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Editorial: What happened to restraint, DFL?

Tax revenues being collected by the state of late suggest restraint rather than over-the-top spending in these waning days of the 2013 session. Collections from corporate and individual taxes are far exceeding forecasters' projections for three straight months now, for February, March and April, according to a Minnesota Management and Budget report released last week. That means about $300 million more are in the state's coffers than lawmakers and state officials planned for or budgeted for.

In addition, the budget forecast in February reduced by nearly half a billion dollars the state's expected deficit. The deficit in November was projected at $1.1 billion. In February, the projection was reduced to $627 million.

But the tax-and-spend thirst continued seemingly unabated in St. Paul. Remember those DFL pledges of restraint and responsibility and those vows not to overreach heard at the beginning of the session? They've long since been drowned out by the clamoring of special interests and spending advocates eager for their payday after helping sweep the Democrats into control of both the state House and Senate in the fall.

"When you have no (political) balance (in government) this is what you get," former tax chairman Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, pointed out in a Forum News Service report published in the Duluth News Tribune.

St. Paul's spend-spend mentality this session flies in the face of serious warnings about putting at risk Minnesota's ability to compete for jobs, new businesses and new industries. A new tax bracket on the state's top 2 percent promises to be among the nation's highest.

Economic warnings and spending concerns can be directed at Republicans this session, too. They didn't offer a budget of their own, only criticism.

But for the DFL majority, it's not too late. They still can recall their pledges of restraint and responsibility and their vows not to overreach -- and they still can do just that.

--Duluth News Tribune