What would you be willing to pay higher taxes for?

Some high-income Americans are urging the government to roll back tax breaks that have benefited the wealthy. They want the government to spend that money on education, health, energy and infrastructure. What would you be willing to pay higher taxes for?

I would gladly pay more taxes for the right to healthcare. That way I wouldn’t be so stuck in a job that I hate. -anonymous text message

I am not willing to pay more taxes to pay for anything, current taxes are far higher than they need to be. If some rich people want to pay more, they can make an individual donation to the treasury. This is about raising taxes on people who don’t have the extra money. -Jason, Eagan, MN

Light rail and public education. -Cathy Gunderson

I would be willing to pay higher taxes for universal health care education and a gas tax to promote energy independence. -Jim

Universal health care. -Mike, Minneapolis, MN

I think a tax with a flexible rate that would hold the price of gasoline at a steady $5, $6, or even $7 would be great. -Pete, Minneapolis, MN

Share your reply in the comments: What would you be willing to pay higher taxes for?

  • Dan

    The call for no tax dollars for anything destines our state and nation for disaster. Collectively we created the highways, education systems, infrastructure and collectively we must maintain them.

    Health- care is a part of our economy that has been left to private industry and it is on the way to bankrupt our nation. The cost of health-care has stagnated wages and if allowed to continue to rise at the current rate, 12% a year, it will collapse our economy .

    I would be willing to pay higher taxes for health-care and to maintain our current education, infrastructure.


  • Sam

    I would pay absolutely nothing in the way of increased taxes. I have no faith whatsoever in the government’s ability to spend without waste, corruption and incompetence.

    I send the money directly to the source; education.


  • MNguy

    Taxes for police, fire, EMT, roads including maintenance, top notch education system, healthcare for everyone, and a reasonable amount for national defense. (Not the insane and unsustainable level of spend for endless war). We can do this as demonstrated by north european countries that have sustainable economies with what we might consider high taxes. It’s not the dollar amount, it’s the value received.

  • Lisa

    I already support specific nonprofits (when I have an income) for the big three in my life: the Arts, Environment, and Education. I would not pay taxes for health-care, I don’t think taxpayers should have to support that.

  • Patrick

    All of the things that are being cut back in this year’s budget here in Minnesota.

    I am tired of the NO NEW TAXES cranks! This isn’t magic, we need to support these different forms of social infrastructure.

    When someone complains about government waste of money what I hear is “I am greedy and don’t want to pay for my fair share”.

  • Deb

    Being a patriot means that I participate in a social contract with my country. I expect certain services. In order to pay for those services I need to pay taxes.

    This country must support public education; health care; infrastructure, safety and national security. And those things are some of the things that I would pay more taxes for.

    It is not appropriate that those people in MN with the greatest income pay a lower percentage of income tax that I do.

  • annie

    I am absolutely willing to pay a higher percentage of my wages in taxes if I know that I am helping to fund health care, education, clean energy and environment, and humanitarian efforts.

    Alternatively, I am willing to pay the current percentage of my wages in taxes that would be re-allocated to the above causes.

    Mainly, I think we all like choice in what we fund with our working wages. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could choose!

  • Laurie

    I’m thrilled that the wealthy folks mentioned in the story are willing to do their part to keep our society running. No one LIKES to pay taxes, but we all use things like roads, schools, police & fire protection, water & sewer connections, etc. We can’t keep spending without also having revenue. We’re not wealthy, but we’re willing to pay our share. Health care for all benefits ALL of us, libraries and schools benefit our society, parks, recreation centers, etc. are important. I keep hearing people denigrate “liberals” by saying they just “tax and spend”. But the conservatives seem to “don’t tax, but spend anyway”. Where is that going to get us?

  • Dave

    Although I am gladly willing to pay increased taxes for education, transportation (especially transit), and environmental cleanup, taxes for other vital services like health care should be coupled with reforms that minimize the future drain on our resources.

    The most important educational priority to fund would be early child development a la preschool and ready-to-learn programs for at-risk kids.

    State and federal governments should also consolidate and reduce the number of agencies and their overhead as part of a pact with taxpayers willing to pay more for the common good.

  • Clark

    I would pay nothing as the federal and state government will waste any additional revenue on the “poor”. Currently the top 10% of taxpayers fund 85% of the government. At some point, those on top will top producing as there will be no incentive when the gov’t confiscates 70% of income.

  • I’d gladly pay more taxes to relieve medical payment worries. I’d pay for bluer skies, safer transportation, better schools and equity for everyone.

    We used to pay for that in Minnesota.

