Pawlenty Pushes for Lower ‘Business Tax’

By Teddy Davis

Jan 15, 2009 6:19pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) used his State of the State address Thursday to urge state lawmakers to cut Minnesota’s corporate tax rate in half.

"Today, I’m proposing that we cut Minnesota’s business tax rate in half," said Pawlenty. "This means reducing the current 9.8 percent business tax rate to 4.8 percent over the next six years. This will take us from having one of the worst business tax rates in the country, to having one of the best. It will help us keep and attract more jobs."

Back in September, Pawlenty told WDAY Radio, a North Dakota station which reaches listeners in Minnesota, that he supports a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry as long as it comes with safeguards for taxpayers.

But on Thursday, while the United States Senate was clearing the way for the incoming Obama administration to spend the second $350 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Pawlenty sought to contrast himself with federal officials.

"In Washington," said Pawlenty, "they’re sending billions of dollars to Wall Street. Here in Minnesota, I want us committed to helping Main Street." 

Pawlenty’s national profile got a big boost in 2008 when he was considered as a possible running mate for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The Minnesota governor’s claim to fame in national political circles is his assertion that Republicans should be the party of "Sam’s Club and not just the country club."

Pawlenty traveled extensively for McCain in 2008, picking up contacts which could be useful in a future presidential bid of his own.

The full State of the State address can be read here.

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