Despite the Republican debacle in the last election, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's latest budget proposal is asking the citizens of Minnesota to swallow the same Kool-Aid he and his party have been offering for the past six years.
The centerpiece of the governor's proposal is his plan to cut corporate tax rates under the guise of promoting "job growth."
An analysis by Moody's Investor Services revealed that $1 spent on corporate tax cuts returns 30 cents. Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty cents. It's a complete loser.
Nearly half of his proposed tax cuts would go to companies not located in Minnesota, and it would take years before we'd see any benefits.
Also, instead of hiring workers, corporations could spend the tax savings on higher dividends for shareholders, mergers that decrease competition and raise prices, and perks and "golden parachutes" for CEOs who drive their companies into bankruptcy.
What might be a better way to create job growth? Moody's analysis shows that $1 spent on infrastructure pumps $1.59 back into the economy -- more than five times what corporate tax cuts return.
How about tax cuts for the middle class? According to Moody's, every $1 of tax cuts returns only $1.03. Heck, $1 spent on food stamps returns $1.73.
After the last election, the governor did the cable talk show circuit. His message, repeated over and over again, was that the Republican Party needed to change. He was going to be the new poster boy for the "one idea" party.
Unfortunately, it's abundantly clear in his latest budget proposal that the governor wasn't listening to his own sound bites.
His budget is filled with gimmicks and accounting shifts and the same old tired "tax cuts for the rich" philosophy that has driven the country and this state to the edge of a cliff.
I guess I really shouldn't be surprised.
Despite never having won a majority of voters, Pawlenty has governed Minnesota not from the middle, but from the far right.
Repeated warnings from former governors and finance commissioners of the three major parties that the state was headed for financial disaster have been ignored, while Pawlenty's tax policies mirrored those of George W. Bush.
I had hoped that after John McCain threw Pawlenty under the bus, the governor might have an epiphany. Alas, he is still more concerned with his own diminishing political ambitions than what's best for Minnesota.
Ironically, it may be the federal government that props him up for the next two years, with billions of infrastructure dollars that will actually create jobs. But that's if the Democrats get a spine, cut the pork and reduce the Republican tax cuts in the current stimulus package.
So, Minnesotans, drink the Kool-Aid at your own risk. And if the governor decides to run for office again, think real long and hard before you swallow what he and his party continue to offer.
Peterson is a Woodbury resident.