Minnesota Poll: 60% want surplus refunded to taxpayers

So who dares to say, “No”? After the latest Strib/Minnesota Poll, Baird Helgeson writes: “A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows that 65 percent of adults say raising income taxes on high earners last year was the right move. But 60 percent also say that if there is a windfall this year it should be returned to taxpayers. About 6 percent think any extra money should be divided between tax rebates and new spending.”

The issue is optimal salting … Tim Krohn at the Mankato Free Press reports: “Besides salt, highway crews also in recent years began using magnesium chloride, a greenish liquid that is sprayed on pavement prior to storms. ‘The liquid is good and it helps. But it can cost up to twice as much and you’re not getting double the melting for the price,’ [Minneosta State associate professor Steve] Druschel said. He said his studies are looking at the price of the product, the number of vehicles needed to apply it and the effectiveness to come up with the most efficient methods.”

Also from Mankato … . I know you’re as shocked as I am that last week’s conservative freak-out over three DFLers “laughing at” the cost of Obamacare required a certain tightly constrained context. Dan Ruiter, the news director at KEYC-TV, Mankato, the station that shot the tape says, “Thursday night, a national television news organization showed a clip from one of our stories that aired on KEYC News 12 Wednesday night. … Thursday evening, national media outlets began running the story. However, they showed only a short clip from that exchange. The story accused all three panel members of laughing at someone else’s suffering. It also accused all three panel members of ducking the question. Anyone in attendance that day, or watching the story in its entirety that evening, knows that nothing could be further from the truth.”

Who knew there was a demand for more supermarkets in the Twin Cities? Mike Hughlett of the Strib writes: “The major Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee is planning its first foray into the Twin Cities with four to six stores, a move that could shake up the grocery market here. The Des Moines-based company said Monday that the expansion will take several years and begin in New Hope, where it is currently working on a site.”

Common sense seems to have prevailed in the Rogers High School tweeting scandal. Stribber Paul Levy reports: “Last week, it was [student Reid] Sagehorn who was stung when Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen said he could be charged with a felony for defamation. Beahen later admitted that the most Sagehorn could be charged with was a gross misdemeanor. But the Hennepin County attorney’s office said that after reviewing the police report, Sagehorn had committed no crime.” The story also notes that Sagehorn has changed schools.

More propane assistance for low-income citizens … The AP says: “With Minnesota still in the throes of the coldest winter in 35 years, state lawmakers are seeking solutions for a propane shortage affecting residents who use the fuel for heating. A House commerce committee was considering a proposal on Monday to put $20 million into a heating-assistance program for low-income Minnesotans. It could be fast-tracked when the Legislature convenes on Tuesday. An estimated 250,000 Minnesota households use propane to heat their homes.”

The GleanThe cops want this guy … John Brewer of the PiPress says: “East metro law enforcement officials are investigating two incidents of women being threatened at gunpoint Sunday by possibly the same suspect. In the first incident, a woman was carjacked in North St. Paul as she drove near Polar Arena at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday. … The woman managed to escape a few blocks away, but the man made off with her car. About fifteen minutes later, a woman was leaving a Maplewood fitness club near White Bear Avenue and County Road D when a man hopped into the passenger seat of her car and threatened to shoot her with the handgun if she tried to escape.”

Posted without additional comment. The latest from Ol’ Sooch in the PiPress: “This time around, it is not a levy, but a contract that the teachers want because now is the time to fight and to seek more funds for more counselors and social workers and nurses and smaller class sizes and librarians and social workers and language specialists and substitute teachers and special-education teachers and more art and more music and more libraries. … Look, I don’t know about you, but if you can’t educate a kid for $17,000 a year, then I think we are being played for saps. These employee additions, should the union get what they want, would certainly swell the ranks of the union.”

Do you really know the details of the best-selling Minnesota musical artists? Andrea Swensson at The Current writes: “Who are the best-selling Minnesota musicians of all time? It’s a big question, and after digging into the sales data for hundreds of Minnesota releases, it’s proven to be quite a complicated answer. … But what was more unexpected is that several artists who may be considered ‘one-hit wonders’ by the industry — Semisonic with their hit ‘Closing Time,’ Soul Asylum with ‘Runaway Train,’ the Rembrandts with ‘I’ll Be There For You,’ Marcy Playground with ‘Sex and Candy,’ etc. — ended up performing well on the album sales chart because their songs came out at a time when people weren’t really buying individual singles.” But yes, Prince and Dylan are the big dogs …

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Comments (57)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 02/24/2014 - 03:02 pm.

