What sort of tax increase would you support, if any?

As part of their response to the state budget crisis, DFL legislators have proposed an income tax increase for wealthy Minnesotans. Today’s Question: What sort of tax increase would you support, if any?

  • Rob Ramer

    I support an even larger tax increase. It should be progressive but across the board. With government like everything else you get what you pay for.

  • zombie

    To continually raise taxes on high incomes brings in money, but in the end i doubt it will bring in enough. But if we combine those with taxes on luxury items then we might begin to see a dent. This will also help out the public as a whole to make them think twice before purchasing goods on debt.

    -Pool installations

    -High-end vehicles

    -Home entertainment systems

    -Boats

    -ATVs

    -Snow Mobiles

    -Second/third/fourth homes

    However, would the entire situation be solved if we just moved to a flat tax?

  • Peter Truitt

    I would support MN policy that would be complimentary to a federal cap on personal assets and a federal sales tax to realize economic justice and a leaner government.

  • Robert Dodd

    Raise taxes by 2.5% of total income for those individuals making 50K+, 75K+ couples and raise taxes of those making 100K+, 150K+ couples so the percentage of income taxed equals that of lower income earners. Everyone should have their income taxed by the same percentage.

  • Deb

    I support the income tax increase as proposed by the DF-L.

    The State of MN needs to return to the tax rates that we had around 1997. It is time for the State of MN to step up and govern…not to pass the ‘buck’ to other levels of government and individuals.

  • Alice

    Those who can afford it should pay their share of the cost of living in a society. We all benefit from a society that can provide quality education, health care for all, good roads, public pakts etc. etc. etc. Look it up. Research is clear – fair taxation is a must for a strong society and a democracy demands a strong society.

  • Raymond Boyle

    Tobacco products. in particular cigarettes. A tax on cigarettes discourages young people from taking up smoking. The revenue could be used to offset the costs of illnesses caused by smoking. The current state tax of $1.56 should be increased.

  • Brian Duren

    I completely support the DFL increase in taxes on the wealthiest individuals and families.

    Republicans have firmly committed themselves to the illusion that one can build a civilization on greed.

    A tax increase for the wealthy is something that all of us–including the wealthy–should celebrate and applaud. We have taxes because we have wealth. So lets hear some cheers for the wealth.

    We have wealth, because we have an economy, and we have an economy because we have a society. A tax gives back to the society that provides the economy and ensures its stability and health.

    No society, no economy, no wealth, and no taxes. We can turn that around: no taxes, eventually no economy, no society . . . and no wealth.

  • DmOx

    Tax the churches. Tax all money moved to overseas accounts to avoid taxes. Tax guns. Tax ammunition. Put a progressive tax on automobiles…..the lower the gas mileage, the higher the tax.

  • Gary F

    Don’t expect any job growth from the private sector. Don’t expect anything from small business either. If you tax “luxury items” you just kill jobs for the people who build the pools/atv’s/vehicles.

    I’m still amazed at the people who don’t see what’s happening to California, New Jersey, and other states. Big government states are living beyond their means.

    It’s amazing how so many people are addicted to O-P-M(other people’s money).

    Greece is the word…………….

  • Clark

    Any tax increases that continues to penalize success will be bad for Minnesota in the future. Sales tax clothing or other services would be fine but at some point if income taxes are too high, the high income decision makers will not expand in Minnesota and relocate to Texas with 0% income tax. The unions and hard hard left politicians are delusional if they believe they high income people will not relocate.

  • zombie
  • Lisa

    I would support a higher tax on an upper tier tax brackett than the DFL is proposing. Laura Brod commented this morning that this tax proposal would “harm MN families and hurt small businesses” which is incorrect and misguided and leads me to believe that she, obviously, does not understand the proposal. If she did, she would not have voted yesterday to cut the necessary services to the poor (cuts = 87% of this bill; revenue = 17%) so that the wealthy could continue to benefit from the bush era tax breaks.

