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Minnesota’s taxes are high. Are they too high?

Jared Walczak, Mark Haveman
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Jared Walczak, senior policy analyst with the Tax Foundation, and Mark Haveman, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, speaking before members of the Senate Taxes Committee.

Legislators of both parties concede that Minnesota is a high-tax, high-service state: While it raises a lot of money, it also ranks highly in the stuff that tax money pays for.

The difference between the sides is one of emphasis. Republicans tend to focus on the high-tax part, DFLers on the high-service part. As recently as the 2018 election, DFL nominee for governor Tim Walz argued that Minnesotans just want to know what their taxes are paying for — and that what they’re getting is worth it. His GOP rival Jeff Johnson wondered why Minnesota couldn’t do just as well being in the top 10 or top 15 states in taxation, rather than the top five.

That divergence was on display at the Minnesota Capitol this week, when the Senate Taxes Committee heard from two non-governmental analysts. The point of the hearing before the GOP-controlled Senate committee appeared to be to highlight the high taxes part of the age-old debate. But the testifiers, despite coming from national and state groups friendly to business and a free market point of view, offered a more nuanced perspective of Minnesota’s tax policies.

Jared Walczak, a senior policy analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation told the members that Minnesota ranks 43rd in its state tax climate index, which seeks to compare how well states structure their tax systems. “Frankly, we don’t rank Minnesota very well,” Walczak said. “Forty third overall, including 42nd on corporate rates, 46th on individual and more middle-of-the-pack on sales, property and unemployment [taxes].”

Income of just $26,521 is taxed at the rate of 7.05 percent, he said. “That is more than the top rate in 10 states. …  And 9.85 percent as the top rate is the fourth highest in the nation after only California, New Jersey and Oregon.”

Minnesota corporations pay the sixth highest rate among states, he said. “And yet, for many businesses, this hasn’t mattered much. Again, 19 different companies here are on the Fortune 500, many of them in manufacturing. Most of the states that rank poorly on our index, I can point to a lot of adverse consequences,” he said. And even with the state reporting Thursday morning that the surplus had fallen by nearly a third, to $1.05 billion, “there are many states that would be very happy to trade places with you and where you will continue to be.”

Concluded Walczak: “You are a progressive tax state. You are a high tax state. You also are a state that has prioritized good government and it has worked. There are a lot of reasons why people like to be here. But it is not limitless, especially if the amount of income subject to taxation is a lot higher than it has been in the past.”

That last comment was in references to changes in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the federal tax reform law passed in 2017. Minnesota is just one of seven states that has yet to sync its tax code with that law, a process known as conformity, which states do after any federal tax law change.

Tax conformity could be done this year by Minnesota’s divided Legislature, but it will almost certainly come after state taxes have been paid. Any changes made after filing could trigger refunds for state taxpayers.

“You have fairly high taxes, certainly fairly high rates, among the highest in the country,” Walczak said. “It’s been working pretty well for you. But now you’re perhaps at a crossroads because of the tax conformity issue.”

The pinch of SALT

Mark Haveman, the executive director of the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, urged the committee to put simplicity for taxpayers and tax administrators at the top of its priorities, even if will be harder to align the state with the new federal law this year than most.

“That shouldn’t negate the idea that making the tax system simpler and easier to deal with and less costly for both taxpayers and the state doesn’t deserve priority attention in any conformity decision,” Haveman said.

The biggest change coming out of the federal tax bill is the $10,000 cap on the deduction that taxpayers filing itemized returns can claim for paying state and local taxes. The new law also doubled the standard deduction from $12,000 for a married couple to $24,000, making it less likely middle-income taxpayers will itemize at all.

But the cap on state and local taxes, known as SALT, leaves more income exposed to both state and federal taxation and is more likely to impact higher earners. Haveman says the federal tax reform “effectively raised the top marginal rate of every state with an income tax. But I think the magnitude of that change may come as a surprise to many.”

