Ad Watch: DFL ad


The DFL today is out with a new ad which tries to connect Tim Pawlenty with rising property taxes. See it here.

It’s funny the subject should come up, because we touched on it in the comments section of Polinaut in the item about the Wetterling ad against Bachmann. I indicated that Republicans have been so good at hammering the taxes issue, that it’ll take a lot of money and a lot of time to pin the “higher taxes” label on them again.

Lord knows Sen. Pogemiller has tried for a few years now, without a ton of success. Why? Because you have to explain the Local Government Aid formula. In 30 seconds or in a sound bite? Good luck.

The theory goes that Tim Pawlenty didn’t really cut taxes, he just pushed the taxes down to the local level by cutting state aid and then tried to blame the local leaders for being spending happy instead of cutting the taxes further.

It’s an argument with some merit. Just ask local officials.

They contend their budgets were already too tight and they’ve chopped to the bone. The Pawlenty campaign says they haven’t. In fact, they’re touting a property tax cap in some of their current commercials.

It’s a classic Democrat vs. Republican argument.

And potentially, a winning argument in a campaign. Some people think that’s why Republicans in the Legislature pushed for a property tax rebate in the last session, with the checks coming close to election time.

October 1, I believe is when the half-year property tax bills are due (at least that’s what my checking account says), so it’s probably no surprise the ad is being released around October 1.

Bottom line. Not all property taxes rose because of the cuts in local government aid. But many did. Some cities don’t get LGA.

And cuts in LGA have been going on since before Pawlenty even took office. The shift came partly as a result of a revamping of tax policy which took some of the burden off commercial taxpayers and put it on homeowners. Another came from the decision by the state to fund education, and take it off the property tax rolls. But where did that money come from? Ventura proposed it come from an expansion of the sales tax. But the Legislature, in an election year, didn’t bite. It took it from LGA.

And then, when it came time to cutting taxes, the state also cut the amount of scheduled funding for local schools.

Want to learn more. Here’s a blast from the past from Midday on the subject.

And we’ve got a ton of information on LGA here.

But none of it can be toldin 30 seconds.