    The proposal will only affect single people who earn over $100K a year and couples earning over $200K a year. Families/couple who earn HALF A MILLION DOLLARS will, on average, be paying $2300 – $2800 more in state tax. I only WISH I were able to contribute that much more to the people of MN, I would do so willingly. I feel that there are many of those potential fourth tier earners who feel the same as I do, but are being ignored by their elected officials who feel the need to play out this master and slave drama with the Governor which started 8 years ago.

    I suggest Rep Brod and her GOP colleagues read the bill, listen to their constituents, and stop allowing themselves to be used like trash by a Governor who will stop at nothing to be President.

  • Jessica Sundheim

    In Tennessee I went to school with kids who were missing teeth and it wasn’t becaue they played hockey. Some of the mountain kids had to shower at our school because they didn’t have running water. The school could only afford the bare minimum. I can tell you how much our chemistry teacher enjoyed the walls of the classroom he had taught in for twenty years. They were painted “prison gray” with left over paint from the prison that had been built at the same time as the school. It didn’t do anything for morale, but the state saved a lot of money when it built Sullivan East High School.

    We had art in the band room with xerox paper and magic markers because the band teacher served as our Drawing I teacher. By the time my little sister attended the same high school, the 1970′s building had fallen into such disrepair that black mold had taken over and they had to close the school mid-year and hold classes at the Bristol Raceway Nascar track. (I found the mold situation interesting, especially since I had missed at least two weeks of school every year and was eventually hospitalized with a tonsilar abscess).

    The wealthy kids never had to be bothered with a second class education, mold, and mountain kids because they attended well funded private schools. Many of my colleagues never went to college, which might be for the best considering how much effort I had to expend to get caught up to Minnesota standards when I moved back here my Junior year.

    When I left my TN Advanced English class we were reading an abridged version of Cantebury Tales in contemporary English. Upon registering at Wayzata I was place in a College level AP English class and we were reading James Joyce. I struggled through that class and the next trimester I took a Sophomore Lit class, in which we read the complete Cantebury Tales in Middle English. How would my TN class compete in a college with kids from top ten states?

    Tennessee has great weather and beautiful mountain views. Why would any successful person want to move here if it isn’t a great place to raise a family? Cheap labor perhaps? I’ve lived in states that have had conservative fiscal policies, where the sales tax gets hiked and low property taxes rule. The businesses that move in prey on the rural communities because the uneducated base has no problems with solid waste dumps in vacinity of their mountain streams. The community has no problem accepting low wages because they can’t compete. In Virginia, another state I lived in, coal is the perfect example. In Tennessee it was the film company. People who have decided to not collectively fund community improvements and fend for themselves desperately need jobs, not a healthy environment in which to raise their kids.

    Is that what we want to attract to this state? Businesses that take advantage of every tax loophole and economically depressed area to benefit their execs who live in New York? The masses of Minnesota workers making an average of $30,000 per year should not be shouldering this Wall Street recession! Those who tout fiscal responsibility, who favor regressive tax policies, need to man up! or go live in the mountains of Tennessee for three years and see the reality of the future they have in mind for this state.

  • jessica Sundheim

    Here are tax stats for Tennessee. Below is a description of what low taxes will really bring to Minnesota. http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/59.html

  • Andrew S.

    Gee, Jessica. I went to public school in Tennessee and took AP English (among several other AP courses). Even with my paltry education I scored a 5 on the exam, worth 6 college credit hours. I guess it’s my anecdote against yours. Even in Minnesota I’d bet you can find rural schools that do not offer AP courses, or offer very few of them.

    Of course Tennessee has problems, but we are getting more industry in our state in a time when industry is leaving others. Our population is growing, too. Maybe it’s the nice weather and mountain views (the western half of the state is flat, by the way). Maybe it’s the lack of a state income tax and punitive business policies.

  • Amy

    I definitely support the DFL budget plan to raise taxes on families making over $200K and singles making over $100K. If I made that much money, I would happily pay more taxes knowing I was supporting my community. Even with my mediocre $36K salary I would pay a little more taxes knowing that my community would be safe and well maintained. I will never make over $100k in my profession, but I have to believe that people who do make that much money aren’t bothered by additional taxes. People tend to baulk at tax increases but one thing we all must remember is that life can change in an instant. We all live one medical or financial emergency away from needing some sort of public assistance. If I lost my job or became ill, I know I would need to apply for public assistance to keep my home and meet my basic needs. I want those program to be there for when I need them. I hope that some sort of tax increase gets passed so that the programs needed to support people in need can stay around for the people who need them now and for the people who will eventually need them.

