It’s not (just) about the money: the ideological underpinnings of the GOP’s push to eliminate one of America’s favorite tax deductions

REUTERS/Aaron Bernstein
Republican leadership had worked hard to kill the state and local tax deduction outright.

In the end, despite repeated Republican promises to simplify the tax code, most deductions will remain in place when President Donald Trump signs into law the GOP’s tax overhaul as expected, later this week.

But there was one sort-of victory in the Republican quest to get rid of carve-outs and special rules in the tax code, and it centers on one of taxpayers’ favorite deductions: the state and local tax deduction.

The so-called SALT deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local income and property taxes from their total taxable income, costs the federal government about $100 billion per year, and is a major tax break for residents of states, counties, and cities that impose high taxes.

The bill lawmakers are voting on this week will contain not a cut, but a cap of SALT — under the legislation, taxpayers can choose to deduct a maximum of $10,000 of either property or income taxes. Under current law, taxpayers can deduct all of what they paid to local governments in property taxes, and what they paid in either income or sales tax to states.

Republican leadership had worked hard to kill the deduction outright: Beyond looking for ways to add revenue to pay for a tax plan that can’t add more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade under Senate rules, most in the party are philosophically opposed to a deduction that they believe subsidizes states and localities that tax and spend too heavily.

This change could affect not just millions of taxpayers, but anyone who uses government services in a high-tax jurisdiction: By offering a break on dues to local governments, the SALT deduction works as a sort of indirect federal subsidy, giving local officials room to impose higher levies, raising more money for services like education, public safety, and transportation, among other things.

In Minnesota and in other higher-tax jurisdictions, officials on the state and local levels are concerned that this bill’s cap on the SALT deduction will, in turn, cap their ability to provide the level of social services they had before. Republicans argue that everyone will be better off in the long run — and that it might be a good idea, anyway, for states and local governments to reconsider how much they tax and spend.

Capping, not killing, a key deduction

A deduction for state and local taxes has existed as long as the federal income tax has. From the beginning, it was conceived of as a kind of indirect subsidy to state and local governments to help them provide services.

Professor V.V. Chari, a tax expert at the University of Minnesota, illustrated how that works with the example of a Minnesotan who makes $1 million a year, subject to a 9.85 percent state income tax rate and a top federal income tax rate of 39.6 percent.

That person can deduct $100,000 in state income tax alone from their federal tax liability, thanks to SALT. Their total taxable income drops to $900,000, which means “your federal tax liability is $40,000 less than it would have been if your state and local taxes were not deducted,” Chari explained.

“It’s as if the federal government is paying $40,000 to the state of Minnesota on your behalf.”

When factoring in local property taxes, Washington is doing even more subsidizing. The proposed 2018 budget for Hennepin County, for example, aims to rake in $800 million in net revenue from property taxes, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.

Republicans’ plan to do away with the SALT deduction didn’t sit well with Republican U.S. House members representing affluent corners of high-tax states like California and New York, where large numbers of filers claim the SALT deduction.

Eliminating the entire deduction would have saved the federal government $1.3 trillion over the course of a decade, which would have funded a significant chunk of the overall GOP plan. The $10,000 cap will still do a lot of work to pay for the plan: The Tax Foundation, a right-leaning think tank, estimates that it will save the government roughly $500 billion in the coming decade.

The cap will also have a significant effect on how state and local governments tax and spend. With the federal government paying less to states and counties on taxpayers’ behalf, they will feel the weight of a tax burden that to this point had been shared by Washington.

Minnesota ranks in the top third of all states by share of taxpayers who claim the SALT deduction: 32 percent of Minnesotans do, which is a lower rate than states like Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey, but a greater one than Minnesota’s neighbors. According to the National Association of Counties, the average deduction across Minnesota is $12,000; in Hennepin County, it is closer to $17,000. A total of $12.25 billion is deducted from Minnesotans’ tax liabilities through SALT.

If the legislation passes, the average taxpayer in Minnesota, Hennepin County, and several other counties around the state will be unable to deduct thousands of dollars from their taxable income, increasing their liability. As a result, Chari predicts “there’s going to be political pressure from affluent taxpayers to reduce property and income taxes.”

‘Punishing’ states and counties

As the new cap on SALT hits taxpayers, it will be up to states, counties, and cities to decide if, or how, to adjust their tax rates and spending levels accordingly.

At this stage, advocates for local governments are not making predictions about how exactly they will respond to what amounts to a subsidy reduction from the federal government, but they are broadly pessimistic about the effect the policy change will have.

Jack Peterson is an assistant director at the National Association of Counties, an umbrella group for county governments that has been lobbying against changes to the SALT deduction. “Candidly,” he says, “we’re still working through all the different ways different pieces of the bill will interplay together.”

But he explained that the SALT deduction preserves the ability of county governments to have control over the services that residents are provided. “Anything that inhibits local ability and control of raising revenue has a pretty direct tie to local services,” he says. “There will be decisions across the country about what to do with potentially lower revenues.”

Jim McDonough, a member of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, will be on the front lines of that discussion if the GOP tax bill passes as expected — the average SALT deduction claimed in his county is about $13,000.

“As a county commissioner, I’m making decisions on taxes based on the need for services, what the community expects, how to balance that with the property tax to homeowners, businesses in the community,” McDonough told MinnPost. “With the capping of SALT, it makes us be much more aware.”

“They’re taking dollars folks have already paid to state and local governments as taxes. That’s not good policy, in my opinion.”

Fourth District DFL Rep. Betty McCollum said the GOP tax bill “punishes Minnesota taxpayers and makes it harder to sustain our important public investments.”

What kind of effect would the policy change have in real terms? The U of M’s Chari forecasts a 5 to 7 percent decrease in spending at the local and state levels as a result of the GOP tax bill.

“People are talking about doomsday scenarios that are overselling the importance of the state and local tax deduction in terms of taxpayer willingness to fund local public services,” he said. “The 5 percent is serious business, but it’s certainly a cut that is not going to lead to a giant reduction in services.”

Republicans: Governments need to make the case for high taxes

Republican backers of the tax legislation, like 2nd District Rep. Jason Lewis, maintain that eliminating the SALT deduction will help most households, and will spark an overdue discussion in some states about high tax and spending rates.

Lewis, whose district has the second highest rate of SALT-claiming taxpayers of any Minnesota congressional district, said if capping the deduction forces local governments to explain and justify tax and spending to constituents, all the better. “The idea that we’re going to raise your taxes and, oh, deduct it over here so we subsidize $1.2 trillion over 10 years did let bigger-spending states off the hook,” he said.

Lewis said he didn’t know if states, counties, and cities might lower spending or taxes in response. Whatever happens, he said, “they’re going to have to explain it, and get [taxpayers] to buy in.”

Nudging state and local governments to reduce spending and taxes by cutting the SALT deduction has been a popular idea among Republicans for decades. President Ronald Reagan tried to kill the deduction during his presidency, but failed. Bruce Bartlett, an aide to Reagan, wrote in 1985 that cutting SALT could rein in state and local spending by as much as 14 percent and put “spendthrift lawmakers” on notice around the country. In October, Speaker Paul Ryan said the SALT deduction “props up big-government states” and has given them an incentive not to get their act together.

To McDonough, this line of argument is inconsistent with the principles of a GOP that counts federalism and local control as foundational principles. “I think they’re trying to tie our hands,” he says, by making it harder to pay for services that local governments have invested in.

