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col Candidate's filing is a joke

"No new taxes" is rarely the appropriate answer for what ails government. The same can be said for "no new taxes" as the punchline of a political joke.

Sam Garst, a longtime DFL activist, has filed to run against Democratic Rep. Bill Luther of the 2nd District as a member of the No New Taxes Party, which heretofore did not exist. Garst is attempting to poke fun at the Republican Party, which has virtually made the illogical "no new taxes" stance a party motto.

Garst is correct to point out the hollowness of the Republican stance. The GOP position effectively cuts off any serious and sensible debate about funding government services. But by attempting to turn that stance into a joke he can use to the advantage of Luther, Garst has apparently overstepped.

For starters, Garst, secretary of the state Sierra Club, doesn't live in the 2nd District. He also said he has no intention of running a serious campaign against Luther, to whom he has contributed money in the past. His main target is the Republican candidate, John Kline. Garst admitted he entered the race strictly to divide the anti-tax vote and help Luther win.

This isn't the first time filing shenanigans have been tried. Republicans, in fact, have filed as Democrats in at least two legislative races this year. All such tricks are cynical ploys to mislead voters. While Garst's No New Taxes Party is perhaps more creative than the others, it is no less cynical.

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We prefer to keep jokes out of elections. The pledge of "no new taxes" should be debated on its merits, rather than subjected to trickery.

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