  • Jeri

    Additional taxes on tobacco would be good for the budget in the short term and good for public health and the budget in the long term as fewer people (especially youth) would smoke.

  • Kerri

    I support increasing taxes on tobacco products. No one benefits from cheap tobacco that causes addiction, illness and billions in health care costs. Less people will use tobacco if it is more expensive. Seems like an obvious win-win solution. The state gets more revenue and less Minnesotans smoke.

  • James

    My income has not gone up in years; taxes, food, and fuel have gone up significantly. I have to live within my means… so should my government.

    Stop being so wishy washy and cut some programs. Minnesota is a welfare state destination…. how about we get rid of some dead weight.

    NO NEW TAXES!!!… in fact REDUCE MY TAX LOAD.

    DTOM

  • J

    I’m glad Zombie brought up Colorado Springs! Who would want to live in such a place? I find it ironic that those who whine and whine about taxes and vote to have them cut are always the first to complain when the services they just cut no longer work well (police and fire calls take longer, potholes, no parks or libraries, etc.). It’s clear that T-Paw doesn’t give a rats-tail for MN, only about his own ego trip. Nor does Tom Emmer, whose only claim to fame seems to be spouting tired cliches “They’ll remember in November…” wow Tom, did you come up with that one all by yourself?

    Also, I have yet to see any ACTUAL proof (rather than anecdotal statements about what might be) that higher taxes cause businesses to move. And who would want to work for or patronize a company that would do such a thing?

  • P. Nielsen

    I think the income tax because of it’s being progressive, thus it is the fairest way of insuring that Minnesota retains its high standing among the states. If those who have moved here in the last 20 or so years came for the quality of life, then there is a cost for that quality of life (and Minnesota certainly has been slipping the past few years for sure). People griping about having to pay taxes of any kind shows just how selfish and ignorant they are, falling prey to the lobbyist groups and wealthy political parties who twist facts and lie to get elected.

  • Sue de Nim

    Here’s a radical idea. Maybe state taxes don’t have to be progressive to be fair. After all, state services tend to benefit low- and middle-income residents more than the wealthy. If regressive taxes go to pay for progressive benefits, that seems fair to me. So here’s my idea: cut the sales tax rate to something more reasonable (say, 6%) and expand it to cover clothing and services. This way of raising more revenue would have a couple of benefits:

    1. It might be politically doable. Since the GOP (Greedy Old Plutocrats) won’t open their fists to let any more of “their” money get spent on the common good, we ordinary folks need to agree to take care of ourselves by funding the government services we need.

    2. It would give us ordinary folks more of a sense of ownership of our government. With more skin in the game, people might care more about who they vote for, pay more attention to political issues, and remind our legislators that their campaign contributors are not their primary constituency.

  • Craig

    I would not support any form of new tax unless its revenue was constrained to efforts that enhance the local economy; such as improving transportation, keeping our education globally competitive, or enhancing our scientific research capacity. I wouldn’t trust politicians to have a free hand with the money, as they are so often swept up in their concern for “nice-to-haves” instead of “must-haves.”

  • Jessica Sundheim

    You are right Andrew, I lived in mountainous east Tennessee. I’m curious to know what part of the state you are from. I’m glad you had the opportunity to take AP English. However, my point is that many students do not, and if they did many would struggle to score 5′s. Secondly, yes, you do have industry moving into the state. My point is what kind of industry we want to attract. What lies behind the motivation to drive down quality of life and education? How exactly does that really increase interest from certain types of businesses? I’m not saying that the “No new taxes” folks consciously depress areas to bring in companies that prey on the economically depressed. The point is that they are unable to think through the policies to the end result, and realize what truly is attracting business. You may have scored a 5, Andrew, but in your response to my argument I find your counter argument lacking the level of comprehension skills my argument requires.