He cast the debate as one of fairness, arguing that cutting the SALT deduction rewards conservative states that have low taxes but take a high share of federal dollars for programs, while punishing jurisdictions that have invested locally with higher taxes.

“This move punishes states that have chosen to take on investments in their community by making it more costly for constituents,” he said. “Not all of us want to be Mississippi or South Carolina. We want our businesses to succeed, provide an educated workforce … to do that you have to have an education system, infrastructure, all things taxes pay for.”

The other side casts the issue as a question of fairness, too. “The law is the same in Wyoming as it is in California or New York or Minnesota,” said Lewis. “Anyone that feels they’re paying more anywhere, it probably isn’t federal law, it’s the local government spending too much and taxing too much. That’s not good governance.”

The tax bill is up for final votes in the House and Senate on Tuesday, and it’s expected to arrive on President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the week. Its passage into law would be a blow for advocates of the SALT deduction, but the fact that it is just capped, and not entirely killed off, provides a glimmer of hope.

“The principle behind the SALT deduction is accepted in the legislation,” NACO’s Peterson says. “So we’ll continue to work to make that as accessible to middle-income families and as many counties across the country as possible.”

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Comments (85)

  1. Submitted by Bill Davnie on 12/19/2017 - 12:15 pm.

    SALT and Jason Lewis

    Jason Lewis’s claim in the third para from the end sounds reasonable but isn’t. Federal law may be the same everywhere, but that same law does not spend money evenly — it spends a lot more per person in poorer and more rural states, for a variety of reasons, than it does in Minnesota and similar states. Those reasons may or may not be justified, but they do direct a disproportionate share of federal domestic funds. If it weren’t for the more productive and better off states — that spend more money on education, infrastructure, health care and more — there wouldn’t be the extra money to shower on less productive states.

    • Submitted by Joe Musich on 12/19/2017 - 01:49 pm.

      And states…

      that subsidies will be doing that even more. Which means us here in Minnesota. Jason Lewis does not represent anyone in Minnesota. In fact. But his wealthy pals will walk away with the farm. This is how any economist with credibility views this tax bill fiasco. If the country were a business the Better Business Bureau’s complaints would be melting the wires. My children will suddenly have much more challenging lives at his and his cronies expense.

  2. Submitted by chuck holtman on 12/19/2017 - 02:35 pm.

    In addition to Mr. Davnie’s point

    (that a high level of collective investment in certain states creates fiscal benefits for less productive states), another concerns the internal incidence of state/local taxes compared with that of their expenditure.

    Higher-tax states and cities tend to have concentrations of those with a greater need for social support and investment. Those within higher-tax jurisdictions, then, are not paying higher taxes in order to return value for themselves (in which case the different tax treatment of personal and collective spending could be questioned), but in order to shoulder a social burden to support their less-fortunate fellow citizens, a burden made more disproportionate by those who have absconded to lower-tax redoubts.

    To this extent, the Republicans’ curtailing of the deduction – forcing a reduction of local spending to free up funds to reduce taxes on the wealthy – is just one more stone turned to confiscate as much of the social wealth as possible for their patrons’ pockets.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/19/2017 - 10:12 pm.

      This is not about productive and not productive states (and how is it even determined?). This is about wealthy people in wealthy states helping poor people in poor states. Isn’t it fair?

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/20/2017 - 04:47 pm.

        So in your mind

        Its fair for Minnesota to get back ~ 69 cents for every $ they pay to the fed and S. Carolina gets about $8.
        Its really about dragging well run states down to the likes of terribly run states, It all fits into the lets make America like Russia scheme of “T” and evidently the “R’s” have bought into as well.
        On a 2nd note: Explain why states that pay are not productive? Where does the $ come from?

        • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/21/2017 - 10:30 pm.

          “Its really about dragging well run states down to the likes of terribly run states” Which is the same as forcing successful people to pay for those who are not, right?

          “Explain why states that pay are not productive? Where does the $ come from?” From the wealthy people who live in those states, where else? They may earn their money in a different place or from stocks…

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/22/2017 - 02:08 pm.


            First, In America, on a citizen level we are subsidizing the rich not the poor. Your argument holds no water, when you look at the facts and the trends. You are aware of the special loop holes for the well to do? You are aware that “T” will make $M’s off this bill, and folks @ < ~ $25-30K get zero! Tell me again how that is taking from the rich and giving to the poor? The rich in America are not subsidizing the poor, if they were, why does the middle class keep shrinking and the upper 1% keep getting richer, and the distance from uber rich to uber poor keep getting wider? Your fundamental assumption is flawed! Second: The states were carved out in the formation of the country, 1 state should not have authority over another state, The SALT law was available to, every state, there is nothing, rich or poor about it. In case you didn't get it, poor folks pay sales tax as well, as well to do, and a larger portion of their income $ is eaten up by taxes then the well to do. Minnesota chose to invest in some things and others chose not too. So if Alabama wants to leave the money in the hands of their residents for NASCAR, cigarettes and fried chicken, its their choice. Why should Minnesota now be penalized for investing in education & environment? Should we penalize Alabama for increased healthcare costs for there higher need for lung cancer heart ailment treatment and hearing aids? (Those were not meant to be funny, they are real issues) We as a community chose to increase our taxes, to subsidize ourselves for what the Fed would not. So your argument really seems to be, We should all race to the bottom! Are not states entitled to self determination, or is that not part of the constitution you want to discuss? The argument that the Feds subsidize is hogwash. Are we now going to go through every tax return and try to equal them out across all the states, so no state has folks that get a deduction advantage over folks in another state? Make sure farm states don't get agriculture tax advantages over non-farm states? You want fair, right?

            • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/22/2017 - 10:37 pm.

              The top 1% pays about 40% of all taxes and the lower 50% pay about 3% of the taxes. If this is not the rich subsidizing the poor, I don’t know what is. State borders are arbitrarily and states consist of people so it should not matter for the wealthy where the poor they subsidize live.

              “Why should Minnesota now be penalized for investing in education & environment?” So if you pay for yours and your kids education – both in home and in college – and become relatively well off, would taking more taxes from you to pay for the health of someone who smoked be called “penalizing you for investing in education?”

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/23/2017 - 12:06 pm.

                Put all the facts on the table

                If the top 1% own 38.6% of all the financial assets in America, shouldn’t they be paying 38.6% of all the tax, state, local, Federal, and then some? 38.6% would be equal, not a progressive Tax system.


                • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/23/2017 - 09:13 pm.

                  Actually, top 1% owns about 33% but that is actually irrelevant because we are talking about income tax so it is income that is important, not wealth. And the top 1% earns less than 20% of the total US income But even that is irrelevant to the topic in question because the point is that the wealthy pay much more than the poor because whatever the poor pay is not enough.

                  • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/24/2017 - 11:17 am.


                    Salt includes property TAX.

                    “But even that is irrelevant to the topic in question because the point is that the wealthy pay much more than the poor because whatever the poor pay is not enough”

                    (Prove it!) And lets be philosophically honest and not forget to add in payroll taxes,sales tax (Per comment pass through property tax) , Auto License Tax, gas tax, alcohol tax, cigarette tax, telecommunications Tax, city fees, city Tax, county tax, solid waste management tax, taxes us common folk see every month for basic services, Just because you want to believe something, doesn’t make it so.

                    • Submitted by John Ferman on 12/24/2017 - 02:00 pm.