“The SALT deduction repeal in effect raised the tax price of progressive state income taxes by almost 40 percent for taxpayers in the highest bracket,” he said.

In Minnesota, according to legislative tax staffers, that would have the effect of raising its top rate from 9.85 percent to 16.3 percent.

The cap on SALT has led some governors of other high tax states to urge changes. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, met with President Trump this month and has claimed the impact of the cap is causing high-earners to flee the state.

Both Haveman and Walczak said it is hard to measure how taxes impact relocations of individuals or businesses. But both said it could become more of a factor with the changes to the federal tax laws. “Obviously it’s an ongoing debate about what taxes do or do not do with respect to location decisions,” Haveman said. “That debate is usually dominated by whether people or activities leave the state. But I think it is potential for in-migration of capital and talent that is deserving of as much if not more attention.”  

Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake, cited a string of departures of corporate headquarters to other states or other countries, including Honeywell, Medtronic, Norwest Bank, SuperValu, Buffalo Wild Wings and now TCF Bank. “To me that’s a disturbing trend that says our corporate headquarters, which add a lot of value to our economy and to our communities, are finding better options,” Pratt said.

Yet Walczak said some of the companies Pratt cited moved due to mergers with other companies, not simply because they were fleeing high taxes.  “It’s one of the easiest points to move a firm because you’re already going to have to move someone,” he said. “It’s not easy to move a corporate headquarters, but if you have to move one of them anyways you’re going to take these things into consideration.”

For individuals, the lack of full SALT deductibility doesn’t impact lower income earners as much as higher income earners, who have more ability to vote with their feet. “The question will be at what point do you see mobility?” Walczak said. “You are going to see a significant increase in effective rates and top marginal rates. And decisions are made at the margins for your higher earners, some of whom have significant mobility and could move.”

Yet Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, reflected the high-service argument of many Democrats in arguing that businesses and people appreciate good services. “When people and businesses come here, they’re not doing us a favor to pay their taxes,” she said. “They know what they’re getting in return with the investments that we make in our roads and bridges and education and workforce. We still have a ways to go but compared to other states, I’m sure we are at probably the top in terms of having 19 Fortune 500 companies and so many others. They’re here paying taxes because of something that we offer.”

‘Minnesota … takes its progressive ethic very seriously’

Haveman told the Senate committee that the state has high rates of income taxation but protects lower-income taxpayer well and collects far more of its income taxes from wealthy residents than from lower-income ones. A state analysis showed that in 2014, the top fifth of state households that had 58.5 percent of total income paid 75.5 percent of individual income taxes.

The rate for a married couple with taxable income of $35,000 is the lowest in the U.S., something Haveman attributed to the state’s generous working family tax credit. “At the other end of the spectrum, Minnesota’s married joint-filer at $1 million is the fourth highest in the nation, paying 48.7 percent more in the net tax than the U.S. average at that filer level,” he said.  

Haveman said he doesn’t think it is fair for critics to say the state doesn’t do well by its lower income earners, at least where income taxes are concerned. “I would argue that Minnesota obviously takes its progressive ethic very seriously,” he said. “People may argue we need to do more for them, but I always get concerned when it is presented as an issue where Minnesota is abdicating its responsibilities. There’s nothing in our tax system that suggests that past legislators haven’t done a very good job of addressing ability to pay concerns.”

Comments (64)

  1. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 02/28/2019 - 11:17 am.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the state tax for the poor and middle class lowered, while closing tax breaks by the wealthier that allow not only firms such as Amazon and the wealthier to escape paying any or paying just a little.
    I also believe we need to increase the gas tax to fund our crumbling infrastructure.
    It is interesting that repubs are always claiming Christian values while ignoring that the Bible tells us to whom much is given, much is expected.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/28/2019 - 12:42 pm.

      The rich already pay almost all of the taxes. The problem is way too much spending.

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/28/2019 - 01:54 pm.

        Your reply doesn’t address the point raised by Mr. Nelson.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/28/2019 - 09:54 pm.

