Well, that was fun. Having slogged through all of the MN GOP’s Anti-Rybak talking points, I think I’ve found a few recurring themes:
1. Rybak raised some taxes and fees to cover revenue lost from Pawlenty’s cuts. He did this to maintain services such as trash hauling, city lighting, and street maintenance. But when the MN GOP tells the story, they leave out the part about Pawlenty’s cuts or why the taxes were justified. Considering that Rybak was recently reelected to his 3rd term by a huge margin, I think it’s safe to assume that the people he represents think the taxes were justified.
2. From time to time, when new spending ideas were proposed, Rybak suggested a variety of tax policies that could cover the new expenses. The money has to come from somewhere, so that seems rather reasonable. At least, it does to me. If the expense is justified, go for it. If it’s not, don’t.
Strangely, in MN GOP talking point land, the suggestion of a tax is essentially the same as imposing a new tax. It can also be cherry picked to make the suggested tax more extreme by leaving out the details of the proposal. For example, Rybak has suggested that one way bring in additional revenue to balance the state budget would be to tax clothing items that cost more than $100. The MN GOP’s talking point left out the price point criteria, thus turning a narrowly focused tax into a much broader tax (again, it’s just a suggestion of a way to pay for a suggested new cost).
Key terms to look for when determining whether there is any meat in a MN GOP Anti-Rybak tax related talking point are: “backed”, “backing”, “called for”, and “would look at”. They’re all examples of situations where increased taxes were discussed as a way to pay for a hypothetical increase in spending, but not actually implemented.
3. If you don’t have fresh dirt, try using dirt that didn’t stick in any of the past three elections.
4. Don’t link to the stories you’re cherry picking because the following paragraph may refute your point. That’s the problem with journalists. They’re tend to give readers two sides to every story.
5. The MN GOP’s specific examples of “Wasteful and Out of Control Spending” account for a fraction of 1% of one year of the the City of Minneapolis’ budget. To me, they really come down to a difference in priorities rather than waste. Had the same money been spent on jail cells rather than providing access to clean water while cutting down on our solid waste stream, the MN GOP probably would have been for those expenses. For example, money invested in tap water PR has the potential to deliver a positive return on investment if it reduces the number of plastic bottles entering the waste stream. To me, that doesn’t seem wasteful or out of control, yet it accounts for a large portion of the “waste” identified by the MN GOP.
6. It’s hard to label someone as a left wing radical when they win such a large percentage of the city’s vote and are polling well state-wide.
If this is all the MN GOP has to work with to explain why someone shouldn’t vote for RT Rybak for Governor, I sure hope for their sake that they have some compelling reasons why someone should vote for their preferred candidate.