                      SALT Iincludes Property Tax

                      Might not be true. Note that little word “or.” Every write-up in the the newspapers say “local and state property taxes OR income taxes.” If the reporters have not made a mistake, then you can not deduct both.

            • Submitted by Mike Hindin on 12/24/2017 - 08:23 am.

              Low income neighbors pay property taxes directly or as a portion of rent.

              • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/24/2017 - 01:18 pm.

                I agree – they do; much less than the wealthy but it’s fair since it’s proportional to the property values they own. But even on the local level (that is where the property taxes go to) the wealthy contribute much more to schools, roads, and parks even though everyone is using them equally. But we are talking about income tax…

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/26/2017 - 04:34 pm.


                Renters do not pay building costs, interest costs or property tax…

                They pay money of their free will to an Owner for a place to live.

                The owner pays all costs associated with keeping the property per the contract and law.

            • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/26/2017 - 07:15 am.

              The numbers you’re citing include federal installations, government and military. Southern states have lots of them.

              Second, I’m betting those states would be very happy to forego some of the sweet federal loot if Northern states would take their vacationing state dependents back. Look at the domestic migration:


              Finally, the response union members give when confronted with the cost of their organizing seems to fit here; if you want those kind of benefits, get on-board. Don’t blame others because they are better at the game.

  3. Submitted by John Appelen on 12/19/2017 - 03:52 pm.


    This discussion reminds me of when the SW Light Rail supporters were arguing that the line was a bargain because MN only had to provide only about 10% of the funding. Seemingly total indifferent to the 90% that was going to be paid from our Federal tax dollars.

    Now MN Liberals usually state that they believe the wealthy do not pay enough in taxes. Though the article uses averages, I am assuming that $10,000 is more than enough of a deduction for most of us normal people. So what is the issue? It seems that many here would be happy that the wealthy of MN will be paying more in Federal Taxes.

    Personally I think they should have cancelled SALT deductions even though it would cost me. My rationale is that each person should pay their fair share of the Federal taxes.

    And if they want to support additional spending at the local and state level, more power to them. Maybe the SALT deduction is part of why the Blue States always support tax increases on the successful folks… I mean they are only paying a part of the increase.

    • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 12/19/2017 - 04:17 pm.

      All states should receive no more funds

      From the federal govt than the amount of taxes collected by the federal govt for that state. Tired of paying for southern states and some other states

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/19/2017 - 05:59 pm.


        It would be interesting to compare the net benefit those Southern States receive… to the apparently very LARGE subsidy the wealthy and businesses in high tax States have been receiving from the Federal government.

        Just comparing MN to SD… Apparently SD may get a bit more in Aid, but they apparently get far less in this particular subsidy.

        Or just imagine California and how much money they have not been paying the Federal government.

        • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 12/20/2017 - 12:08 pm.

          Everyone should pay their fair share?

          LOL. The rich will not starting next year and the south has never paid their fair share.

        • Submitted by Bill Willy on 12/20/2017 - 07:22 pm.

          California, Mississippi, MN & SD

          “In 2014 California paid about $369 billion in total federal tax — or about $13 billion more than it received . . .

          “California [ranked] 42nd among the fifty states and the District of Columbia for the amount of federal per capita expenditure . . .

          “Mississippi had the highest ratio, receiving $2.57 in federal spending per dollar of taxes paid. New Jersey had the lowest, receiving just $0.77 per dollar.”

          California is a “donor state” that contributes more to the federal gov than it gets back.

          The Mississippi “bonanza” is pretty much typical for the “low tax states” people have been referring to here. It’s not unusual (because it’s the norm) for state’s like Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, S. Carolina, etc., to receive $2.25+ for every dollar they pay in federal taxes.

          In 2013 Minnesota ranked 47th on the list (that reflects each state’s ranking in per capita balance of payments, with 1 being most favorable and 50 being least favorable) and ranked 45th in 2016, meaning only six other states got back even less than we did for every dollar contributed which means MN is also a donor state (and has been for decades).

          South Dakota ranked 25th on that 2013 list, receiving a surplus, or “non-deficit balance of payments,” in the $2,000 to $4,000 per capita range which put them in the “net recipient state” category.

          This is probably one of the biggest (and potentially bi-partisan) issues relatively few people in the state are cognizant of. When a person takes a good look at the numbers involved and what it would mean if MN were able to reach the simple, fair and equitable, break even point of $1.00 in for every $1.00 out, it gets relatively amazing (fast) . . . And the potential benefit (to everyone) of reaching that break even point is something I doubt many, if any, Minnesotans would dispute or be opposed to.

          In terms of the specifics, according to MN Management and Budget, the amount of federal money received for every federal tax dollar paid by Minnesotans has ranged from 55-cents to last year’s high of an 87-cent return for our $1.00 paid (and it’s been that way since at least the 1970s).

          (Hint question 1: What’s 45 or 13 percent of either 80 or 100 billion dollars?)

          (Hint question 2: If, for round numbers sake, we paid $100 billion in federal taxes and got the same deal Mississippi gets, how much extra money would we have laying around every year and what do you think we might be able to do with it besides eliminating state income and fuel taxes and fighting over whether or not we should “Give the rest of it all back right now too!” ?)

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/21/2017 - 10:30 pm.

            I don’t get the point of this exercise. Wealthy states pay more and poor states receive more, just like wealthy people pay more and poor people receive more (which is actually some states are wealthy and some states are poor).

            • Submitted by Mike Hindin on 12/24/2017 - 08:31 am.

              Wealthy producing states vs poor stated

              Poor states under 40 years of Republican rule chose not to pay for their services and learned to eat at the federsl trough when senators like Jessie helms and Strom thurmond had enough seniority to control vast amounts of pork barrel spending.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/26/2017 - 07:30 am.

            The numbers leftists use to complain about giving vs taking states include fed contracts and military. Southern states welcome military installations. Mississippi, for instance;

            Camp Shelby
            Military Base
            Hattiesburg, MS

            Keesler Air Force Base
            Military Base
            Biloxi, MS

            Naval Air Station Meridian
            Military Airport
            Lauderdale, MS

            Columbus Air Force Base
            Columbus, MS

            Naval Construction Battalion Center
            Military Base
            Gulfport, MS

            US Air Force
            Air Force Base
            Columbus, MS

            Mississippi Adjutant General’s Office
            Military Base
            Jackson, MS

            Us Air Force
            Air Force Base
            Columbus, MS

            Camp McCain
            Military Base
            Grenada, MS

            Us Air Force
            Air Force Base
            Columbus, MS
            (662) 434-7002

            Meridian MS Air National Guard
            Military Base
            Meridian, MS

            Mississippi National Guard Hq
            Military Base
            Tupelo, MS

            Naval Air Station Meridian
            Naval Base
            Meridian, MS
            (601) 679-2505

            Mississippi Air National Guard
            Military Base
            Meridian, MS

            US Military Entrance Processing Sta
            Military Base
            Jackson, MS

            Air National Guard
            Air Force Base
            Flowood, MS

            Thompson Field MS National Guard Installation Exchange
            Military Base

            US Army Engineer
            Military Base

            Mississippi Army Natl Guard
            Military Base
            McComb, MS

            California used to have huge military bases and operations, most have left at the demand of the residents.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/20/2017 - 07:48 pm.