    Hy-Vee actually has a pretty nice weekly menu planning feature on your website, and you can have it emailed to you along with weekly shopping lists if you like:


    Sure it’s a marketing ploy meant to boost sales, but it looks pretty well put-together, and they certainly can’t stop you from using the information at the grocery store of your choice.

    Anyway, I just think it’s a pretty useful thing that they’re offering to the public.

    • Submitted by Stu von Wald on 02/25/2014 - 09:10 am.

      More about Hy-Vee

      I love Hy-Vee and shop there all the time. Nice selection and very friendly folks working there. Plus, I believe they are an employee-owned company 🙂

  2. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 02/24/2014 - 03:27 pm.

    Mankato laughing incident

    After viewing the clip of the ag panel in Mankato I got the impression Klobuchar, Walz and Peterson laughed because they were embarrassed to be connected to the Obamacare debacle. It was more of a nervous laugh, than a laugh about someone’s suffering. Then Peterson quickly disassociated himself from the discussion because he didn’t vote for Obamacare.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/24/2014 - 03:38 pm.

    In other words

    40% of the people believe your earnings belong to the collective, and not you. Scary.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 02/24/2014 - 03:59 pm.

      I suppose . . .

      If you want to define “the collective” as well-paved highways and bridges that don’t fall down . . . . .

    • Submitted by David Wintheiser on 02/24/2014 - 04:16 pm.

      It’s actually 32%…

      …if you read the article, but why do that?

      Frankly, given how much it would cost to do a rebate, I’d be fine with simply taking the surplus and ‘banking’ it in a rainy-day fund, since the only thing as reliable as death and taxes are eventual budget shortfalls.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 02/24/2014 - 05:39 pm.

        Strib caps

        The Strib caps the number of articles you can read without a subscription. For that reason I don’t make a habit of casually clicking on Strib links, and it wouldn’t surprise me if others don’t either. (I know you didn’t direct that at me, but I just wanted to throw that out there as it’s no longer automatically “free” to read the articles that are at links.)

      • Submitted by chuck holtman on 02/24/2014 - 06:30 pm.

        As I recall, the last time there was a surplus,

        and a clamor for a rebate, some suggested this should only follow a careful determination of the state’s reserve needs. But the political benefit of giving out the cash swept the prudence of Mr Ventura and the legislature aside, and sure enough not long after we fell into the debt crisis from which we’re only recently emerging.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 02/24/2014 - 04:19 pm.

      That’s the real question, isn’t it?

      How much of your earnings is a result of the society in which you live? How much do you feel is the appropriate cost of being a member of that society, for using its communal property to achieve your own personal wealth?

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/24/2014 - 04:35 pm.

        That is the question

        Are you a sharecropper in a collective or are you a free man who owns his own labor?

        This nation was founded as a free society. It’s apparent that the failure of our educational system has put that assumption at risk.

        • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 02/24/2014 - 04:59 pm.

          Except you and the rest of the tea party don’t get it.

          Your ability to create wealth, at least in part, comes from what the rest of the society helps create for you.

          No man is an island, and you will never be enlightened enough to see it.

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/24/2014 - 05:30 pm.

            So I take it

            you’ve accepted your sharecropper status.

            • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 02/24/2014 - 11:20 pm.

              I work to make money.

              but I’m not so blind to think I could do it without the help of American society. Myopic doesn’t even begin to describe your worldview.

              I have a car; one that operates in a safe manner, thanks to laws and regulations.
              I have a road that leads from my home to the many different places that I ply my trade, thanks to a centralized government and its taxing authority and the taxed wealth of many people, living and deceased.
              I have clean air to breathe, no thanks to private corporations, but thanks to government regulations.
              I have clean water to drink, thanks to infrastructure; again provided by a centralized government, its taxing authority and the the taxes wealth of countless people. And also thanks to government regulations against pollution.

              That is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

              I imagine my efforts to enlighten you will be fruitless, but my goodness, you live in a world that does not exist.

              • Submitted by chuck holtman on 02/25/2014 - 08:40 am.

                Well said, Mr Fischer.

                Though you might have mentioned that, most fundamentally, even the concept of “wealth” itself doesn’t exist without collectively created and enforced rules about transactions, property rights and currencies.

                Mr Tester equates anarchy with freedom. But he ought to test his theories against the empirical evidence. Folks found anarchy to be sufficiently unsupportive of the striving for freedom that they moved on to the comparatively more freedom-giving system of feudalism.

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/24/2014 - 09:11 pm.

            If I earned a loaf of bread

            and you didn’t, do you deserve half?

            It’s not surprising that those who most believe in the collective are those who contribute to it the least.

            • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 02/24/2014 - 10:07 pm.

              Nice diversion.

