This morning, former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson announced his endorsement of Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner at the Rochester Art Center. In his endorsement speech, Carlson told a crowd of about 100 that Horner is the candidate offering the most sensible budget solution.
"Who has done the best job of creating the evidence that leaves us to conclude that he is prepared to redesign government? It's not the tax-your-way-out-of-it crowd, it's not you-shrink-the-body-until-death crowd, it's the Horner crowd," Carlson said.
Horner supports a mix of raising taxes and cutting to solve the state's projected $6 billion budget deficit. His plan includes lowering the overall sales tax rate by 1 percent but expanding the sales tax base to include clothing and personal services. DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton's budget solution includes raising income taxes on wealthier Minnesotans. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer has vowed to solve the budget entirely through cuts.
One of the most interesting things about Horner's visit is which area residents are turning out to support him. Roughly 50 people showed up for a breakfast at the Rochester Art Center before Carlson's endorsement. Among those speaking out was Rochester businessman Al Tuntland who has previously supported Republican candidates. Tuntland said he believes that Dayton's proposal to raise income taxes on couples making over $150,000 a year would be a "job killer."He said if that level of income taxes had been in place when his business Schmidt Printing was getting start, the company "would be half as big as it is today and 200 jobs would not be there."
Tuntland said he also thinks Emmer's stance of not raising any taxes is too extreme given the budget situation.
Also turning out in support of Horner's campaign was former Republican state Rep. Dave Bishop of Rochester and former DFL Congressman and IP gubernatorial candidate Tom Penny. Republican Senate candidate Carla Nelson also turned out — although she said she is not endorsing Horner. Rather, she said several of the people backing her campaign are supporting Horner and she wanted to hear from him. She added that she liked a lot of what he had to say.