          Hers is your answer

          2 Data points: MN ~ 70 cents, S Carolina ~ $8 that’s ~ 11.4 X

          Imagine how much Calif, contributes to the economy: ~ 13.3% (Lets just shut that $2.5 T money machine down)
          PS: So much for the GOP mantra about states rights!

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/19/2017 - 10:11 pm.

        Do you want to say that Southerners don’t deserve help?

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/20/2017 - 07:28 am.

          Good Point

          That did seem like a very Conservative thing for him to say. 🙂

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/20/2017 - 07:49 am.

          You See Ilya

          We have been so cruel to the southern states, allowing them to become dependent on our welfare, their self worth has suffered. They need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Just like those red state politicians tell their own poor.

          Sauce for the goose, baby, sauce for the goose.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/20/2017 - 09:37 am.


            The States should compete for citizens and businesses on their own merits.

            Why do Liberals insist on sending SO MUCH money to the Federal government and mandating that it be spread out like pixie dust across the States?

            If you want a State to learn, strive and improve, subsidizing their current ineffective behaviors is not the way to do it.

            And those citizens and businesses you are concerned about can always move to a more “favorable” state. Which hopefully would encourage the failing State to seriously consider putting forth the effort to improve.

            Please remember that the Conservatives want to shrink the size and cost of our Federal government, and let the States take the responsibility of caring for their citizens. It is the Liberals who tend to want to grow the Federal Government… That is ironic that the Liberal States are frustrated at having to pay their fair share of the Federal taxes. 🙂

            • Submitted by ian wade on 12/20/2017 - 07:27 pm.

              “Please remember…”

              “Please remember that the Conservatives want to shrink the size and cost of our Federal government”
              Yeah, right….they just spent another two trillion to do it. Thanks for the chuckle.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/21/2017 - 03:21 pm.

                Please Explain

                Hi Ian,
                Please help me understand the “they just spent another two trillion”.

                I don’t think there is any doubt that the GOP would like to cut federal spending on education, welfare, Medicaid, etc. The idea being that States can raise their owns funds and administer their own programs. And that the local folks best know what will help their neighbors and communities.

                Unfortunately Liberals seem to keep insisting that the above need to be included in the Federal budget.

            • Submitted by Sarah Nagle on 12/28/2017 - 06:45 pm.

              Uh, no

              “Liberal” or “blue” states have higher state taxes b/c they value the things those taxes buy. “Red” states, in contrast, crow about their low income taxes and their “right to work” status, yet are the net recipients of Federal $$. Those red-staters talking about smaller govt. are also more dependent on things like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security – not to mention food stamps for their right to work.

              Funny how GOP presidents and Congresses manage to grow the government much more than the “liberals” – remember how Reagan exploded the debt?

              And as for not exempting state/local property etc. taxes – that’s double taxation, which is what Conservatives (to use your nomenclature system) bring up to protest corporate taxes.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/20/2017 - 07:41 pm.

        100% agreement

        Why does MN fund Red states? Lets connect some dots: If MN pays a federal tax $ we shpould get a full Fed tax $ back, if not, it seems that the more financially successful states (which tend to be blue) are funding the less financially successful states which tend to be red. Thus we get more”Red” politicians funded by Blue $, so we have the less financially successful folks telling the more financially successful folks how to run the country! Seems kind of an ignorant way to run America. How about we do it just like the tax bill, Take a lot more money from the less financially well to do states and give it to the well to do states, we’ll invest it wisely and some of that gain will trickle back down to the less successful states and they will all be better off.

  4. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/19/2017 - 10:12 pm.

    Can someone explain this to me please… SALT is a deduction that the poor never use; it is mostly for the well off living in the coastal and other high tax states, i.e. the liberal ones. So why do liberals protest that they will be paying more taxes if they always say that this is what they want? They will be paying more to help those, possibly in other states but what’s the difference, who need it… On the other hand, the state and local taxes should be based on what the needs are, not some federal regulations…

    • Submitted by Tim Milner on 12/20/2017 - 09:19 am.

      I don’t get it either

      Capping SALT is truly a way to get more tax revenue from the wealthiest segment of the population. Agree completely with Ilya – the poor never get any benefit from SALT. Plus the increase in standard deduction means even more middle class people will not benefit from SALT as they will gain more from the standard deduction than by itemizing.

      I am tired of tax implications being the primary consideration in making decisions. And even more tired of deductibility being the justification used by many industries to encourage decisions. Want a 2nd home or cabin? Fine – but there is no real reason for the government to subsidize that with an interest deduction. Same with so so many other things.

      Certainly there will be some pain for some people. But we really need to start moving towards decisions being made for primary reasons other than tax effect.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/21/2017 - 05:00 pm.

      Easy answer

      Follow the $: SALT allows states to provide better benefits, infrastructure and quality of life, we all benefit, I know that doesn’t fit into the “R” creed, I must personally benefit or its a bad investment. Why do you think the high SALT states have higher quality of life for, all its citizens. The states invest in their infrastructure inclusive of social programs, you know the stuff the “R’s” have been railing against forever, transit, low income housing, parks, bridges, water, parks, education, etc. etc. Seems some folks really struggle with this idea that as a community, state, county, city, etc. we can choose to tax ourselves and invest in our community. We do not personally have to benefit from each investment, however we do benefit from a better community. No one is stopping these other states from making, community investments, they just don’t see it as a value, if they did they would already been doing it. You folks seem to think the better answer is, punish those communities that have made good sacrifices and investments to benefit the communities that have not!

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 11:22 am.


        Are you sure you are not becoming a fiscal moderate. So let’s bring this back to me…

        I have worked for decades to learn, work, save, invest… Therefore I have been pretty successful. (ie like MN)

        Let’s say “Paul” squandered their K-12 education tax payer investment, stopped striving to improve their earning potential, has some limiting beliefs and maybe made some expensive mistakes. (ie like MS)

        Are you now saying that I should NOT be paying a much higher tax rate to help subsidize the life style / health insurance of Paul?

        Are you saying he should bear the consequences of his life choices? Instead of transfer them to other citizens?

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/22/2017 - 10:36 pm.

        “The states invest in their infrastructure inclusive of social programs.” They can still do it if the wealthy in those states will pay more – why are you against that?

        “Seems some folks really struggle with this idea that as a community, state, county, city, etc. we can choose to tax ourselves and invest in our community” So it’s OK for Edina to invest in itself and not share with Minneapolis? Should they pay taxes that go to Minneapolis schools?

        “Why do you think the high SALT states have higher quality of life for, all its citizens” I read that the poor (and even not that poor) cannot afford to live in SF, LA, NY…

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/20/2017 - 09:37 am.

    Actually, it’s not about money… AT ALL

    For the tax plan to be about money it would have to be grounded in some kind of coherent economic framework other than magical thinking, or at the very least, some semblance of reality. This is exactly the same ridiculous fantasy Republicans have relied on in the past, and it will produce exactly the same results. Deficits, debt, and financial crises. The difference is that Democrats have FINALLY stopped buying into it and Republicans are passing these budgets and tax bill completely on their own. Which means they’ll own the deficits, debts, and financial crises. When they come back later and demand cuts in Social Security, Medicare, etc. they’ll be on the hook for the budget deficits they claim require those cuts.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/20/2017 - 01:26 pm.


      Now I have concerns about the bill, however I definitely see an economic framework in it.

      Do really think that companies do not even consider the corporate tax rate when they choose where to locate, invest heavily and hire people?