  • Karen

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could check boxes on our income tax forms that said what we were willing to support and what we weren’t? It would mitigate the political machine behind these decisions, although someone would find a way to squander something, I’m sure – think bridges, toilet seats.

    I’d much rather pay for someone’s education than their food stamps; I’d rather pay for health care (with a heavy emphasis on prevention) than someone’s chronic whatever-ism; I’d rather pay to clean up and save the environment than a contract for Haliburton.

    What would happen if we could crowdsource half of our income tax payment?

  • Tim Nelson

    The largest piece of the State budget is education. Distance learning could cut that in half.

    Automated transit will replace the light rail we are building.

    The cost of health care can be cut, only through wage and price controls.

    So, to recap, fund automated transit only.

  • Patrick Coleman

    Public Libraries!

  • Ryan

    I would pay more in taxes for universal health care and an education program competitive in todays world.

  • Ruth

    Paying more for healthcare that would make us respected instead of a laugh line for other countries who don’t understand why such a rich country would not have better health care and cover everyone.

  • I already support specific nonprofits (when I have an income) for the big three in my life: the Arts, Environment, and Education. I would not pay taxes for health-care, I don’t think taxpayers should have to support that.

    What do you do for health care when you don’t have your income?

    Have you ever been without health insurance? I have a couple times when I was “downsized” from a very large international company. needless to say, it’s pretty scary to know that your family teeters on the brink of complete financial collapse if one family member just happen to get sick or injured.

    Needless to say I’d be more than happy to pay a bit more for universal healthcare for all US citizens as well as education, energy independence, and better transit options.

    A question for those who don’t want universal healthcare and already have health insurance from your employer: Have you ever totaled up how much both you and your employer pay for healthcare? I don’t mean your personal out-of-pocket expense, I mean the WHOLE cost.

    Take a peek, it may open your eyes.

  • Lindsey

    I spent a large part of my summer in China, and I was astounded at their economic growth and infrastructure investment. The nightly news boasted of 8% GDP growth. Every city we visited was expanding it’s subway or light rail system. Highways were being expanded. Cranes dotted the skyline everywhere we went. Meanwhile here in the US we argue about transportation investment until bridges collapse. MN isn’t the only state to experience bridge collapses.

    I would happily pay more taxes for infrastructure improvement, education and health care. These are community needs that are larger than what I as an individual can provide for myself, and I would like to see something better than what we currently have.

  • Steve Dufault

    I believe I am in the “middle class” and I see others around me slipping into poverty. Some because of their greed most because of job loss and or medical costs. I would be willing to give up my “Jesse era” and “Bush tax cuts” which amounted to about $40 to $50 a pay check combined. I might even take on an extra share in taxes if it went to solving the issues of poverty. Poor pay, no health care, limited education opportunities, and unaffordable housing would be some of the issues in need of more revenue. We need to restrict our growth in the military and the give away to the large corporations. If business is to big to fail than it should be broken up as to big to operate. I do believe we need to look at the monopolies that have developed in our age of deregulation.

  • brian

    I would be willing to pay high taxes on marijuana should we have enough sense to legalize it. Not only would it take away the criminal element and huge costs of prosecuting and incarcerating non-violent citizens, it would also improve the quality and drive down price.

  • Rian

    This is not about their own money, they’re still talking about Other Peoples’ Money.

    Want to pay down the debt?

    Make your check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it is a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to:

    Attn Dept G

    Bureau of the Public Debt

    P. O. Box 2188

    Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

    Or how about if these petitioners ask their legislators to enact an earmark bill so they can donate to specific areas of national spending (roads, schools etc)

    In the meantime if you’re looking for a charity, check out the new Foundation Beyond Belief group. http://foundationbeyondbelief.blogspot.com/

  • Bob

    Health care for everyone. Healthcare that is modelled on the Mayo example — salaries for healthcare workers including and especially for doctors. Subsidies of medical education so doctors come out with much lower debt and less need to earn so much. I would also pay higher taxes for roads, bridges, networks, public transportation, teaching prospective parents how to raise their kids better (and also give parents emotional support), public childcare or subsidies for that, alternative & cleaner energy subsidies, and also research into things that has been lacking in the past. One area for this would be medical and some examples might be: mental illness, autism, the effects of multiple chemical exposures over the long term, genetic therapies for chronic illness or permanent damage from injury. There is a LOT that’s being neglected out there…

  • Eiolg

    Sure, I’d be willing to pay more taxes. I drive on our ever better roads, I’m kept safe by our law enforcement people, who put their lives on the line, I know I can turn to the courts when I need a remedy in a dispute, I know that the divisions of government monitor a lot of drugs and chemicals, but they could use more help. We rely on the air traffic controllers and the post office, as well as those who take care of the National Parks and National Forests. Our tax levels are bargain basement for what we get. I’d rather pay higher taxes than have so much of the day to day government be put on the deficit. Which things would the TAXES ARE BAD people want to give up?

