Zellers adds anti-tax pledge, TV ad to gov campaign

GOP Rep. Kurt Zellers holds a news conference to announce his pledge to veto any tax increase if he’s elected governor. Tim Pugmire/MPR News

State Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, is pledging to veto any tax increase if he’s elected governor.

Zellers, a former speaker of the Minnesota House, is among four Republicans running in the Aug. 12 primary for the chance to challenge incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in November.

Zellers held a news conference Wednesday to announce that he has renewed his pledge with the Grover Norquist-led advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, to not raise taxes.

”After what we’ve seen the last two years, I think Minnesotans need to know going in, before they elect a governor, that they won’t raise taxes,” Zeller said.

The pledge form that Zellers signed on July 10 states that he “will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” He is the first Minnesota GOP candidate for governor to sign the pledge this year, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

Zellers told reporters that in the event of an unexpected economic downturn and budget deficit, he would balance the state books through “spending reductions” and “efficiencies.” He would not rule out the use of a school funding shift as part of that strategy.

Zellers also unveiled his first TV ad of the campaign. The ad started airing today on cable in three markets. It highlights his rural roots, his family and his 2011 budget showdown with Gov. Dayton.

Here’s the ad:

  • And Zellers paints himself into a corner.

    Brilliant strategy, Kurt, just like what T-Paw did to this state.

    “I don’t think any governor has left behind a worse financial mess than he [Pawlenty] has.” – Arne Carlson

  • John O.

    No problem, he just renames them “fees” like TPaw did and moves on. Farcical.

    • mpjt16

      Exactly which “fees” and what was the impact on a middle class Minnesotan?

      • John O.

        Start with the license tab fees. Thanks for playing.

        • mpjt16

          Did the fee go up? My license tab costs went down in 2014 vs 2013. How about something really relevant that was changed?

          • John O.

            Pawlenty was Governor from 2003-2011. Fees went up in 2009 as a part of the biennial budget that year. He went to great lengths publicly to say this was a “fee” and not a “tax.” He also had this tobacco tax increase that was packaged as a “health fee.”

            How about doing some basic research next time? Have a nice day.

    • kevins

      It’s the truth.

  • Starquest

    Dayton didn’t raise my taxes.