      Do you really see Americans paying more for American goods and services even though they are more expensive due to the regulatory and tax expenses incurred by the companies?

      After decades of American consumers rewarding companies, workers and governments in other countries with their hard earned money… I am happy to try to make American Made cost effective, competitive and popular again.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/20/2017 - 02:54 pm.


        Companies take a lot of things into consideration, the problem with Republicans is they assume the ONLY thing ever considered is tax rates.

        Inflation rates have nothing to do with regulatory regimes.

        You’re not bring manufacturing jobs back to American shores with tax cuts.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/20/2017 - 07:47 pm.

          Cost of Doing Business

          I don’t know about the relationship between inflation and regulations, however I know that regulations and taxes can greatly increase the cost of doing business.

          My favorite example is Sarbanes Oxley, that has been a very expensive US law. Though it has been great for accounting and consulting firms.

          However I am pretty sure the US consumers are not ok paying more for “US products and services with high domestic content” to cover the additional taxes the US laws and regs incur on our companies.

          I see the winner of Global Competition being the country and citizens who can be the most effective and efficient… The one who has all healthy citizens learning, working, improving, etc with the lowest government drag on the system,

          Currently it seems to me that China and its citizens have the drive and determination necessary.

          I am not so sure the USA does when many of it’s citizens want to raise taxes and distribute the money to other citizens with no expectations regarding learning, working and helping our country succeed.

          Instead of seeing our employers as the enemy who needs to be taxed and regulated into submission. I would recommend finding a way to make them more successful and profitable. I am not sure what the USA would look like without our fortune 500, but I am guessing it would not be a very pleasant place.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/22/2017 - 08:44 am.

            Repetition doesn’t establish facts and reality

            “I don’t know about the relationship between inflation and regulations, however I know that regulations and taxes can greatly increase the cost of doing business.”

            Conservatives and republicans keep thinking that if they just keep repeating the details of their magical thinking they “win” the argument. The problem is no matter how many times you repeat rationales based on magic, there is no such thing as magic.

            Jon may not know about the relationships between inflation and regulations, but people who study economies do, and they tell us there is no solid relationship or causal connection. The most heavily regulated and taxed economies on the planet are also the wealthiest economies with the highest standards of living, and by and large the lowest consumer prices relative to income.

            The problem with magic plans based on single and simplistic principles like “low” taxes or “costs” of business is they assume that the whole universe and everything in is exists to make the the cost of doing business as cheap as possible, and make those who do business the wealthiest people on Earth.

            This delusion is incoherent because it assumes that only function of regulations and taxes is to increase the cost of doing business. From thousands of years of human experience, and from examples ranging from exploding oil wells in Gulf and coal mines in West Virginia, to Volkswagen’s dirty diesel engines, and fires in shirt factories we know that “business”, if left unregulated, will kill people and destroy the environment. We KNOW this, we don’t need an experiment. We know that unregulated monopolies aren’t “good” for consumers, and that they don’t yield the lowest prices. We also KNOW that unregulated financial markets and banking systems will collapse themselves. There is NO invisible hand of rationality protecting the “markets”, the environment, or health and safety. There is no magic.

            We don’t regulate because we want to increase the cost of doing business, we regulate because we have to in order to protect the environment, public health and safety, and even the “markets” themselves. Regulations and enforcement cost money, hence taxes.

            Any and all “business” entails paying certain “costs”, that’s business. You don’t get to use slave labor, dump toxic crap into the environment, or run and industry like a mob racket just so you can have the lowest business costs.

            Reasonable people can argue about the necessity of regulations and rules, but those arguments can only be based on data, experience, and reliable information… not mere “cost”. You don’t get to dump arsenic and lead into the water supply because it’s cheaper to do business that way. And if you can’t afford to do business without killing people, paying wages, and poisoning the environment, you don’t have a viable business model, or a product or service anyone really needs.

            So we’re back the basic observation that despite their obvious inferiority and failure, Republicans and conservatives want to move our society, nation, and economy closer to those of Somalia and Bangladesh, because their magic tells them those “models” will produce better economic and social results. I’m not exaggerating. Every time I say that they wig out but you’ll notice they have no coherent response to that basic observation. The fact that we have a president and congress making big decisions based on this garbage is dangerous to say the least.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 11:12 am.

              Same old question…. How many regulations and taxes are optimal?

              Personally I have never heard anyone say they want to eliminate regulations and/or taxes.

              As per my linked Nolan diagram elsewhere in these comments. We have been moving towards highly taxed and regulated for a very long time. How will we know when we have gone too far?

              I agree that we want to keep our environment clean, and yet we want to stay employed, and have power to live our lives…

              Now how to optimize the trade offs in very globally competitive world, that is the question. And we are very sensitive to that because most American consumers love low cost, high quality, high performance, high features, etc no matter who gains or loses a job due to their personal spending choice.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/22/2017 - 10:42 pm.

                Silly question

                Same old question…. How many regulations and taxes are optimal?

                I don’t know how old that question is, but it’s doesn’t really make any sense. Optimal for what? Taxes pay for government services, and regulations serve a variety of necessary functions. We don’t collect taxes or create regulations in order to optimize business conditions, they have their own functions and rationals. There is no optimal “number” of regulations or tax rate relative to business costs. You collect whatever taxes you need to in order to pay for services, and regulate whatever you have to regulate for whatever reason you have to regulate. Viable businesses can afford to pay taxes and conduct business without being toxic entities.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/23/2017 - 11:53 am.


                  Yes to determine optimal one needs a goal. My simplistic goal is to keep the standard of living for most responsible American citizens the best in the world into perpetuity. Even as the global competition grows in the future.

                  By responsible I mean citizens who successfully learn while in our free K-12 education system. Have and raise only the children they can afford in a 2 Parent loving family, And strive to live and work for the betterment of their family and our country. And yes we still need to support the truly disabled and unfortunate, however our goal should be to keep that number to a minimum by stressing the importance of being a responsible citizen for the good of all.

                  Since the world is very Capitalistic… The trick is how to operate our country efficiently, attract good jobs and promote people being great employees.

                  • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/24/2017 - 10:07 am.

                    YOUR goal

                    Yes, as always it comes down to YOUR assumption that YOUR values are so superior that they will accomplish your goals. So it’s not about economics, or data, or history, it’s simply a magical belief in your own values.

                    You’re problem (and that of your fellow conservatives/Republicans/libertarians is that you live in a liberal democracy. In a free country like this everyone isn’t required to live according to your values, and the US Constitution explicitly prevent the government from endorsing your values over those of everyone else. The other problem is we’ve seen Republican values, and we’re not impressed.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/27/2017 - 11:47 am.


                      Well, I have stated a goal that is pretty straight forward and aims to improve things for all American citizens. (ie responsible Parenting, Good education / skills, strong work ethic and desire to continuously learn)

                      Now are you saying that you disagree with these?

                      Please share your goal for America.

            • Submitted by Jean Bergen on 12/23/2017 - 12:35 pm.