  • Jessica Sundheim

    The percentage of people in Tennessee 25+ that have college degrees is 18%, Sullivan East High School zip code comes in 1% higher at 19%. http://www.publicschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/74996

    I do not think most Minnesotans that are all about “No new taxes” realize the cost of their tax plan.

  • Andrew S.

    “You may have scored a 5, Andrew, but in your response to my argument I find your counter argument lacking the level of comprehension skills my argument requires.”

    I’m sorry my short comment failed to rise above the low water mark of your condescension. It is undoubtedly due to my poor education. I shall defer to your superior comprehension in the future.

  • Mary

    With the obesity and diabetes problem in our state and nation, I would say tax soda and “junk food” TBD by a board of dieticians. Also, tax clothing and shoes costing more than $100 per item and raise tobacco taxes. I do support the DFL budget item for raising taxes on families making more than 200K and singles making over 100K.

    I love the sate of Minnesota and the am proud of our progressive political heritage. It has been very difficult to watch the state deteriorate so much during the Pawlenty years. I appreciate my tax dollars going to services for all, especially transportation and the maintaining of our beautiful parks and historic sites for the enjoyment of all.

  • Aaron Victorin-Vangerud

    Any form of tax means taking MY hard-earned money and ladling it out to people who don’t deserve it. Period. In my book, that’s called stealing! It’s disgusting to see this criminality fueling the selfish hordes taking over OUR government and society.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a misanthrope–but I have no time for this kind of people.

    (Just kidding.

    Somehow the tax issue has become all about personality.)

  • jessica Sundheim

    You are so right. This discussion really does need to rise above condescension, doesn’t it? “Maybe it’s the nice weather and mountain views (the western half of the state is flat, by the way). Maybe it’s the lack of a state income tax and punitive business policies.” I could not agree with you more! Those who have to descend to the level of deflecting the argument by dodging the facts and discrediting the participants on a personal level are not really doing anything for the discussion. Therefore, I will stick to the point and the facts from here on out. I did not intend for my comment to smart.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Just think: if we cut taxes enough, and make the government sufficiently small, weak and ineffectual, our country might one day be just as great and prosperous as Somalia!

  • Bill

    I agree w/ Sue d N….There was a decent article in Sunday’s strib about the hundreds of things that have been exempted from state MN sales tax since its introduction in 1968. I say get rid of the exemptions, and lower the overall rate. If 6% covers the state’s needs, great. If it’s a lower percentage, better still. Regardless, ANY changes in the tax system need to assure a) high compliance on collections, b) the lowest possible cost to administer, and finally c) be simple for people to comprehend.

  • kennedy

    Raise the gasoline tax. We, as a nation, are dependent on foreign oil. Big oil companies make the profits while the national government spends our tax dollars to maintain security of the supply.

    Capitalism relies on a close link between cost and benefit. That link allows consumers to efficiently choose where to spend their money. Raising the gas tax would reduce the current gap.

  • Andrew S.

    Data is easy to find but nearly impossible to interpret. Maybe industry is moving south because of lower taxes and (perhaps more importantly) employer friendly labor law. This seems to make sense because, frankly, one can find skilled labor anywhere. Yet I’m suspicious of anyone who claims to have cut and dried answers to demographic dilemmas.

    When it comes to jobs requiring higher education, I think the situation becomes even more obtuse. Professionals enjoy higher mobility than ever before, but they are produced in large part by quality secondary education. The real question is how to achieve that, and it’s not simply a question of paying additional taxes. I think the biggest problem faced by many students today is a cultural disinterest in education rather than inadequate institutions. However, more informed people than I have wrestled with that quandary for years.

    The tax fight of Minnesota is not my fight, but it mirrors similar struggles fought every year in every state come budget time.

  • bsimon

    The DFL increase should be more broad – down to about $100K or double median income for households filing jointly.

    I’d also support a higher carbon tax – not just on gasoline, as someone noted above, but coal as well; though that should be a federal initiative rather than piecemeal by the states.

    I’m open to the idea of broadening the sales tax. Come to think of it, just about everything should be on the table for restructuring our tax code. Revenue hasn’t matched expenses for nearly a decade, so perhaps its time to bite the bullet & fix it.

