute claims made in the last 72 hours of this campaign. Fortnately, the Internet makes it easier than ever to check these claims. Please make an informed vote on Tuesday.

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