GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer’s plan to jump-start Minnesota’s economy by creating jobs, which was introduced at a Labor Day presser, is being criticized as “smoke and mirrors” and more of the same policies of eight years of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration.
Specifically, some critics are saying that the first part of Emmer’s three-part plan — with, he said, proposals to reform education and government to be rolled out in the coming weeks — is merely a regurgitation of 2008 recommendations by Pawlenty’s 21st Century Tax Reform Commission.
“Once again, it’s all smoke and mirrors with Tom Emmer, and Minnesotans still don’t have a tangible plan from this out-of-touch candidate,” DFL spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie said. “All Tom Emmer did [Monday] was propose more tax cuts for corporations and add another $626 million to the state budget deficit.”
Emmer’s plan, outlined on his campaign website, proposes:
- Cutting the state’s corporate franchise tax from 9.8 percent to 8.8 percent in 2011 and 7.8 percent in 2012, with “further phased-in reductions” to 3 percent by 2015 and eventual repeal of the tax. Emmer estimates that the plan will save Minnesota employers $368 million in fiscal year 2012-13.
- Allowing S corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs) to subtract 10 percent of their income when figuring state taxes, beginning in 2011. Emmer’s campaign estimates that the plan will save businesses $75 million in fiscal year 2012 and $83 million in fiscal year 2013. The proposal calls for increasing the subtraction amount to 20 percent “in later years.”
- Reducing the state property tax by $100 million in fiscal year 2012-13, with further reductions in subsequent bienniums.
- Expanding the Minnesota research and development tax credit and also the angel investor tax credit.
“In this weak economy, business owners and their employees are in survival mode,” Emmer declared. “With my jobs agenda, I am throwing them a lifeline.”
However, critics — including Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner — say Emmer’s plan is remarkably similar to many of the recommendations of the 21st Century Tax Reform Commission, which, among other ideas, suggested repealing the corporate income tax, exempting a percentage of business income from taxation, overhauling the research and development credit and simplifying the state property tax system.
The commission’s report was ultimately rejected by Pawlenty and the House GOP Caucus, of which Emmer was a member.