Friday, September 16, 2005

Waffling for dollars

First we're a "national embarassment," now this.

In his latest fundraising letter, Mike Hatch claims that the HIF put the state in grave danger:

Second, the tobacco industry last week sued the State over imposition of Governor Pawlenty’s new tobacco “fee.” The industry argues that the “fee” circumvents the 1998 litigation settlement between the State and the tobacco industry where the State, in exchange for payments, released the tobacco companies from liability as it relates to the adverse health effects of tobacco. While the argument of the tobacco industry is disingenuous, it never would have filed the lawsuit if Governor Pawlenty had simply the tobacco payment what it is--a tax. The use of a gimmick to placate “No New Taxes” supporters now causes uncertainty in the state budget while this lawsuit is pending.

(Source: Hatch Volunteer Committee letter obtained exclusively by RM)

But last month, when the suit was announced, Hatch was signing a different tune:

Hatch downplayed the notion that the legal challenge could blow a hole in the state budget, saying the Legislature and the governor would find a way out of it -- possibly by raising taxes.

(Source: Star Tribune, August 27, 2005)

To my knowledge, there has been no new evidence to suggest that the State couldn’t easily win this case. Could it be that Hatch himself doubts his ability to pull off a win?

Mr. Attorney General, if you are not confident that your office can beat Big Tobacco, why don’t you step aside and let someone else handle the case.


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