  • Vicki

    I would be willing to pay higher taxes to insure universal health care and to improve the educational system. We need to create the “best and brightest” not bring them here on visa’s and no one should need to have a fundraiser or lose everything they have because they have gotten sick or been injured.

  • bsimon

    I would be willing to pay higher taxes for:

    1) a balanced budget

    2) universal healthcare

    3) improving our education system, starting with head-start like programs to better prepare kids for school

    I am not willing to pay higher taxes for new sports stadiums, yet those are the things that get added to my tax bill.

  • Paul

    I’d pay more if it’d prevent our government officials from the need to take – umm “gifts” while in positions of authority.

  • Mac

    Cigarette taxes are “accepted” today … sure users will complain when the rate is changed, but it’s a “users tax”. No doubt the overall price of cigarettes have contributed to some people’s decision not to smoke. Less lung cancers and heart problems are good for the country.

    Thus, it’s time to enact a “soda tax”.

    Ask any dentist, “Why do so many kids have cavities today” and the answer will be soda pop.

    This would be the first step to a form of “obesity tax”. My health premiums have risen because of the obesity problem. Satins drugs for cholesterol, diabetes medication and blood pressure pills are all related to obesity … more meds mean, more monitoring and doctor visits …. and those drugs cost money .. the obese are more likely to be hospitalized and to have complications from procedures … patients average at least one day longer for each hospital stay ….

    The CDC did a study that said that obese people cost $1,429 more per person per year … a 42% premium over a person who maintains a healthy weight.

    The impact to the country … a staggering $147 BILLION.

    Don’t get me wrong, I drink pop too … but I try to control my consumption and am willing to pay a tax if it would be used to fund healthcare.

    IF a tax would make people think twice, it could have the same effect as cigarette taxes … a healthier country.

  • Tara, Edina MN

    universal healthcare

    education (especially teacher salaries)


  • Raplh in Mpls

    I was shocked to learn that the proposed federal Cap & Trade legislation is projected to cost the average American less than the cost of a postage stamp a day. Given that I spend over $3 a day on coffee, I’m certainly willing to pay that amount to avoid run-away global warming. I mean, it that’s the expected cost, why we even debating this?

  • Steve

    I am more than willing to pay more taxes for public health care and improved public education, on the condition that the money saw immunity from future “allotment” tactics. At this point, we’ll need to pay more taxes just to balance out the damage done for the biennium’s budget.

  • Chris

    I would be willing to pay higher taxes for Universal Health Care, Improved Education, an improved transportation network (Mass transportation), a local and sustainable food network. I am also will to put up more of my money to improve the general welfare of the population.

    I don’t think we can decide as individuals how all of our tax dollars should be spent. We need a dialog with others who do not share our perspective to truly define the priorities of our society and to determine how our tax dollars should be spent.

    Our parents and grandparents were willing to spend their money on building our community, but the current generation doesn’t even seem to be willing to pay for the upkeep on the infrastructure that we inherited. We claim that tax dollars are our money and we should get to decide how each dollar is spent. We seem to have forgotten that we used the existing infrastructure that previous generations sacrificed for to make our money.

    None of us can claim that we do not owe a huge debit to the social structure we were born into, so how can we believe that we should not pay our fair share to keep that structure viable. If we shut down and only take care of the people from similar social classes or society cannot continue to prosper. Just because people do not look or act like us does not mean that their values are not important.

  • kennedy

    How can we even consider where to spend “extra” income when we have a crippling national debt? I would put any available funds toward reducing that debt. The next step would be to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel, also as a matter of national security. Tax energy consumption in order to fund conservation and alternate energy sources.

  • KB

    People who think that we don’t already pay taxes for healthcare — through Medicare/Medicaid, through higher premiums — are deluded and ignorant. And those who think that we can say “we’re not going to pay for illegal immigrants” just want to perpetuate the current fantasy that we don’t now. Unless we want a pile of dead bodies outside hospitals who refuse to admit the sick and injured, the hospitals will treat everyone and we will all pay. What we need is TRANSPARENCY in the system: who is paying, how much, and for what — and we need to spread the costs equitably.

    Universal healthcare may not be a RIGHT, but neither is universal education. It is, however, a means to a functioning capitalist society and increased GDP (just think of the sick days we would avoid!). If we want to raise our own boats, we need to raise all the boats, and the investment we pay in taxes is the way to achieve a better standard of living through a larger middle class.

