Response to ‘Pawlenty’s tax policy ignores budget realities

Ben Becker

In response to the column âÄúPawlentyâÄôs tax policy ignores budget realities,âÄù I have to respectfully disagree with just about everything written. In tough economic times such as these, shouldnâÄôt it be OK for the state to be limiting spending on all fronts, even those that are arguably our most important assets? Please understand that I am not advocating permanent spending cuts, but for the times we are in, it makes perfect sense. Perhaps cutting spending at the University of Minnesota (or any publicly funded entity) should be seen as an excellent opportunity for it to start buckling back and thinking about what it does and does not need. Maybe the University should begin exploring more creative ways to cut spending that do not involve leaving it up to the students to pick up the extra tab. According to the 2009 article âÄú50 best values in public collegesâÄù in KiplingerâÄôs Personal Finance Magazine, seven Big Ten schools provide an excellent education at minimal costs for its residents and hence made the list. The University of Minnesota was not one of them. I doubt it was the educational aspect of the institution that the University struck out on. Mark DaytonâÄôs plan to tax the top 10 percent sounds great on paper; letâÄôs examine its effects a little further, though. If we start taxing those 10 percent at the top (letâÄôs say anyone making $250,000 per year), donâÄôt you think that they will then have to start making some cutbacks and therefore lay off their own workers and re-evaluate their own budgets? Who are we to say that the University is more important than a thriving small business with a task force of, say, over 50 employees? LetâÄôs face it: Not every cake-eater got rich the way Dayton did. Dayton is probably reflecting on his childhood when he thinks of such a plan and how when he ran out of money he just asked his dad for more. Why change his spending habits when he had unlimited funds, right? The bottom line is that if you say we should be planning for 2020, maybe we should be looking for ways we can operate with more financial efficiency so we have a surplus when the economy does come back. Sounds like a better plan than spending money that could indirectly be taken from the working class and then be given to blue-bloods like Dayton to decide where it goes. ItâÄôs time we stop hemorrhaging money and instead look for ways to save it and spend it appropriately. ItâÄôs not fair to equate the word âÄúcutâÄù with âÄúeliminate.âÄù Even though Pawlenty cut state funding to certain public entities, we can still have the parks, the schools, the hospitals, the nursing homes and even progress. WeâÄôll just have to get a bit smarter. Ben Becker, University undergraduate student