No one can accuse me of carrying water for Conrad Burns or, frankly, even devoting much time to the Senate race. It's been done.

Plus we have important things to worry about...like the Cascade County Justice of the Peace race. (That was a joke.)

But I keep hearing the John Tester ads about how he and Gov. Schweitzer "eliminated taxes on 13,000 Montana businesses." Well, I didn't remember that so I started looking for it. Granted, I had other things to do so I didn't spend much time on it, but the closest I came to finding anything was this site citing a Billings Gazette article where Gov. Schweitzer claimed to have eliminated "the property tax on business equipment for some 13,000 businesses by raising the exemption from the tax to $20,000 in business equipment, up from the current $5,000."

So I guess Tester's claim is technically correct; he did eliminate some taxes. But it is also misleading, because the suggestion is that the bill eliminated all taxes on these small businesses.

And, for those of you who think tax policy should be used to accomplish other ends (don't count me among that number), don't we want to encourage all business growth? I mean, think about it, the businesses he 'exempted' are pretty small. One accumulates $20,000.00 in business equipment pretty easily; all but the smallest mom and pop shops did not see their businesses exempted. To the extent he "eliminated" taxes, it was pretty meaningless.

But I guess my real points are these. First, I thought Tester was running as a "straight talking Montana guy?" Why the word games? Why mislead? Second, is he really suggesting he is going to go to Washington and be a tax cut guy? Why? It isn't true. He's going to be a "George Bush tax cuts for the rich" guy.

This has really reduced him in my eyes.


XB234C said...

It's tough. Conrad is a doofus and I'm fed up with his desperation, I'm also sick of Jon Tester's earnest doughboy in a wheatfield act. I am suspicious of and hate Senators in general, regardless of party affiliation. I wanted Conrad gone in 2000 and he said he believed in term limits, then he ran again. Now there is no blue skinned libertarian to vote for as a protest...I'm doomed.

TMM said...

I agree with xb234c. The issue you bring up in your post(one that directly affected me) and Mr. Tester's wishy-washy stance on Iraq really make me question his sincerity. It's off topic (sorry), but I ventured over to his website and noticed he removed the link to his longer than a sound bite Iraq position. Why remove it? There was a paragraph in there that said something to the effect of, "Some of our best retired Generals think we should be out by the end of this year." He never claimed this position as his own, just some "retired generals." Plausible deniability I suppose. Anyway, it is this kind of garbage that reinforces my skepticism in regard to his "straight talking" facade.

deepmoat said...

There's even more to this story, as was noted in the following Lee State Bureau analysis of the Tester ad on taxes and spending:

"It's true that Schweitzer and Tester, a state senator, worked during the 2005 Legislature to balance the state budget - but so does any governor and lawmaker, because the state constitution requires a balanced budget.

"The only general tax cut achieved by Schweitzer and fellow Democrats at the 2005 Legislature is a bill eliminating the property tax on business equipment for about 13,000 small businesses. The same bill froze the tax for thousands of larger businesses. Republicans consider this freeze a tax "increase" because the tax would have been eliminated starting in 2007, if the law had remained unchanged.

"Also, the ad doesn't mention that Schweitzer signed into law about $60 million in new or increased fees, such as fees on water-rights holders to speed up the water-rights adjudication process, fees on vehicle registration to fund the Montana Highway Patrol and higher hunting and fishing license fees.

"The allegation that Burns supports a national sales tax is based on his reply this year to a survey by the National Taxpayers Union. In the survey, Burns agreed that he would "work and vote to repeal the entire federal tax code and completely replace it," and that he would support replacements such as a national sales tax that "provides reasonable protection for low-income people" and a constitutional amendment to abolish all federal income taxes, or a flat-rate income tax with a "large exemption" for each taxpayer and dependent."

free thought said...

I tried to flesh out my thoughts on this in my first blog, http://mountainfront.blogspot.com/.

While that was serious, I think a joke I heard recently about a senator dying and going to the pearly gates sums it up. He is told that he must choose heaven or hell. Despite his protests that he doesn't want to consider hell, he is forced to spend a day there. He is reunited with friends, plays golf, wines, dines, and has a wonderful time. He then spends a pleasant, but uneventful, day in heaven, and must choose. He says, I can't believe it, but I choose hell. He promptly is sent to a horrible, burning wasteland of pain. He asks the devil what happened. The devil says, "when you visited, we were campaigning."

Big Sky Husker said...

Interesting to see the Great Falls rag trumpet the MSU poll results in Thursday's issue. The latest Rasmussen poll shows the race tightening...
Tester - 49% Burns - 46%

How much you wanna bet that poll will not make news (let alone front page) in any Trib paper for the next week?