              How did you earn the money to buy the loaf of bread?

              • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/25/2014 - 08:16 am.

                I built a website

                But I suppose you want credit for that too.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/25/2014 - 11:18 am.

                  The Internet

                  So, you make a living building websites that only exist on an internet that was developed as a taxpayer-funded government initiative.

                  At some point, you HAVE to realize that, by definition, society is a group of people who live together, under some semblance or order and structure, and that we better succeed when we collaborate with one another and build upon the work of those who came before us. You wouldn’t have that career without taxpayer funded initiatives. No-one wants credit for your work- they want you to credit those who made your work possible.

                  • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/25/2014 - 12:08 pm.

                    Contrary to popular belief

                    the government doesn’t own the internet. The companies who own the switches, routers and connection services do.

                    This nation isn’t a 350 million-person collective. It’s a nation of 350 million individuals who live under a republican form of government who’s primary role is to protect their constitutional rights. I understand that some people desire a central government to provide for their every need, but unfortunately for you, that’s not their role.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/25/2014 - 12:55 pm.

                      I didn’t say the government owned the internet. I said that they funded it’s development, and that it would not exist, at least not in it’s present form, without it. If it weren’t for those expenditures in digital infrastructure over the course of 40-50 years, you would not have a demand for the type of work you do.

                      Those companies who own those switches and routers don’t really own the internet either, just those particular components of it.

                      You, as someone who served in the US Navy, did join a ‘collective,’ who’s stated motto is “Not for self but for country.” That country consists of those 350 million individuals you speak of… the sum total of which constitutes American society. And yes, the armed services support and defend the federal government, and yes, that government is sworn to uphold the constitution and laws of the land.

                      I don’t personally want or advocate for a government that ‘provides for my every need.’ I do, however, advocate for a government that provides core services that are beneficial to the common good. Things like water, roads, police/fire service, etc etc. We, the People, get to decide at some level what those services that government provides should be.

                      What’s ACTUALLY unfortunate for me, is that one political party in this country is hell-bent on their own political victories at the expense of the rest of us.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/25/2014 - 03:42 pm.

                      Might be tough

                      For you to run that website without electricity. Which of course is delivered through a quasi governmental public/private partnership. I would imagine you relish the end of net neutrality as well, without that governmental interference after all, content providers such as yourself get the freedom to pay through the nose to those companies “at the switch” as it were. Being gouged for the privilege of using their bandwidth must be liberating.

            • Submitted by Tim Walker on 02/25/2014 - 07:36 am.

              You’ve got that 180 degrees backwards, Dennis

              “It’s not surprising that those who most believe in the collective are those who contribute to it the least.”


              Last I checked, the corporations getting massive tax breaks and underpaying their share toward supporting a civil society were *against* the “collective” and *for* directing their wealth to their shareholders.

              Just one more point of evidence that you live in a fact-free, upside-down world.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/27/2014 - 09:20 am.


              Speaking of using things paid for by other people, I noticed you aren’t a Minnpost member, yet you do spend an awful lot of time here on the message boards.

        • Submitted by Lance Groth on 02/24/2014 - 06:19 pm.

          You didn’t build that alone

          Are you a citizen or an outlaw? How is a business or entrepreneur going to succeed without transportation infrastructure & maintenance, schools, law enforcement, etc.? It is so disappointing that I have to point out such an elementary concept that I agree there has been an education failure somewhere along the way. “Free” does not mean anarchy.

  4. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 02/25/2014 - 08:05 am.

    Yes, give the surplus back

    Then raise taxes when there’s a deficit. Because that’s how I run my household. When my bills are paid and there’s a little extra in my wallet, I quit my job. Then, when the creditors come hounding, I resume working until I’m in the black. Then I just repeat the cycle over and over again. That way, the Collective never gets what it’s really after.

  5. Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/25/2014 - 09:52 am.


    Folks like our friend Dennis still believe in an adolescent fantasy that they should be able to do what they want, how they want, and when they want. They never outgrew the phase of life in which they believed they knew all, and that anyone else attempting to exert any authority over them is a direct assault on their person. Its a very attractive mindset, as its much easier to see the benefits one receives as a direct result of some isolated personal act as opposed to a complicated string of circumstance that led to the outcome. Many folks dislike complexity. What is even more discouraging is the string of so called “thinkers”, Rand foremost among them, whose pop philosophy musings led so many to accept this philosophy as something other than justification for what would otherwise be labled detestable, exploitative behavior towards their fellow citizens.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/25/2014 - 11:10 am.

      Some of us

      happen to believe that the vision of the Founding Fathers wasn’t an adolescent fantasy. But given the state of government education today, I can see how that would be your impression.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/25/2014 - 12:01 pm.

