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Tuesday, December 20, 2005 

Cigarette "Fee" Illegal

So much happening so fast today. Here's the latest news: Tim Pawlenty's cigarette feetax, because it's officially a "health impact fee", has been ruled illegal. Here are the details.

The good gub'nuh's in a real bind here. On one hand, this is his baby, and the state can't afford to lose the revenue generated from the feetax. On the other hand, while the Legislature could pass a tax with the same terms as the fee, would Gov. Pawlenty sign it, with his no-new-tax pledge and all?

This is going to tear the budget apart; the feetax was supposed to generate $400 million over the course of the biennium.

So, now we have good news or bad news, depending on your point of view. The good news is that this situation is unquestionably Tim Pawlenty's fault. He insisted on calling it a "health impact fee" and not a tax, despite the fact that, by definition, it is not a fee and it shouldn't be called such. Thus, Tim Pawlenty's no-new-tax pledge has screwed the State of Minnesota. Tim's going to have to answer for this. The bad news? We have to trust Tim Pawlenty and the Republican House to fix it, and that's something that doesn't make me terribly confident.

Always keep in mind that this is the Governor's fault, and his alone. Elect a DFLer to the governor's mansion in 2006 and we won't have problems like this.

P.S.: Read about other stupid Republican shenanigans today.

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