Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pawlenty: State will win case

A reminder for all the naysayers that Gov. Pawlenty was at one time an aggressive first-year law student. From the Pioneer Press:

Pawlenty says 'fee' will survive legal fight
Tobacco companies say cigarette charge violates agreement
BY PATRICK SWEENEY
Pioneer Press

Through a spokesman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Monday defended the legality of Minnesota's new 75-cents-a-pack charge on cigarettes and predicted the charge will survive a court challenge mounted by three big tobacco companies.

"We believe this case is without merit," said Brian McClung, a spokesman for Pawlenty. "We believe any aggressive first-year law student could win this case."

The tobacco companies argue that the new 75-cent wholesale charge on cigarettes is not allowed under a 1998 court settlement of Minnesota's lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The settlement, which has paid the state more than $1 billion in damages, bars further attempts by the state to recover smoking-related health costs.

In state law the charge is labeled a "health impact fee," and one of its provisions requires the state Human Services commissioner to calculate each year what Minnesota spends providing health care or health insurance for smokers.

Attorney General Mike Hatch — a likely Democratic challenger for Pawlenty's job in 2006 — said Friday that he would defend the state in the litigation by arguing that the charge is really a tax, not a fee.

Pawlenty, who made a 2002 campaign promise to veto any new taxes, has insisted on designating the wholesale charge a "fee."

Pawlenty was unavailable for comment on the litigation Friday. On Monday, he refused to take questions from the Pioneer Press about the case and asked McClung to comment for him.

McClung said the 1998 settlement barred only further anti-smoking litigation by the state, not new charges on cigarettes.

"The idea that the 1998 settlement would allow one type of revenue-raiser and prohibit another type of revenueraiser is simply ludicrous," he said.
(Source: Pioneer Press, August 30, 2005)


My only problem with the article is that Hatch is labeled as a “likely Democratic challenger,” when in reality, Mike Hatch is already telling state fair patrons that he’s in the race.

3 Comments:

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Hatch intends to undermine Pawlenty via the case:

Attorney General Mike Hatch — a likely Democratic challenger for Pawlenty's job in 2006 — said Friday that he would defend the state in the litigation by arguing that the charge is really a tax, not a fee.

That's not Pawlenty's position, but it appears it will be the position of the state in court, courtesy AG Hatch.

 
At 9:00 PM, Blogger Eightgun said...

Well, although I am no fan of the new Health Impact Fee, I hope Hatch loses this one.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Republican Minnesota said...

Right Doug, that's what I said last week. It;s the reason Hatch shouldn't be allowed to touch the case: he refuses to argue the case the way his client wants to.

 

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