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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Representative "Kate the Clueless" Knuth Needs Some Schooling on the Evils of Taxation

Minnesota House District 50B Representative Kate Knuth recently posted a press release on her official Minnesota House of Representatives web site titled "An honest look at property taxes" (it was also featured in the 4/4/07 New Brighton Bulletin). In her essay, Ms. Knuth reveals how she just doesn't get it when it comes to the legitimate role of government and taxes in a free society.

The first red flag is the words "honest" and "taxes" in the title. When politicians, especially liberals, use these words in the same sentence the suspicion level should be elevated to at least an "orange" level (which just happens to be Kate Knuth's official campaign color. Mere coincidence or a subliminal message?).

The text of Representative Knuth's press release is presented below, along with some observations:
Taxpayers in the Mounds View School District are on the front lines of a lively Minnesota debate about taxes. In November, voters narrowly passed a levy referendum designed to supplement the district's general budget. Because of unpredictable and inadequate state funding in recent years, school administrators were forced to cut $3 million to balance their operating budget, resulting in staff reductions, increased class sizes and diminished program offerings.
What our rookie legislatorette, as Uncle Rush might describe her, terms a "lively Minnesota debate about taxes" is actually the burgeoning outrage of taxpayers who have already "contributed" to the tune of over a $2 billion surplus being held up for even more by clueless, greedy politicians (see some of the recent posts on this blog for more on this).

The (very) narrowly passed levy referendum featured an electoral administrative screw-up that should have been cause for another referendum (and certainly would have if the vote had gone the other way). In typical liberal fashion she sets forth the unproven premise that "unpredictable and inadequate" state funding "forced" administrators to reduce staff, increase class sizes, and diminish program offerings as a given. She does not consider the possibility (or probability) that the administrators had more than enough funding for legitimate school functions and that their out-of-control spending could have been cut in areas that would not impact the students.
A larger question is raised by the need for levies to fund schools, and by four consecutive years of rising property taxes for cities and counties. Across Minnesota, property tax payers have increasingly taken up the slack for statewide funding deficiencies - a process with considerable flaws and unintended consequences.
Again, our confused representative asserts without evidence that levy hikes were "needed" (along with the implication that it is the only solution to the alleged problem) and deems state funding as deficient. She fails to mention, however, that this "deficient" funding consumes upwards of 40% of the total state budget. It would be interesting for Ms. Knuth (or any other liberal) to name a figure that would be "sufficient".
Several weeks ago, the nonpartisan House Research Office released a report projecting that under current law Minnesotans can expect property taxes to increase statewide by over $600 million dollars this year, an increase of 8.9 percent, the largest single yearly increase in Minnesota history.
Warning, warning, danger, Will Robinson! Another red flag. Any time a liberal cites a report, especially one produced by the government bureaucracy, to support their position and characterizes it as "nonpartisan", the validity of the report and/or the conclusions the liberal draws from it should be highly suspect and needs to be scrutinized closely...
Nobody likes higher taxes, and we all want to get the best value for our tax dollars. That's where property taxes fall short. One marker of effective government is to look at the total price of government expressed as a percentage of your total income. We've been hovering around 16 percent for several years, but recent projections show that number closing in on almost 17 percent. But have any of you noticed new school programs or an increase in your government services? Rather, schools struggle to maintain quality and some essential government services have been cut, while the cost of paying for those services has actually gone up! Not exactly "No New Taxes."
"Nobody likes higher taxes, and we all want to get the best value for our tax dollars". Duh! This is nothing but pure pandering designed to soften up the reader for what is coming...

"One marker of effective government is to look at the total price of government expressed as a percentage of your total income". This is a stock liberal mantra that means absolutely nothing in the real world but serves as the phony justification for taxation without limits. Even disregarding the inherent shallowness of such a statement, it is apparent that Ms. Knuth doesn't understand the difference between "income" and "wealth" and how either is produced. How about considering a "marker" of effective government as one where a minimal number of people are dependent on it and/or negatively impacted by it?

Our lefty representative advocates measuring the "effectivness" of government by "new school programs" and "increase in your government services". The fact that some "services" have been cut while the cost of paying for services has gone up indicates a problem with cost containment, not insufficient tax revenues. If a lack of tax revenue is the problem, why in the hell does the state have a $2 billion surplus?
When we set state government spending levels too low, local governments are forced to pick up the tab with property taxes. The debate emerging at the Capitol is this: should we continue to shift the burden of government spending onto local property taxes? Or is there a better way, a fairer way that takes a smaller bite out of family budgets? Should property tax payers shoulder the burden of providing for school district's operating dollars, or to build and maintain our roadways, or to pay for unmet funding mandates for services to the elderly and disabled? Or can we spread the burden, taking a smaller bite out of personal resources and giving meaningful property tax relief at the same time?
Well, there she goes again (don't you miss Ronnie?). Knuth claims that when the state government spends too little local governments are "forced" to pick up the "tab" with property taxes (and just who does she think ran up this tab?). This view of hierarchical government dependency is very telling as to how the centralized-command-and-control liberal views the world as one where the government is a cornucopia from which all good flows. Do you think she has even considered that the state and local governments could eliminate a bunch of unnecessary and wasteful spending? How many programs has she proposed to cut or eliminate?