          Read his last line.. clearly stating he wants to tax the rich even more. The top 10% already pay almost 54% of all taxes. The top 20% pay 84%. Pretty clear that the rich are already paying way more than their fair share.

          • Submitted by Gene Nelson on 03/03/2019 - 07:47 am.

            Interesting how the right talks about the wealthy paying most of the taxes when they have all the money and have received major tax cuts under Reagan, bush and now trump.
            What is the stat that something like 3 individuals have more money than 50% of our population? Of course they pay more. They have all the money with some of the wealthiest individuals and corporations paying little or no taxes despite their wealth and income.

            • Submitted by Gene Nelson on 03/03/2019 - 07:54 am.

              By the way, while I do believe they should pay a higher percentage in taxes than they do…I did not say that with my initial message…just that we needed to cut their breaks and subsidies that are not available to most.
              It disturbs me that someone like trump in the one form he released indicated he paid no taxes one year…that Romney also paid little or no taxes and that firms such as Amazon and others, pay little or no taxes, despite large profits…and sometime receiving extra tax breaks.
              In what world do you think that is fair?

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/06/2019 - 11:01 am.

        Strange point.

        I’m doing pretty ok financially, and I pay more than people who have less money than I do. I also get more benefit out of the services–after all, that road is more valuable to me as I commute to my well-paying job, right?

        My taxes help ensure that my assistant at work, who makes significantly less than I do, can do her job, too, by making sure that she has access to the things she needs, including internet access so she can work from home.

        I don’t have kids, but my tax dollars are teaching kids, who will work with me and for me now and in the future, to be competent at work, further ensuring that I will continue to have a good job because my company does well.

        Hell, even in my own marriage, I contribute more money to the things we need (and want) because I make more. That’s how this works.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 02/28/2019 - 02:13 pm.

      I agree. Many in the middle class feel like they shoulder the brunt of the burden and often they don’t qualify for programs. Also given the increasing cost of housing the rates seem rather outdated. Businesses also use roads, police/fire services, etc.. Certainly we don’t want to stifle them, but how much profit is enough.

      • Submitted by Gerry Anderson on 03/05/2019 - 04:29 pm.

        Lisa, why should you say what’s enough? Business owners took huge personal risk, sometimes mortgageing their futures to start and grow a business. Lean years. Loss years. Years where they would have been happy with making minimum wage. So once they get successful, employe people and can start enjoying the fruits of the sacrifice of hard work, let’s hit hard.

    • Submitted by Eric Fehr on 04/22/2019 - 08:51 am.

      The moral question is how much is “fair”. My wife and I pay 45% of our gross income in federal and state income taxes and more in social security, Medicare, sales, and property tax. With these taxes, our total tax rate is over 50% of our income. Minnesota has the 4th highest taxes in the country and now that the SALT deduction has been capped, our effective tax rate has gone up. We and many of our friends are planning on retiring in Florida as soon as our youngest is out of high school. We will spend 183 days in Florida from November 1st to early May. Other states like NY face the same tax revenue shortfall with an accelerating number of wealthy taxpayers fleeing their states. The bottom line is under the Trump tax law changes, the wealthy in high income tax states are now paying an even larger share of the overall tax burden and many will make adjustments and move to ease the burden. It will be interesting to watch how Minnesota responds over the next few years.

  2. Submitted by Bob Anderson on 02/28/2019 - 11:58 am.

    With the Fed Tax cuts this year I took home about $500 more. When filing I didn’t itemize and got a $1000 Tax refund, last year refund was $800.
    Last Year I owed MN $80 after all was said and done, this year I owe $600. Pretty much a wash for this Joe Six Pack.

    • Submitted by Dan Beck on 03/03/2019 - 07:12 am.

      In order to determine if you paid more or less taxes, you have to compare the actual tax on your tax return each year. The tax withholding tables were changed for 2018, thus the refund or amount paid in was affected by the withholding. In other words, you can’t look at the refund and payment as to judge if your taxes went up or down.

