December 21, 2005

It's Like Christmas Came Early!

Well, maybe you'll only laugh if you're from Minnesota, but I find this just freakin' hysterical.

Dealing a stunning blow to Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature, a Ramsey County judge Tuesday struck down a tobacco fee that promised to raise $401 million over the next two years for the state.

Ramsey County District Judge Michael Fetsch ruled that the fee of 75 cents per pack violated a settlement between the government and tobacco companies that barred the state from seeking additional money from the firms to pay for health care costs related to smoking.

The ruling could jeopardize the comfortable budget surplus that the state has been counting on and pose a major embarrassment to Pawlenty and legislative incumbents just in time for a critical election year.{...}

Now that's funny. The part that's not so funny is this:

"We are very disappointed by the court's ruling and will ask for an immediate appeal directly to the Minnesota Supreme Court," Pawlenty said in a statement. He also is considering "using existing administrative authority" to apply the fee at retail outlets.{...}

{my emphasis}

Did you get that? Pawlenty wants to keep collecting the tax while he appeals it---even though it's not really clear that he can appeal it due to the terms of the settlement---and is considering using administrative authority to apply the tax fee. It's apparently so important to the Governor to keep collecting this tax fee that he's willing to violate the state's consitution to do so.

Can you say "illegal" boys and girls? The better question is can Governor Pawlenty say it?

I agree with Doug and David---it would be much better for Pawlenty in the long run to just drop this stupid tax fee and move on. There is another way to find $400 million dollars to balance the budget: it's called reduced spending. The guv didn't even have to cut spending. He just had to reduce it---you know, spend a little less than normal and he would never have had to start up this tax health impact fee business to begin with.

Pawlenty, in an effort to not piss people off, has pretty much pissed everyone off. There's a life lesson in all of this, if you're willing to look for it.

Posted by Kathy at December 21, 2005 11:14 AM | TrackBack

I've got a better one: "Taxation without representation"

"Using existing administrative authority" to apply a tax/fee/tarrif/toll or what ever the hell euphamism you choose to use - it's the government putting it's hands in our pockets. Last time I checked, the constitution was against this kind of thing. In fact, I believe this is one of the items enumerated in the Declaration of Independence as a cause of and reason for ARMED REBELLION!

Posted by: MRN aka "The Husband" at December 21, 2005 10:12 PM
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