AUDIO: Norquist makes pitch to Taxpayer rally

From MPR’s Rupa Shenoy….

Grover Norquist was the headline speaker today at the annual Taxpayers Rally at the State Capitol.

Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told a crowd of hundreds of people they should support retaining the sequester cuts, which he called “a spending limit with teeth.”

Norquist said when politicians vow to increase taxes only on the rich, it’s really the beginning of tax increases for all. He said Republican elected officials who vote for tax increases damage the brand for everyone else in the party. Norquist says said states can be good examples for how cutting taxes can work.

“No state is a complete waste,” Norquist said. “Some of them serve as bad examples. Let us work here to make sure that that’s California and Illinois and not Minnesota.”

Norquist’s visit comes at a time when Gov. Dayton and DFLers in control of the Legislature are all aiming to raise several billion in taxes to erase the state’s budget deficit and spend more money on schools.

Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann also spoke to the crowd, calling it “the face of sanity of Minnesota.”

Bachmann said Americans are taxed enough already and government should not spend more than it takes in.

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued a statement criticizing Norquist.

“While Grover and his wealthy friends are saying ‘no,’ Minnesotans are saying ‘yes.’ A majority of Minnesotans support Gov. Dayton’s proposal for the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans – that’s 54,000 people – to pay 2 percent more in income taxes so the state can invest in education. Minnesotans understand that top earners are paying less of a percentage of their earnings in income taxes than low- and middle-class Minnesotans, and they think it’s time for a fair tax system,” Martin said in a statement.

Here’s Norquist’s speech: