GOP tax plan undemocratic

Proposal for a 60 percent majority to raise taxes should not be passed.

by Daily Editorial Board

In order to circumvent Gov. Mark DaytonâÄôs veto power, legislative Republicans have started pitching their more controversial ideas as amendments to the state constitution, which will be put on the ballot in the 2012 election. The latest of these proposed constitutional amendments is one that would require the Legislature to have a 60 percent majority to pass any tax increase.
The first problem with this measure is its substance. Making it harder for the state to raise taxes is irresponsible and will make closing MinnesotaâÄôs $5 billion budget deficit far more difficult.
But in addition to hamstringing the stateâÄôs ability to deal with budget issues, this proposal is just foolish. Imagine the outcry if DFL legislators wanted to require a 60 percent majority to make cuts to entitlement programs. That would be equally unhelpful and hamstring the state just as much. If the Legislature sets a precedent where it took a 60 percent majority to get anything important or controversial done, the state would be run like the US Senate.
This is all not to mention the absurdity of requiring only a 50 percent majority of the vote to pass an amendment that requires a 60 percent vote to raise taxes. The GOP is saying that if only 41 percent of the Legislature is against a tax hike, that hike shouldnâÄôt be able to pass. Yet if 49 percent of the public votes against this measure, it will still pass.
Picking and choosing issues to make harder to pass based on ideology is undemocratic. It takes every issue off of a level playing field and makes it harder to do the peopleâÄôs will. Essentially, a measure to require a 60 percent majority on specific issues disenfranchises the majority.