  3. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 02/28/2019 - 12:14 pm.

    The repeal of the state and local tax deduction was an attack of high tax-high service states like Minnesota by Republicans from low low tax-low service states – increasing our federal tax burden while lowering on theirs.

    On top of that, low local and state states are freeloaders when in comes to taking more than their fair share of federal dollars. Minnesota only a little over half of its federal taxed back in services.

    It might be in our better interest to have higher state tax rates and lower federal ones, so a larger share of total tax dollars serve Minnesota. For example, in Canada their national health insurance is administered by province. There is no reason in the world that Minnesota healthcare dollars should be subsidizing care in Florida or Texas.

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 02/28/2019 - 03:16 pm.

      Limiting the SALT dedcction was an attack on the wealthiest tax payers who shoul dnot be subsidized by workers in other states, the old left wing shell game.Are you saying you want a tax cut for the wealthy now?

      The blue funds the red argument is an unproven crock. Southern States have more medicare retirees, many who flee the cold high tax north. They historically have more military bases, should we move some of them move north to balance things out? There are no solid facts and context to prove that liberal theory.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/01/2019 - 09:33 am.

        “The blue funds the red argument is an unproven crock.”

        Please feel free to support your “unproven crock” statement looks more like the comment is an “unproven crock” , and please no “fake news” response.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 03/01/2019 - 10:01 am.

          Your claims are flawed. More than half of all federal spending goes to individuals/doctors in the form of Medicare and SS. The individual States do not benefit from that in any way. States have no say in military bases either. And much of the rest comes from natural disasters …which no one can control. Just so happens that most of the southern states are “red” and they get hit by the hurricanes.

          Your Wallethub study falls into the same trap…it counts funding going to individuals as a State dependency….that is not an accurate measure as States have no way to control who lives within their borders.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/01/2019 - 11:25 am.

            BB, read (Not my claims) came from a best I can tell political neutral source. And how would someone know you were going to come back with “Fake Numbers” as the rhetoric? And provide absolutely zero reference support to your claims? You know there is a theme about optimists, you put them in front of a pile of horse manure and they start digging through it, and when you ask them why, they explain, with all this horse manure there has got to be a pony in there somewhere, Tell you sir, with your remarks, still looking for that pony!

          • Submitted by Gene Nelson on 03/03/2019 - 07:59 am.

            I often wonder why repubs love to claim SS and Medicare in govt spending stats, while ignoring that these two program are separately funded and are still in a surplus?

      • Submitted by Eric Fehr on 03/21/2019 - 08:00 am.

        It is humorous that people like Cuomo are now advoaacting for a tax cut for the wealthy, which is what reinstating the SALT deductions would do. One of the many great things about this country is we have the option to move freely between 50 states and taxes, schools, weather, public services, and jobs are certainly all parts of that equation. We love MN after growing up here and just moving back last year after 20 years in California. We also think the taxes are too high here and will spend 183 days in Florida when when our youngest is off to college in a few years but that is more about the weather, the tax saving are just a bonus. I do think the SALT cap will have a real effect and over the nex few years we will see a large exodus from high tax states by the wealthy.

  4. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/28/2019 - 12:48 pm.

    As 4th highest taxed state we are way over taxed. The problem is the money is spent on low income people. So you are driving away high earners (your tax base) and spending ever more on low earners. See where the problem is going to be yet?

    I would bet that low tax states provide similar quality services at much less cost. Take SD, their roads are in good shape, they don’t have people dying in the streets etc. What MN excels at is bloated govt where public employees get rich off the backs of the taxpayers. See the Met Council for a prime example.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/28/2019 - 01:17 pm.

      SD’s state population is less than a third of the population of the METRO alone. Most of the state is empty pastureland that requires 0 dollars of upkeep. No, outside of the main roads, the transportation network consists of dirt than turns to mud after a mild shower. I know the siren song of zero taxes continues to beckon the miserly, but there’s a reason why you haven’t left yet.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/28/2019 - 01:52 pm.

