Kemp stumps for Colman; Humphrey criticizes coleman’s fiscal policy

ST. PAUL (AP) — Former Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp endorsed Minnesota’s charter schools Wednesday and, not coincidentally, gubernatorial candidate Norm Coleman, whom he ushered into the party in 1996.
DFL rival Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey III called Kemp’s appearance a reminder of failed economic policies of the 1980s, which he said are reflected in Coleman’s management of St. Paul.
Kemp and Coleman held a news conference at the Minnesota Technology High School, one of a growing number of charter schools paid for with tax dollars but run by parents and staff instead of an elected school board.
“There’s nothing wrong with competition and choice,” said Kemp, who was at Coleman’s side when the mayor announced his conversion from DFLer to Republican. “I’m convinced this is pro-public education.”
On Wednesday, Humphrey took aim at Coleman’s use of debt rather than the mayor’s educational policies. But the attorney general has frequently criticized Coleman as a poor supporter of public schools, often pointing to Coleman’s past support of vouchers that would enable parents to get state money for private school tuition.
Coleman has said tuition vouchers are no longer under consideration. But he and Kemp both voiced support for expanding tax credits and deductions for other educational expenses.
Kemp, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, also was in town for a Coleman fund-raiser.
Kemp and Coleman pitched tax cuts as a way to stimulate economic growth. Coleman wants to cut income tax rates.
“What happens when you cut taxes, and at the same time you have to keep the lid on spending, you force people to innovate,” Coleman said.
Kemp said the government ends up with more money from economic activity if it cuts the right tax.
Humphrey linked that philosophy to the policies of President Reagan in the 1980s.
“Reaganomics put the country deep in debt and in deep economic peril,” Humphrey said.
He said Coleman has stimulated development in St. Paul through increased borrowing, not lower taxes, a fiscal policy he has labeled “Colemanomics.”
“What it means is borrow and spend, borrow and spend, borrow and spend,” he said beneath a new DFL billboard over Interstate 94 in St. Paul. The DFL Party sign pegs the city’s debt at $456 million.
In addition to debt secured by tax dollars, about $235.6 million, the DFL figure includes bonds issued by the city that are guaranteed by revenue from the projects they finance.
Humphrey said he doesn’t object to using credit for projects that government traditionally pays for, such as roads. But he said Coleman has too often used city credit for private ventures, such as a new office building for Lawson Software and a new NHL arena.
“Norm Coleman has talked about bringing the pride statewide. I think what taxpayers should fear is Norm Coleman bringing the debt statewide,” he said.
Coleman said St. Paul would be stagnant if not for his use of the city’s credit.
“My opponent has never grown a business,” Coleman said. “He doesn’t understand about cutting taxes. He certainly doesn’t understand about growing jobs.”
Both campaigns will bring in big names on Thursday. Former presidential candidate Bob Dole is scheduled to stop in St. Paul and Rochester with Coleman. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman plans appearances with Humphrey.