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Half of Minnesota’s millionaires really do live elsewhere

During all the discussions about taxing Minnesota’s millionaires to solve the budget problem, DFL leaders often pointed out that there are only 7,700 people making more than $1 million a year in the state, and half of them don’t even live here.

Their arguments didn’t carry the day, and the millionaires were protected when the shutdown was resolved with shifts and borrowing. But the claim about where the rich residents live is apparently largely true, MPR says.

The story from the news organization’s Poligraph report, which examines the veracity of political claims, looked particularly at House Minority Leader Paul Thissen’s statement that:

… Dayton’s plan to temporarily raise taxes on Minnesotans wealthiest, “even though it would only affect 7,700 people, and even though only half of those people are Minnesota residents!”

 Examining Revenue Department reports, the story says:

Thissen said that half of the millionaires Dayton’s new plan would have taxed don’t live in Minnesota year-round. For the most part, he’s correct. According to the revenue department, about half of the 7,700 returns from millionaires come from people residing elsewhere.

The evidence:

According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, 7,700 millionaires are expected to file with the state for tax year 2011. About 3,900 of those returns are coming from year-long Minnesota residents.

 The rest are from part-time or out-of-state filers. The former are people who move in the middle of the year and pay taxes in Minnesota and another state as a result. Non-residents are those who make money in Minnesota, such as income from a business or rent, but live somewhere else.

The revenue department can’t say precisely how many returns are from part-time residents and how many are from non-residents, but estimates that most are from the latter group.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by greg copeland on 07/28/2011 - 12:08 pm.

    The number of tax returns filed by millionares is interesting to the politicans in your story, but we need more facts to make good public policy.

    Knowing the break down on revenue collected from each of these sub-groups identified in the story, and whether there have been signifcant changes in revenue and place of residence over the last decade would be more helpful in making a policy evaluation of Minnesota’s Income Tax.

    Of course I am assuming we want tax policies that will keep wealthy Minnesotans investing, and living, in the Northstar state.

  2. Submitted by Jerry Buerge on 07/28/2011 - 02:20 pm.

    It would also be interesting to learn how many of them are sports or entertainment related, who would have a taxing responsibility through that reason only.

    These types are not too apt to contribute to Minnesota growth in any way other than taxation, in my opinion.

  3. Submitted by Max Hailperin on 07/28/2011 - 06:25 pm.

    Please, please, could the press stop referring to those with annual incomes over $1 million as “millionaires”? Millionaires are quite routine; as the book title has it, they live next door to us. They are the ones who have accumulated more than $1 million dollars in assets, often over many years. Anyone who retires in comfort is likely to be a millionaire. They are not the ones that were targeted by Gov. Dayton’s proposal.

  4. Submitted by Amy Hoglin on 08/02/2011 - 04:18 pm.

    I agree with Max. We must not confuse millionaires with people who have net annual incomes of one million or more. There’s a REALLY big difference between those two groups!

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