    I wish people would talk about how to improve government management of the things it needs to, instead of insisting it can’t to a good job. The government is *us*, not some external entity… we can change it if we want to. If people don’t want to invest in a democratic government, they should move to a country where there isn’t one… and leave democracy to adults who are willing to work at it.

    All of which is to say, I would invest my taxes in healthcare, education, and the environment (including mass transportation), all of which will make our collective future a brighter place.

  • Ben

    Well I would love to pay any taxes if I had a job

  • Wayne

    Universal single payer health coverage.

  • Neil

    Health care…!! If people looking for work could followed their passion instead of the health care was, just think how exciting that would be. America would really be “The land of Opportunity” . I firmly believe our market economy would be better off because of it. High health care costs stifle our creative spirits………………….


  • Pete

    Currently, tax rates for the wealthy are at the lowest than they have ever been in the history of the federal income tax. Rich people in this country owe a debt to the forefathers who set up our gov’t in such a way that allows for such incredible wealth to be accumulated by individuals. It should be their patriotic duty to pay higher taxes back to the system that allows them to stay so wealthy. In addition, the wealthy in this country end up writing off so much of their costs of living under the guise of business and investment expenses they hardly even pay in at all anyway. They have absolutely no right to complain.

  • Annette

    I’m with Jim:

    Taxes for police, fire, EMT, roads including maintenance, top notch education system, healthcare for everyone, and a reasonable amount for national defense. (Not the insane and unsustainable level of spend for endless war). We can do this as demonstrated by north european countries that have sustainable economies with what we might consider high taxes. It’s not the dollar amount, it’s the value received.

    I would add higher gas taxes to encourage efficient use of resources, and environmental preservation.

  • Bob Klahn

    I expect to pay higher taxes for universal health care. That’s ok. Those who think our taxes are too high should consider that the US has the lowest tax burden of the industrial world. Even lower than Japan.

  • DNA

    A sensible drug policy as described in:


    A drug policy respectful of democratic values would aim to educate people to make informed

    choices based on their own needs and ideals. Such a simple prescription is necessary and sadly


    A master plan for seriously seeking to come to terms with America’s drug problems might

    explore a number of options, including the following.

    1. A 200 percent federal tax should be imposed on tobacco and alcohol. All government

    subsidies for tobacco production should be ended. Warnings on packaging should be

    strengthened. A 20 percent federal sales tax should be levied on sugar and sugar substitutes,

    and all supports for sugar production should be ended. Sugar packages should also carry

    warnings, and sugar should be a mandatory topic in school nutrition curricula.

    2. All forms of cannabis should be legalized and a 200 percent federal sales tax imposed on

    cannabis products. Information as to the THC content of the product and current conclusions

    regarding its impact on health should be printed on the packaging.

    3. International Monetary Fund and World Bank lending should be withdrawn from countries

    that produce hard drugs. Only international inspection and certification that a country is in

    compliance would restore loan eligibility.

    4. Strict gun control must apply to both manufacture and possession. It is the unrestricted

    availability of firearms that has made violent crime and the drug abuse problem so intertwined.

    5. The legality of nature must be recognized, so that all plants are legal to grow and possess.

    6. Psychedelic therapy should be made legal and insurance coverage extended to include it.

    7. Currency and banking regulations need to be strengthened. Presently bank collusion with

    criminal cartels allows large-scale money laundering to take place.

    8. There is an immediate need for massive support for scientific research into all aspects of

    substance use and abuse and an equally massive commitment to public education.

    9. One year after implementation of the above, all drugs still illegal in the United States

    should be decrimi-

    nalized. The middleman is eliminated, the government can sell drugs at cost plus 200 percent,

    and those monies can be placed in a special fund to pay the social, medical, and educational

    costs of the legalization program. Money from taxes on alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and can-nabis

    can also be placed in this fund. Also following this one-year period, pardons should be given

    to all offenders in drug cases that did not involve firearms or felonious assault.

    If these proposals seem radical, it is only because we have drifted so far from the ideals that

    were originally most American. At the foundation of the American theory of social polity is

    the notion that our inalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” To

    pretend that the right to the pursuit of happiness does not include the right to experiment with

    psychoactive plants and substances is to make an argument that is at best narrow and at worst

    ignorant and primitive. The only religions that are anything more than the traditionally

    sanctioned moral codes are religions of trance, dance ecstasy, and intoxication by

    hallucinogens. The living fact of the mystery of being is there, and it is an inalienable religious

    right to be able to approach it on one’s own terms. A civilized society would enshrine that

    principle in law.

    Terence McKenna in Food of The Gods