Knuth then goes on to mischaracterize the debate in a very self-serving way as one of who should foot the bill for the spending rather than examining whether or not the current level of spending is necessary or justified. Note the use of liberal touchy-feelies like "fairer", "family budgets", and "spread the burden". As you have been warned on this blog before, when a liberal or socialist starts using language like this it is your cue to hang on to your wallet with both hands.

I take particular offense at the phrase "spread the burden". This is nothing more than a stock liberal euphemism for wealth redistribution. How exactly is the burden to be "spread"? Are "the poor" going to pay more (of course not, it wouldn't be "fair")? A more accurate wording would be that the burden will be "shifted" rather than "spread". And where will the burden be shifted? To those who can "afford" it, of course! Don't worry about determining who can or can't afford it--the socialists in the legislature will make that decree.
To address these questions, the House has proposed creating a fourth income tax tier for the state's wealthiest citizens, couples earning more than $400,000 after deductions and individuals earning more than $226,000 after deductions. Impacting fewer than 28,000 filers statewide, this new tier goes directly to property tax payers and would build fairness into a tax system sorely in need of it, providing real relief to those who need it the most - including senior citizens and young families just starting out.
Now we're getting to the crux of the situation. Redistributionists like Knuth have determined that they need more money to fund their unconstrained spending. These bureaucrats have determined that the state's wealthiest citizens can afford to pay more. Certain identified citizens have it, the government needs it, and the government can apply the necessary force to take it. Wallah! Problem solved. And with less than 28,000 people state wide impacted there will be no appreciable blowback come the next election.

This is a naked redistribution of wealth as noted by the "this new tier goes directly to property tax payers" statement. This horse crap is comes straight from Marxist rhetoric (where else would horse crap come from?). Comrade Knuth goes on to state that this immoral transference of wealth "would build fairness into a tax system sorely in need of it, providing real relief to those who need it the most". This liberal/socialist idea of "fairness" is analogous to an attitude that it would be OK to rip off Wal-Mart because they are a huge conglomerate, but it would not be right to rip off a "Mom and Pop" establishment because it would significantly hurt them. Perhaps a better "marker" of effective government is one whose actions would not be classified as a felony if done by an individual or a private sector entity.

Our uber-genius representative also fails to apply a dynamic analysis to determnine the economic fallout that will occur when people in this tax bracket decide that it is no longer worth their while to continue their small business since the state will confiscate such a large chunk of the profit. This invariably creates a ripple effect through the economy through layoffs and failures of other businesses that may have depended on the closing business as a critical goods or service supplier.
Taxes pay for services that go unnoticed when they're working well, things like snow plowing, police departments and fire response teams. They pay for clean parks and open libraries. They give us good schools that produce highly skilled workers to drive our economic competitiveness. They give us the high quality of life that has become a part of our statewide identity. The challenge now will be deciding if we want to continue that quality of life, and if the answer is yes, to do so in a fair, equitable and straightforward way.
Again, this is pure self-serving socialist drivel. Taxes do not give us good schools or highly skilled workers, and they certainly do not "drive our economic competitiveness" (it's the equivalent of saying the brakes drive the car). They do not give us the "high quality of life that has become a part of our statewide identity".

Representative Knuth was probably still in diapers when Ronald Reagan was teaching that a society cannot tax itself into prosperity, but she is allegedly highly educated and by now should have learned this basic lesson. Obviously her highly-touted education stressed much more quantity than quality as she doesn't seem to be able to grasp basic economic and moral principles.

What it boils down to is that liberals like Knuth appear to have a deep down belief that in a de facto sense the government owns all of the wealth and property of society and that the role of government is to determine and implement how to "fairly" divvy things up. What else could explain their position on taxes, or their even considering that the government has the legal and/or moral authority to obligate a private citizen to make their private property available to another private citizen?

The only other explanation I can come up with is a profound ignorance of economics and the principles of liberty on which this country was founded. Couple this with political ambition and an elitist, intellectual view of the world and one gets some insight of what liberalism is all about.
Rep. Knuth can be reached at rep.kate.knuth@house.mn or at 651-296-0141.
Representative Knuth's press release embodies her "breadth of fresh err" this blog warned about before the election and shows the danger in electing an immature idealist fresh out of the socialist world of academia who does not have a clue on how the real world works.

Go ahead and contact Representative Knuth and attempt to further her education, but don't expect much. It will take a lot of time and effort to cure her of the severe liberalism she is afflicted with.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's clueless and glued to her misconceptions. Sad. What socialistic pathogens got into her? Her toxicity seems to be permanent, but her election is not. Yes, she assumes that only government paid officials should be trusted to rule Minnesotans...

Ronnie once said that the nine most fearful words in our American language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help..."

Poor Kate is 'governmental', and orange to boot...can't say we haven't been alerted. She's more than willing to make any mole hill on the horizon into a mountain of unfair tax and spend. Let's help her out...of office that is.

She's eagerly trying to help everyone but the people who pay her salary. Sure, she's from the government and she's here to help....YIKES.

4/20/2007 1:40 AM  

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