Minnesota’s tax system rated 7th ‘fairest’ among the states

Minnesota has the seventh “fairest” tax system among the 50 states, according to a study by WalletHub, an online “personal finance social network.”

WalletHub’s methodology was unusual. They started by taking a “nationally representative online survey of 1,050” in which they asked not what states have fair tax systems, but what qualities make a tax system fair. They then rated the states according to how they reflected (or failed to reflect) those qualities.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the exercise: When they separated their survey data according to whether the respondents called themselves liberal or conservative, WalletHub found that the differences were small. Liberals and conservatives all favored a strongly progressive tax system, meaning that the rich should pay a substantially higher rate than the poor.

Yes, liberals favored a somewhat more progressive tax structure and conservatives would tax the poor more than liberals would, and they would tax the rich less. But if you look at the bar chart about two-thirds of the way down this file, that compares the liberal and conservative responses, the level of similarity is quite striking.

By the way, after they divided the responses of liberals and conservatives, they went back and applied those values separately to each state. According to the liberal values, Minnesota moved up from seventh to six fairest. And according to conservative values, it feel from sixth to 11th. But still — 11th.

Montana, by the way, came in first according to both liberal and conservative values. In the overal rankings, the least fair states were heavily concentrated in the South.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Ken Wedding on 09/16/2014 - 01:05 pm.

    Thank you again

    I don’t say thank you often enough. You find fascinating bits like this WalletHub article and you ask great questions and report on the answers you get in ways that are greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Submitted by Luke Ferguson on 09/16/2014 - 02:43 pm.


      I always eagerly await your columns, Eric.

      Asking questions and expecting fact based answers is a dying art.

  2. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 09/16/2014 - 04:06 pm.

    I think this is an important study

    I think this is important because I think a lot of mistrust and frustration regarding government stems from the idea that people find the world unfair and think it relates to government. They feel they are paying too much and getting too little.

    I’ve frequently asked people: “Are you willing to pay your fair share?” Some will quibble over what their fair share is, but eventually people will honestly admit they are willing to pay their fair share and almost immediately start talking about corporate welfare, lack of funding for middle income college kids, and other examples of why the system is not fair.

    We should make being the “fairest” one of our continual goals in Minnesota and the country.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/17/2014 - 11:42 am.

      People tend to underestimate

      what they get for their taxes, and overestimate what they pay
      (how many people can distinguish between marginal tax rates and overall tax rates?).
      As in: “Keep your government hands off of my Social Security”.

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