        And the rest of us don’t want to live in a nation that accepts slavery and doesn’t give women the right to vote. It is acceptable and expected that each generation should come forth and define or redefine the world they want to live in and the world they want to leave to their children.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/25/2014 - 12:40 pm.


        Perhaps you should sell access to that direct line you use to contact the spectres of our nation’s founders. Else wise your interpretation of their intent is just that, YOUR interpretation. I would certainly wish that more of your ilk would recognize that they speak for themselves only, not for those long dead and buried.

  6. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/25/2014 - 11:18 am.

    Oregon refunds surpluses to the taxpayers by law

    and I hope that never happens in Minnesota.

    Why? Well, you see, most of the time I lived there, I earned pretty close to the median income, and do you know what my refund was? About $80.

    Since I earned the median income, that means that half the taxpayers, the ones who could actually use a little extra income, received less than $80.

    Meanwhile, corporations like Nike and the super-wealthy (like one company founder who said “I have so much money I don’t know how to spend it all”) received much more.

    This was during an era when school districts were having to cut expenses and lay off teachers every year, when state parks were closed, and (thanks to a three strikes and mandatory minimum sentence initiative), prisons HAD TO be funded, even if everything else fell apart.

    I don’t know what size refund the advocates are envisioning, but unless they’re part of the super-rich, it won’t be very much, and the more they need the refund, the less it will be.

  7. Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 02/25/2014 - 01:39 pm.

    Build the Budget Reserve & Rainy-Day Fund

    You remember the days when Minnesota had a top credit rating? You know why we don’t anymore? Jesse Checks, followed by a slight economic downturn, followed by T-Paw.

  8. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/26/2014 - 02:09 pm.

    The poll

    The Minnesota Poll is famously unreliable.

  9. Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2014 - 08:52 pm.

    Collective’s Share?

    To the “collective” supporters, apparently many of us work over ~4/12ths of the year to pay our debt to society. And to have a portion of the our efforts given to the less fortunate.

    What do you think is enough?
    What do you think would be too much?

    As I have repeatedly pointed out, that percentage just keeps increasing decade after decade. Do you really look forward to having 50% of your children’s compensation be collected and spent by the government? Or maybe 60%?

  10. Submitted by Jon Lord on 02/27/2014 - 08:20 am.

    What would John do with the poor of the country I wonder? If he could.

    As a ‘collective’ we have our roads paved and potholes filled, bridges repaired, Schools funded, public transportation funded, electrical grid repaired, parks built and supported, police paid for and the list goes on.

    As Matt alluded to, some fantasize that those things would just magically happen if we didn’t fund those things as a collective, or in other words ‘as a community’.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/27/2014 - 10:40 am.


      So how much is enough? This link came via Winning Progressives.

      I am pretty sure they had all those services in the 1950’s… (ie roads paved and potholes filled, bridges repaired, Schools funded, public transportation funded, electrical grid repaired, parks built and supported, police paid, etc) In fact a lot of them were being created back then…

      So how much of our children’s income do you want funneled through and directed by the government?

      As compared to spent by their personal choices?

      • Submitted by Jon Lord on 02/28/2014 - 12:05 pm.

        avoidance is right!

        You didn’t answer my question about what you would do about the poor in this country.

        They did indeed have those services. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the president who warned us against the industrial-military complex made the first move to improve our infrastructure. Why would you think that should be enough? Why should we stop now?

        What do you want to spend on the infrastructure if you had a choice? You’d spend what? Nothing?

        What you are saying is it’s time to stop funding our country. A dangerous move in the world as we know it.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/03/2014 - 09:42 am.

          Minimize the Blue

          No I think all the spending except the blue seems fine. That should more than cover defense, infrastructure, regulatory issue, education, governance, etc.

          As for the poor, that is a challenge that spending more does not seem to be solving. Maybe encouraging charity would be more effective.

          The only downside is that Liberals would complain the the charitable rich are paying too little in taxes…

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/27/2014 - 12:26 pm.

      I pay

      more than half of my earnings to government. That should be plenty, sir.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/27/2014 - 03:28 pm.

        Ahh, the vaunted ‘imaginary’ tax bracket.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/27/2014 - 04:42 pm.

          It’s not imaginary

          if you can do math.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/27/2014 - 10:35 pm.

          Math 101

          Upper Middle Class Self employed persons marginal rates.
          +28% Federal
          + 7% State
          +15% FICA
          + ?% Sales
          + ?% Property Tax

          The rich pay even more…

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/28/2014 - 09:56 am.