  • Bruce T Johnson

    I support progressive taxation. Recent reports in USA Today and elsewhere note that total tax rates — Federal, State, and local — are at the lowest since 1950. The problem is not that taxes are too high, but that they are too often regressive.

    In the ’60′s the DFL argued against the state sales tax because it is a regressive tax. They were right.

    The solution to deficit problems is an increase in tax rates at the higher brackets and additional brackets for higher incomes.

  • Lois

    I look around this state and see all sorts of new four lane roads and large homes in the suburbs and large homes on the lakes (no cabins any more) and lots of new buildings every where. I think: There is a lot of wealth in this state. It is time that we think of the education of our students before we think of new four lane roads, etc. The schools are sliding down hill. Our local school had to cut half of the classes.

    I mostly support higher income taxes on anybody making over $125,000, but I’d also support sales taxes on non-essential clothing, etc. We need to get our state back into a surplus position and regain our strength in education.

  • James

    Why don’t we do a dirt simple straight tax.

    You make a buck — 5% goes to the State. No loop holes, no exceptions PERIOD.

    Don’t penalize the people that worked hard and took risks to build this economy.

    No sin or fat tax… we have to keep this simple and keep the lawyers out of it.

    DTOM

  • Jamie

    It’s a Republican-generated myth that raising taxes on the rich means jobs will be lost. Especially with this miniscule tax that the DFL proposed. If you’re a small-business owner who makes enough money to be affected by this tax increase, it’s nothing but GREED that might cost a job in your business. Not to mention short-sightedness.

    The proposed tax increase doesn’t amount to very much. If my math is correct, a person making $350,000 (AFTER exemptions and deductions) would pay about $200-250 more than before. Even if it were $1,000 more, that shouldn’t mean that jobs are lost.

    In any case, they should simply pay their fair share! They currently are paying a much lower percentage of their income in taxes than lower- and middle-income people do.

    A writer here called those of us who support tax increases “selfish.” That is just — bizarre. The greed and selfishness of the “I’ve-got-mine” crowd who don’t want to pay for state services and quality of life are going to make us into another Mississippi.

    someone else: “…state services tend to benefit low- and middle-income residents more than the wealthy…”

    That is an assumption on your part. I’ve actually heard that the opposite is true.

  • Jamie

    “Don’t penalize the people that worked hard and took risks to build this economy…”

    You mean the business owners? They’re not the only ones who work hard or who “build this economy”! Most of us work hard and contribute to the economy. And how much should they be rewarded for their risk-taking? How much of their millions and billions – or even just hundreds of thousands – should they be expected to horde for themselves (while the community languishes) before it becomes obscene?

  • Sue de Nim

    Are businesses leaving Minnesota because taxes are too high? Why do you think they’ll stay when our infrastructure falls apart, our public schools are underfunded, law enforcement is insufficient, parks are not tended to, etc.

  • jane

    I am for overhauling our state and federal tax system to a flat rate tax…James you are on the right track.

    It would actually stimulate our economy!

    We are investing in soft money but a flat rate would incourage investing in hard investments.

    I guess since they are struggling they should take a leap of faith and introduce a bill for that…it is a fairer form of taxation and we have always been ground breakers in legislation!

    The tax would take the place of other taxes like capital gains, sales tax, and many others.

    There would be approximately a minimum income of $50,000. for a family of four. A break for single & single parent. If you are a family of 4 and your incom is $58,000. you are only taxed on the $8,000. Plus there is deduction for children & disabled. This can revolutionize our country.

    Check out Estonia and many other countries that are moving to this kind of tax system…they fixed a 1000% inflation and as the years have gone by the taxes are falling.

    There is a great possibility for this to aleviate our horrible gov debt.

    thank you. Jane

  • Jamie

    I have to say it.

    Republicans are lying!

    The Party apparently distributes their talking points memo each day, telling them what to say to the media. Every single one of them says repeatedly that raising taxes on the rich would cause job losses and “hurt families.” They know these things aren’t true! And most of the news media, including MPR, don’t call them on it.