              Clash of worldviews

              These observations are well said; however, the sticking point that prevents liberals and conservatives from understanding each other lies much more deeply than opinion–the vast differences between liberal and conservative world views originate in our neurological wiring. We scratch our heads over our inability to understand each other’s rationale, and that’s because rationality is actually subjective. Neuroscience and psychology show us why liberals and conservatives approach the same experiences and facts in such vastly different ways, which at least takes the mystery out of our polarized political state. A couple of good overviews of the science of political difference are found here:



              And a summary of Lakoff’s liberal and conservative models can be found here:

              Neuroscience has shown that the conservative mind is more fear based: the fight-or-flight region of the brain is activated during decision-making, while the liberal person’s brain lights up more in the region of social- and self-awareness and emotion (empathy). This explains many aspects of the two different world views; e.g., why conservatives prefer to defend their attitudes instead of consider new information, like scientific data. It also explains the fear-factor mode of conservative cable news and talk radio.

              Neuroscience and psychology have explained our contrasting political ideas for many years, and these studies are ongoing. Political campaigns know all about these differences, obviously, and they work hard to convince swing voters to value one outlook over another, because science also shows us that our wiring is malleable. World views can change in either direction.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/23/2017 - 02:50 pm.

                Not Sold

                The first 2 were interesting however the 3rd was too long.

                I agree that a large difference is with regard to how people think / feel, however I am not sure one is better or worse than the other. My simplest example is Illegal Residents / Workers.

                Many liberals seem to want to open the borders and “save everyone”, even though America has plenty of low academic low skill citizens who are struggling financially. When I recommend that we close the border to folks like this and deport more of the illegal workers so that low end job wages will rise in the USA. (ie reduce supply increase price) The Liberals object.

                Whereas yes the Conservatives seem to sometime go overboard on the other side.

                I keep wondering if the primary difference is just plain old Thinkers vs Feelers… An interesting test would be putting them in one of the Titanic’s life boats… Would the Conservatives only fill the Life Boat to capacity and let all the others freeze to death? Would the Liberals try to save everyone and end up capsizing the life boat?

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/24/2017 - 10:17 am.

                False premise

                The problem with Jean’s comment is that it presumes a failure of understanding. The issue here isn’t that conservatives and liberals don’t understand each other, we understand each other, we just disagree. I know exactly what Republicans are saying, thinking, and promoting, I understand their agenda and positions perfectly. I’m not fighting them because I don’t understand, quite on the contrary.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/26/2017 - 11:28 am.


                  If you are fighting “Conservatives”, you must be doing some incredible prejudiced stereotyping.

                  This weekend I was seriously called a “socialist” by a “Conservative”. I think there is a lot more individual diversity within the GOP than you can honestly acknowledge.

                  Imagine if I said…

                  “I know exactly what Democrats are saying, thinking, and promoting, I understand their agenda and positions perfectly.”


          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/22/2017 - 09:24 am.

            Same old Rhetoric

            Regulation: is not a bad word, Increase cost?: My favorite example is: Should companies be able to take their pollution and dump it in the commons? Its much cheaper that way, when they have to cover the costs of their waste they scream this is an increase in cost, seems your point is no, they ought to be able to dump that pollution on the average tax payer and let them cover the cost! Yes, cleaning up pollution is not cheap, who should pay that cost?

            Sarbanes Oxley: Expensive, maybe, seems your perspective is better to let large companies run Pyramid schemes and abuse the financial markets, lie to and screw investors? The law came from corporate abuse and by the way was signed into law by George W Bush, last check he was a Republican. .

            Perhaps you need to clarify pay higher? Seems Target, Walmart, GM, Nissan, Toyota, Whole foods etc.are fine setting higher standards, safer, healthier, for imported as well as domestically manufactured, grown products etc. The word Organic demands a higher price, and gets it. Seems American’s are fine paying more money for better products and services, as well as demanding social accountability from companies. Didn’t the investors at Exxon, demand that they put together a Climate change plan? That has got to cost $! Not all people are just $ driven regardless of the consequences, and in today’s world seems corporate America isn’t either.

            Our employers as the enemy? Seems the equation is actually the other way around: Companies see employees as a “cost” factor and if they could use them up and throw them away with no consequence like the good old days they would be fine with it. No health care, none of those safety regulations, low to no wages, no retirement, no responsibility.

            Not sure what our country would look like if the unions lost all the battles in the coal mines, steel mills, auto companies etc. It is clear you prefer more of a Oligarch type society that has big benefits for those on the top (earned/fair or not) and little and minuscule for those at the bottom, remember good wages, and benefits are all, costs of doing business. You definitely aren’t a Henry Ford kind of guy. PS: you got rusty!

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 11:35 am.

              Now if American consumers were on board with “Buy American” to support our “American Workers” and our Governmental regulation / taxation… That would be excellent !!!

              History shows that they are not. The primary factors in buying are:
              – High quality
              – Best looking
              – Low cost
              – Best features
              – Best reliability

              None of which bodes well for higher than global average American employee compensation.

              Rarely do I find the American Consumer who adds Highest American content to the equation.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/22/2017 - 02:24 pm.

                Nice Rhetoric

                But it doesn’t work:
                “Now if Chinese, Japanese, French, (pick a name) consumers were on board with “Buy (pick the matching name) to support our “(pick the name) Workers” and our Governmental regulation / taxation… That would be excellent !!!”
                It would also say that we will export nothing, because every country would subscribe to the same rhetoric. If not why shouldn’t/wouldn’t they?
                For a free market guy, the “R” platform, you seem to be struggling, or have your own version of “Wealth of Nations”
                History also shows that protectionism does no’t work, and that the tactics and dialogue to get there is fascist in nature leading to social destabilization, for historic context see the written works of what lead to WWII.
                Last point, so if we are not able to get Lithium in the US, (can’t buy American Litium) i.e. we should not produce Lithium batteries! Don’t start carving out exceptions, philosophically that’s cheating!

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 04:11 pm.

                  Please note

                  No where did I discuss governments limiting trade in any way.

                  I said if American consumers were willing to pay a premium for products and services because they value American regulations, American taxes, American jobs and American incomes.

                  And I never said to ignore the other factors… I personally own a Yamaha FJR1300 because Harley did not sell a sport touring motor cycle like that.

                  However I always start with the domestic products. Here is one good source of information.

                  As for rare earth metals, the US is choosing not to mine them… That is a choice.

                  • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/22/2017 - 06:31 pm.

                    It was noted

                    “Buy American” to support our “American Workers” and our Governmental regulation / taxation… That would be excellent !!!”

                    What is the difference from “buy American” to buy Chinese etc? Harley has a 1200, Indian has a 1000, Why didn’t you buy American? Precisely the point, you went right to the loop hole, well it wasn’r exactly what I wanted! You start out with this patriotic “Buy America” and end up with do as I say not as I do. I even warned you about being philosophically dishonest. Most folks don’t care where you start, they care where you spent your money. The Lithium was just an analogy. Followed the link and found “0” on limiting rare earth extraction, found a lot on finding new ways to more easily extract them.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/23/2017 - 08:13 am.


                      Please remember something… Though I try to buy and promote buying high American content when possible, I am a fiscal conservative, meaning I am okay with free trade, and companies moving as needed to satisfy their customers and investors.

                      To me it is many Liberals who are philosophically dishonest. Usually they say they support American Workers Unions, Higher wages, More domestic taxes, etc while driving their high foreign content vehicles and talking on their Samsung cell phone about how we should allow more low skill illegal workers to stay in the USA.

                      Their words say one thing, and their actions say something totally different. And worse, they berate companies for sending jobs to lower cost locations while sending their money to that same location.