            You must have a bad tax guy

            You of course neglect to mention all of the credits and deductions available to that upper middle class self employed person that greatly reduce both the federal and state number. Nice of you to include the FICA et al since conservatives seem to forget about them whilst regaling us with stories of the lazy working class and their 0% tax rate.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/28/2014 - 10:03 am.

            I believe

            After some quick back of a notebook calculation the effective tax rate on the middle middle class income (whatever that is) for the federal portion amounts to 6% of the gross. We fall in the 28% bracket. I would expect similar numbers for the state as well. So spare me the apocalyptic rhetoric.

          • Submitted by Jon Lord on 02/28/2014 - 11:52 am.


            no loopholes? No tax write offs? I’ve heard differently but why count those right? Romney paid 15% overall and maybe less those years he wouldn’t produce the numbers for.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/03/2014 - 09:34 am.

              Please share

              What loop holes and write offs are you talking about?

              Most income and tax credits are phased out at higher income levels. And the alternative min tax wiped out most options for avoidance. The only benefit I know of is the lower rate on long term gains.

              Please provide a source for Romney’s “overall” being 15%. I think it was just his Federal that was 13%. And remember that he also gave ~14% to charity, an easy write off we can all use.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/28/2014 - 09:19 am.

          As it happens, I was self employed under my own single-member LLC for several years in the early 2000s, earning roughly what Dennis has indicated in the past here that he earned and supported a family on. I paid my taxes quarterly, and at the highest possible rate. I typically received a refund and never ever paid more than 50% of my income in taxes.

  11. Submitted by Robert Ryan on 02/27/2014 - 12:19 pm.

    I bet a lot of folks clamoring for the surplus to be refunded are the same folks who say that when the economy gets tight that government needs to cut back, maintenance deferred, etc. Good financial advisers say that families should save a surplus to cover unexpected expenses and economic problems. Well run businesses always strive to have money in the bank for unanticipated shortfalls.

    After Jesse Ventura liquidated the state’s surplus and we ran into economic hard times, the state had all kinds of problems that negatively impacted education and the infrastructure that business needs in order to function. Too many people want government to follow sound financial practices some of the time but not all of the time.

    Banking the surplus would be a prudent move.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/27/2014 - 02:51 pm.

      The problem with your analogy

      is that the government is neither a family nor a business. Unlike you and I, whatever resources they have is obtained by confiscating it from someone else through threat of incarceration.

      It would be like you going next door when you ran short one month and demanding money from your neighbor. He’d probably give it to you but you’d better be prepared to pay it back when you could afford it. That’s it. Think of it as a loan.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 02/27/2014 - 04:31 pm.

        Then why do you care

        if a president or any other politician has experience in business?

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/27/2014 - 04:48 pm.


          people who have held a job in the private sector, or better yet, have run a business, understand how the real economy works and how taxation, regulation and litigation negatively affect business, job creation and the overall economy.

          People who’ve never worked in the private sector or made a payroll or had to deal with government regulations lack the necessary empathy to be in charge of the American economy. Period.

          I read proof of it here every day.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 02/27/2014 - 05:28 pm.


            Well at least I now know you have the capacity. Can’t say I’m surprised as to where it’s directed.

      • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 02/27/2014 - 04:32 pm.

        My God, that’s rich coming from a Republican.

        How many times in the past six or more years have we had to hear analogies to a family’s budget from you people?

        So, now the government is NOT supposed to budget money like a family does? Make up your mind.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/28/2014 - 05:39 pm.

        So “the government is neither a family nor a business”?

        Then why do right wingers almost always respond to suggestions for tax hikes to balance the budget, “When my family has extra expenses, we just cut back on other things”?

        Why do right wingers almost always declare that “government should be run like a business.”

        I’m glad that Mr. Tester has admitted that governments are neither families nor businesses.

        (Actually, either a family or a business is wise to have a reserve fund set aside for emergencies, and my comment above about the roller coaster situation that Oregon goes through because of its legal obligation to refund surpluses suggests that it is wise for governments to do the same.)

  12. Submitted by Robert Ryan on 02/28/2014 - 10:53 pm.

    Easy to demonize

    It’s easy to use language like “confiscation” to demonize taxes, when in fact taxes are the cost of living in a civil society with courts, roads, an educated populace, law enforcement, and social programs that prevent society from descending into chaos.

    I work for myself and I know that what I charge factors in the cost of taxes. If I weren’t paying taxes, I wouldn’t charge as much, and my customers wouldn’t be willing to pay as much. And it probably would be a less stable place to do business.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 03/03/2014 - 07:52 am.


    Personally, I have given up the battle against the use of loaded terms. If people want to describe taxation in terms of confiscation or theft,

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