  • S C

    I have absolutely no issue with raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest people. I also have no issue with hiking the tax on cigarettes even further, if that were an option the Legislature would consider.

    I live in New York now, and there has been a lot of talk about a proposed tax increase on soda and other sugary drinks, which I also support – hey, maybe that’s something they should consider as well? Perhaps Governor Pawlenty should champion this idea of a soda tax… er, I mean “fee”. (Right?) Obesity rates are through the roof, and if people can’t make healthy decisions for themselves (and their children!), maybe the government SHOULD intervene by increasing taxes on items that have a detrimental effect on health and wellness.

  • Tom

    Increase (rate and progression) for income taxes (smile if you have a job!), apply sales tax to clothes and services (smile if you don’t have to shop for used clothes at a thift store!) Feel proud to live in Minnesota!

  • jack Goldman

    Government will be forced to cut it’s budget or employees by 50% in the not to distant future. America has a math problem. Do nothing and the government will collapse. Debt is approaching 100% of GDP. The Federal Government is bankrupting America with entitlements for people who do not need them. Does Bill Clinton need a Social Security check? Let’s get real. People need to qualify for entitlements by need, not age or service.

    My two retired public school teacher friends will collect $10,000 plus a month in retired household income for social security and pensions. This is an outrage for two part time government employees married to each other. Low interest rates make their pensions even more valuable, worth millions of dollars.

    Taxes need to be slashed by slashing off budget benefits and off budget subsidies. Why have Israelis been given $1.6 Trillion dollars in dead beat welfare? This provoked the attack on the Pentagon and it’s source of funding in New York City. America needs to move into the real world and cut government by 50% or it’s expenses by 50%, maybe both. I do not support any increase, obviously. I know the Communists do.

    Jack Goldman

    St. Paul, MN

  • Tom

    Taxes and governement are necessary although our growth in state government (I believe now the states largest employer) is not sustainable. To those who would gladly pay more taxes I ask – How much is enough? I would support a tax increase under the following conditions: 1. That the tax increase was matched, dollar for dollar with reductions in government programs (I suspect Greece wishes they would followed this pattern) and 2. That all state citizens pay some taxes – preferably in cash so they are concious of the fact. Everyone needs to participate.

  • Jessica Sundheim

    Is it really very difficult to understand understand Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs? People are not data, but they are just as complicated. However, it makes sense that if my parents cannot afford running water, food, and medical care then college or technical school is not going to seem like an option for me.

    If I don’t have options, why should I try?

    If no one in my family has ever gone on to higher education and does not understand how student loans and grants work, how would I know what is available?

    Is it very difficult to understand human nature and motivations, Mr. S?

    I guess there are plenty of examples of people who could not understand the effects of employer friendly labor laws in the past. Many people who did not live near the coal mines or the mills struggled one hundred years ago to understand strikers’ complaints. Until striking parents sent their starving children into the city, and negligent factories teeming with workers burned.

    I sympathize Mr. S. because it is very difficult to understand why people tolerate working for minimum wages in physically demanding, boring, or demeaning conditions. How can I understand what would lead a person to work in those conditions in the first place. Thankfully one can actually put himself in that person’s shoes and learn how to understand a person’s motivations.

    When I put myself in a fiscally conservative’s shoes, I can understand the argument that “hard working business people” should come ahead of “lazy high school drop outs”. I mean who doesn’t love Dave Ramsey for example? I was totally gung ho, snowballing debt and paying cash a few years back. Then, one day I calculated how long it would take for my working husband (teacher at the time) and I (daycare provider at the time) to finish Baby Step 2: saving up 3-6 months wages. I mean most reasonable people admit that this society needs daycare providers and teahcers. Yet, while saving at a rate of 10% (10 X higher rate than the average American) annually, it would have taken us 18 years to accomplish Baby Step 2.

    So, I totally hear what you are saying about motivation, Andrew. I mean those students and those “lazy welfare moms” are just not motivated enough, right? I wonder why that is? In the mean time, lets just keep stacking the deck for those job providing employers who are “the back bone” of our society, and chalk up our inability to help the millions of workers living in poverty to confusing data and deny that education/training (which is how one acquires skills) is important. Let’s be proud of an 18% college grad rate and our LOW, LOW taxes!