                      As for Lithium, the reality is simply that the prices are too low. Though it sounds like they are trying to reopen the mine. It is kind of like our potential North Shore Copper Nickel mine. American consumers wanting the metal but not wanting the mine…

                      “They are trying to make a fairly environmentally dangerous business environmentally compliant in an environmentally conscious place like California,” Starke said.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/23/2017 - 08:23 am.


                      As for an FJR vs HD, Victory or Indian… That seems a bit like comparing a pickup truck to a sedan…Both can be very nice and useful, however they are very different.


                      When I bought it I was looking to replace my Honda Interceptor, The nice thing about the FJR is that it is in essence a crotch rocket (0 to 60 in 3.1 sec) that comes with a windshield height that can be controlled and saddle bags when needed. 🙂

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/20/2017 - 07:52 pm.


        Seems a very successful and well respected (Independent) businessman does not agree with your perspective. (Yes he is worth a lot more than “T” and didn’t have to go bankrupt and screw average people to get where he is at)

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 12/20/2017 - 10:28 am.

    The U of MN professor who sniffs that a 5% reduction in county social services is nothing to worry about (that’s his guesstimate of the effect of, say, Hennepin county’s residents not being able to deduct their property taxes and state income taxes fully on federal 1040s), simply does not understand how vulnerable populations depend on every dollar, every five dollars.

    The Republican disdain for human lives, as lived or suffered in real terms, simply astonishes.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/20/2017 - 12:53 pm.

    Nice article

    Thanks Mr. Brodey!

  8. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/20/2017 - 10:01 pm.

    Its a cold day in Hell!

    Got “R”s out here, saying they want to send more Tax $ to Washington, better there than the state or county level, looks like more federal control and less local! Got them also talking “Tax Fairness” income redistribution: wanting the well to do blue states to send more money to the not so well to do red states, guess, none of us folks worked for our money. Even see some saying they are willing to pay more taxes? MN needs to pony up more, already paying a 30% premium against every $ we get back from the Fed. Got them saying, today they are willing to pay more for American made, where were they yesterday? Got them talking about all those lost Union jobs, seems yesterday they were complaining about all those overpaid union workers making lousy poor quality products. And of course, talking about e shrinking the Federal debt and spending, while praising a $1.5 T increase in the debt, to cover a tax cut for their oligarch millionaires and billionaires. I think conservatives should understand that most of us lefties are not so easily bamboozled and don’t fall for the same old pie in the sky failed policy rhetoric time after time. It may work on conservatives, but hey, what was it that T Barnum said “There’s a sucker born every minute”

    Looks like this must be the Year the Vikings Win the Super Bowl!

  9. Submitted by John Appelen on 12/21/2017 - 09:40 am.


    The above discussions are definitely interesting and confusing.

    We have Liberals complaining about wealthy people having to pay more taxes in high tax states. And complaining that the rich States are not getting back as much as they pay in. Where as usually they want the rich to “pay more than they get back”. And they want the excess to be given to the less fortunate.

    As for the GOP desire to reduce the spending of the Federal government. I am assuming they are trying to do the usual… Squeeze the money and then follow up with trying to cut the spending. Unfortunately history has shown that they fail at step 2 and our National Debt keeps going up.

    Personally I was against the tax bill, I just wanted to start cutting Fed spending to get back to having a surplus. Unfortunately both Liberals and Conservatives seem to be against something so logical.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/21/2017 - 04:35 pm.

      John “We missed you”

      Don’t see the complaint about paying higher taxes, Just see, why we should keep bailing out red states that are trying to hamstring us from being successful! You do see that connection don’t you? We voted to tax ourselves (invest in a better city, county state) they chose not too. That’s fine, now we reap our rewards, they should reap theirs, fair enough? No we weren’t complaining we were demonstrating that we are way above our fair share, already -30% vs, + 700%, not to mention we are a very well run state #1, so the answer should be, what are we doing right that they are doing wrong? No one is complaining or stopping these folks from implementing their own state income or or property tax, why aren’t they? Would seem like a great way to require less federal aid and lower the Federal spending. We think these red states aren’t poor, we think they are gaming the system, as some folks would say “Looking for free stuff” even though they already got lots of wealth! We agree on the tax bill, but with any problem, some of us, liberal/open minded folks, take a more global approach, poor people are poor because in simple terms, either spend to much or don’t make enough, Work both sides of the equation, the spend side and the revenue side. Seems every company I have ever worked for, looks at raising sales(revenue) where they can and keeping costs (spend) under control. Fair enough?

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 08:20 am.

        So Busy

        Sorry for the absence, work has been busy and Trump keeps giving me more to write about back home. 🙂

        As I have said before, Conservatives seem to be fine with minimizing the Federal government to it’s basic roles: National Defense, International Issues, Laws controlling interstate commerce, Laws for the common good of the country, Negotiating differences between States, etc. This would be a Conservative concept where States would need to compete and care for their citizens. And if they did not adequately care for their citizens, they would have few citizens or businesses.

        However over the last ~80 years Liberals have deemed that they know better and have moved a lot of those responsibilities to the Federal level. (ie Medicaid, Welfare, etc) In other words, the only reason we have so much government mandated wealth transfer between States is because the Liberals wanted it that way.

        I mean it makes sense since the Liberal viewpoint is to arbitrarily take from the successful and give to the unsuccessful with few expectations for improvement, so hearing folks complaining that Rich States will pay more and Transfer more to Poor States is very ironic in my view.

        My point is that Liberals voted over the last 80 years to enable the Red states with “free money” to maintain their status quo and not improve. Now the Liberal States are actually going to have to pay more for the policies they insisted on implementing. Sounds like karma to me. 🙂

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/22/2017 - 08:42 am.

          You missed some “Basic Roles”

          “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of”

          -Form a more perfect Union
          -Establish Justice
          -Insure domestic Tranquility
          -Provide for the common defense
          -Promote the general welfare
          -Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

          They are enshrined in the preamble to the constitution.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 09:53 am.


            As a Parent, I have many responsibilities regarding my children. That does not mean that I have them give me their money monthly so I can redistribute it arbitrarily… Mostly I set some general rules and then try to coach them.

            As for who voted for these, I really do not know and I sure am not here to defend the GOP.

            However I do know that every year for the last 80+ the Left has been striving to have the Feds do and spend more. And the Bernie supporters want to double down on this long term trend.

            Now I am fine with folks trying to enforce their “views of correct” across the whole country. As long as they are willing to pay for it.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/22/2017 - 10:10 am.

              Seems selective reasoning

              The question was, “enshrined in the constitution”, not in your family plan. “Do and spend more” like in Defense spending? You do know that the USA spends more than the next 7 countries combined? 37% of the total. You keep saying “left” but don’t support it, are no conservatives voting for “general welfare”. Actually based on this conversation, this article, seems lefties are more willing to pay than righties!
              Good for the Bernie supporters, and the “T” supporters would rather rob the treasury for the benefit of the Oligarchs, enforcing their economic “views of correct”!

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 10:52 am.


                Based on your comment, you may find what I just wrote to one of my Conservative commenters amusing…

                “Now please feel free to blame who you wish for the spending, however the GOP clearly owns passing tax cuts that were not paid for in equivalent spending cuts.

                The DEMs for all their faults do seem to be more fiscally responsible. If they spend, they demand equivalent taxation.”

                And if you support Bernie, that is fine as long as you are also willing to pay your full share of the Federal taxes that he wants to increase. I wish they had totally eliminated the SALT deduction. It is silly that we are letting citizens in some States avoid the pain of the Federal taxes.

                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/23/2017 - 03:52 pm.

                  Small Point

                  They are still paying taxes only at a state level and less at a federal level: As other folks have “CLEARLY”
                  Stated and supported many times in this dialogue. The states with the biggest Tax bills tend to get back fewer Federal $. If we talk “FAIR” lets talk that anyone visiting Disney land from out side Florida, should not be required to pay Florida, hospitality, sales etc, Or are you suggesting that “These are voluntary taxes? You know that voluntary argument could be made for any state or local tax? You can always move! Isn’t” it silly that we are letting the citizens of some states avoid the pain” of State and local taxes? Philosophical honesty.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/23/2017 - 08:22 pm.


                    Those States are choosing to run life within their borders as their citizens deem appropriate. If you don’t want to pay their taxes, don’t go to Disney World in Florida.And if you don’t want to pay high MN taxes, move to a lower taxed State for 6 mths and 1 day a year like many of our wealthy retirees are doing to avoid MN’s onerous taxes.

                    Please remember that Liberal people in States like MN are the ones demanding that the Federal government have a large budget to support people in “ALL STATES”. (ie Medicaid, Welfare, ACA, Education, etc)

                    As I said else where, it is silly to complain about the Fed Gov’t collecting and redistributing all this money when your party is the one demanding that it occurs.

                    The folks in the Red States keep voting for people who want to cut that Federal funding / taxes… The folks in the Blue States keep voting for people who promise to increase those Federal taxes and programs.

                    Now next year when the GOP is trying to cut FED taxes and spending, are you going to agree with them now that the Blue States are paying more of their fair share of what they have been demanding.?

                    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/24/2017 - 11:03 am.

                      Thank you!

                      “Those States are choosing to run life within their borders as their citizens deem appropriate” Exactly the point many have been saying all along. Leave the states onto themselves. Thank you for agreeing.
                      (Your liberal argument is what you think, it is not reality) way back up the list, Minnesota #1 best run state. Show some facts, not all these typical right wing worthless talking points. Haven’t heard, Mississippi, S.C. Louisiana, decline Federal $ for their poor people. Didn’t see Texas say, we’ll cover our own Hurricane issues? Whose party? you make some pretty blanket statements, they are called stereotypes, since I don’t think like you I must be X. We are talking philosophical honesty. Check the definition, you are entitled to an opinion, but not you own facts.
                      We already went through the constitution part, its clear you only agree with certain parts, selective constitution and bill of rights appreciation. Remember “general welfare” it is written in the constitution, are you saying we can ignore parts and pieces of the constitution? Just can’t get yourself past that one can you?

                      “The folks in the Red States keep voting for people who want to cut that Federal funding / taxes… The folks in the Blue States keep voting for people who promise to increase those Federal taxes and programs.. “This is philosophically and factually dishonest: (You never responded to. “”R’s” never voted for any welfare?” The “R” party almost to a person Just voted to increase the debt $1.5T and give a large chunk to the wealthy, lets call it “Billionaire welfare”, Or is that statement incorrect? They both can’t be correct.

                      We’ll see what next year brings, as I have noted in earlier posts I think the “R”‘s continue to prove they are hypocritical liars, Machiavellian in nature and they got the best one leading them.

                      Personally, I wouldn’t think this is a good time of the year to be arguing in favor off: The rich need to get richer and the poor poorer.

                      Best of the holidays or Bah Humbug, feel free to chose: Not sure if either is made in America!

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/26/2017 - 11:48 am.

                      General Welfare

                      Supporting the General Welfare is a pretty open ended goal… Personally I find enabling dependency and loss of hope to be the meanest things one can do to another human being. I would rather we teach them to fish and hold them accountable for doing so. America will be stronger, more competitive and all of us will be better of if we do so.

                      Please remember that welfare is when the government takes money from one group of tax payers, puts it in their accounts and then sends it to other citizens with few expectations for action, improvement, and/or independence. Cutting taxes is “not welfare”, the money is not the governments and it is not coming from other tax payers.

                      You will need to provide your definition of philosophical honesty, the web search came up a bit confused.

                      Yes Red States do apply for disaster assistance. And yes Red State politicians vote to cut federal spending. I can deal with this level inconsistency.

                      When a Blue State insists that many benefits be supported and funded at the Federal level, then when they insist that they should not need to pay their fair share of the bill. That seems more dishonest / ironic to me.

                  • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/23/2017 - 09:13 pm.

                    “The states with the biggest Tax bills tend to get back fewer Federal $” And people with the biggest tax bill tend to get back fewer government $$…

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 10:59 am.

                General Welfare

                Now I am certain that people from both sides vote to help the disabled and unfortunate. The difference is where they want to do it.

                People like myself want that to be conducted at the State and Local levels, and through Charitable giving.

                Others who I believe are mostly urban Liberals want to do it at the Federal level so they can enforce their will across the whole country.

                And as I have said… That is just fine with me, however don’t grumble about the tax bill or that the recipients are not changing their ways just because you gave them handouts.

                That would be like making welfare available to someone, then complaining about the cost and that the recipient keeps having more kids and demanding more money. 🙂

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/24/2017 - 10:10 am.

                  General welfare

                  The problem is that it’s pretty clear from years of experience, and the comments on this thread, that Conservatives, Republican, Libertarians… simply have no coherent concept of “General Welfare”. They simply assume that if they find a day to dictate and enforce their “values” everyone will be better off.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 08:41 am.

        Facts and Data

        To back up my other response.
        “Federal aid is given to states for Medicaid, transportation, education, and other means-tested entitlement programs administered by the states.”

        It is the Liberals who demand that the Feds manage “Medicaid, education, and other means-tested entitlement programs”… I mean we can all hear the screaming when anyone tries to touch that money. And the Conservatives who want to return those expenses to the States.

        And I think we all appreciate transportation subsidies for our lower population States that have great vacation areas and where our goods are transported through or from…

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/22/2017 - 09:12 am.

    Local control

    Sure, local control is great until locals want to legalize drugs, or build municipal ISOs, or raise taxes to pay for their transit, issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, blah blah blah. Once again we see basic “conservative” principle implode whenever they collide dictatorial impulses, then it’s all about passing laws restricting the locals so they don’t do stuff Republican’s don’t like. Whatever.

    As for Federal money, it’s transparently facile to suggest that states should pay for federally mandated programs on their own. Obviously some states have stronger economies than others. This is an argument unfunded mandates, which we always find is a great idea until you want to mandate something (like tax cuts for private school tuition, or federal deductions for business and corporations) … then it’s all about spreading the wealth.

    This is economic garbage. An American is an American no matter what State they live in, we settled this over 150 years ago. Alaskan’s don’t have to live in a toxic dump because they don’t have the population to finance and enforce environmental laws. And children in Mississippi don’t have to starve or die because the State can’t afford it’s food stamp or medicare programs.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/22/2017 - 11:03 am.

      Money and Mouth

      I agree with you totally for a change.

      The people who pass and support the Federal Mandates should pay their full share of the Federal costs !!! Let’s eliminate the SALT deduction all together !!! 🙂

  11. Submitted by John Ferman on 12/24/2017 - 02:17 pm.

    Q to Lewis, Emmer, & Paulsen

    Next time they whine about high tax Minnesota I hope the reporters will pin them down on the complete list of services that are unnecessary/undesirable and should be cut. Then we can all imagine what kind of life they want us to live.

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