  • tmlens

    Property tax with reform. We have a complex system where we seem to overtax then over rebate. Save the money from the rebates and simply tax according to the value of the property.

  • Andrew S.

    Jessica,

    “Is it very difficult to understand human nature and motivations, Mr. S?”

    It is perhaps the single most difficult thing, yet many people are content to assume most others are like themselves. I would never claim to understand what motivates another person.

    It’s clear that you and I do not share a similar set of basic assumptions. I wish you the best. Truly. If you cannot save 3 months of expenses (not wages) within a year or two after paying off your debt I might suggest finding other work and lowering your expenses. It’s a very difficult thing to choose between what you want to do and what you have to do.

    As a financial advisor I do not agree with everything Dave Ramsey says, but his plan is a good one for people struggling to live within their means. Furthermore, it can be reasonably achieved though usually not without some hardship.

    All that said, I know nothing of your particular situation and I hope you don’t take this as an indictment. Fiscal policy is very difficult to reason through and we’ve seen failures of either side of the spectrum.

  • Dan

    I believe the wrong question is being asked, in order to determine if taxes need to be raised or lowered wouldn’t you want to know how your tax dollars are presently being spent? Could they be spent more wisely? If you did away with collective bargining and put all state employees on pay for performance and raises on a COLA standard would we be better able to balance the budget would we be getting more work and value from our public servants and teachers? What if school systems were charged with producing students that could qualify for entry to any college of higher learning nationally. Throwing more money at something without understanding the causes and potential solutions will solve nothing. The point would like to make here is that we as voters do not have the real facts about any of the problems or clear understanding of what we are getting for our tax dollars. Step back quickly assess, create possible solutions and then pick the very best solutions for best investment dollar. This may be an opportunity to leap frog present paradigms to create better solutions and outcomes that cost us less in taxes and provides a better quality of life for everyone.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I’m reading lots of interesting ideas for sweeping reforms and paradigm shifts. Could any of them make it through the legislative process in a way that would actually result in good public policy (much less solve Minnesota’s budget problem before the end of the session)? There are two chances of that: slim and fat.

  • Jason V

    Gas, Diesel, Coal & oil electricity, cars with poor mileage, tobacco.

    Why not seize the opportunity to fight the things that hurt us?

    And close the loopholes for high earners.

    I agree with previous calls for simplified property tax assessments.

  • Wisesooth

    I seem to notice that the definition of the word “rich” seems to decline in value every year. A person is now “rich” according to the legislature if they make a bit more than $100,000 per year as individuals, or a bit more than $200,000 per year if they are “married” whatever that word means anymore. That sounds like “middle class” to me.

    Some economic facts:

    1. Government cannot give anything to anybody else that they have not first taken away from somebody else, or borrowed from their future. The private sector pays the bills.

    2. There is no such thing as a “fair” tax structure because we the people individually decide what is or is not fair based upon our own perspective.

    3. People respond to rewards for their individual effort, not the collective efforts of others.

    4. The worst tax the government can impose is inflation. That taxes the value of investment and savings.

    5. Corporations to not pay taxes. They COLLECT taxes. A corporate income tax is really a combination of a sales tax upon the corporation’s customers and an investment tax upon the corporation’s stockholders.

    The most elegant innovations that last the test of time and are most usefull are simple, not complicated. A flat tax is better than a progressive income tax. Government does not work very well when it encroaches upon the private sector’s role. The private sector does not work well without the rule of law by an effective Judiciary and law enforcement. Nothing works well if the people ignore their responsibilities to each other and expect others to take care of their needs.

  • Paul C. O’Dell

    A tax on any equipment (after market exhaust

    devices) etc) at point of sales that make vehicles/motorcycles)

    noise levels exceed the STATE LAW.–see Minnesota Statute 7.35.019 “General Noise Regulation”.In addition enforce the State Noise Regulation (State and Local Govt.).

  • Steve the Cynic

    How about a tax on stupidity? Oh, yeah. I forgot. We already have one. It’s called the lottery.