        SD was just one example. And if you look at their populated areas, their roads are just fine. Sioux Falls has a fairly large population.

        The point of my comment was that a State govt can supply quality services without heavy taxation or bloated govt. MN has doubled its spending in roughly 10 years. That is an absurd increase and completely unsustainable. When the economy crashes again, the State will end up with a huge pile of debt that it won’t be able to repay.

        The only reason I haven’t left yet is elderly parents who do not want to move. But that won’t be enough to keeep me here if either of the current gun control bills becomes law or if taxes go up yet again. There is very little to actually keep people here compared to other States.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/28/2019 - 05:54 pm.

          When you claim that ” MN has doubled its spending in roughly 10 years”, what metric are you using? Are you using inflation adjusted figures? Are you measuring spending as a percentage of the state GDP? Are you factoring in things like an aging population?

          Mr. Barnes, would you argue that state spending on seniors stay static, even if there is an increasing number of seniors? So we would just spend less per capita on seniors?

          • Submitted by Tom Crain on 03/04/2019 - 09:24 am.

            MN has not doubled it’s spending in 10 year. For just State (not Fed/Local) spending in MN in 2007 was $21.2B, and estimated 35.7B in 2017 in nominal $s. That’s not double.

            In the real world- where most of us live- there is also inflation and population growth to consider. State spending per capita using (2009 $s) was $4216, and an estimated $5595 in 2017. I did not major in math, but I’m pretty sure that’s not doubled either.

            These #s brought to you by

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/28/2019 - 01:51 pm.

      I don’t mean this in the sense of “why don’t you move if you don’t like it here,” but if South Dakota is so great, why are you here? Why hasn’t there been a mass migration to South Dakota?

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/28/2019 - 02:22 pm.

        People have been leaving in droves. Last year was the first in a long time that MN had a net gain (likely all low income illegals and refugees though). In 2013 alone, it’s estimated that Dayton’s tax increases drove over 2 billion in taxable income out of MN. As I said earlier, driving the rich out and replacing them with the poor won’t end well.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/28/2019 - 04:08 pm.

          Well, Minnesota’s population and revenue have continued to grow, so I’m not too worried. But again, if South Dakota is so much better, why are you still here?

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/28/2019 - 05:47 pm.

            Because Rudy Perpich was right when he said, “You can move to South Dakota, but when you wake up, you’re still in South Dakota.”

        • Submitted by ian wade on 02/28/2019 - 11:42 pm.

          Actually, the metro area is gaining population while the rural states are losing. As for South Dakota, the have zero Fortune companies. Minnesota has 19. Clearly, there’s a reason for that and it isn’t about “low income, illegals and refugees.” It’s a diverse, highly educated workforce.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/28/2019 - 02:00 pm.

      Please define “over taxed.” Beyond “I’m having to pay more in taxes than I want to, what does that phrase, “over taxed,” mean? What proportion of the state budget is being spent on low income people? Why do you view that as a problem?

      Having lived for half a century in a low-tax state, “similar quality for less cost” is a convenient chimera, but not based on reality. See the comment by Matt Haas. Minnesota has one of the largest road networks in the nation, thus one of the most expensive. Is spending on roads and bridges “spending ever more on low earners?”

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/28/2019 - 02:30 pm.

        Over taxed is when you’re above the mid point of taxation among all states. And that’s being generous.

        As for roads, Texas has more than double our road miles yet no State income tax. They are able to get by without all this taxation. So your claims do not really hold any merit.

        MN is the 5th highest in welfare spending per capita which means we spend a LOT on the poor. We are also in the top 15 in total public welfare expenditures. So yes, way too much of our budget goes to poor people. Another symptom of what happens when you drive high income earners out due to taxes and regulation.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/28/2019 - 04:11 pm.

          Texas roads are literally tens of billions of dollars in debt.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/01/2019 - 06:16 am.

            Not to mention their property taxes, like those in pretty much all the utopias Mr. Barnes mentions, are much higher than ours. Not enough to offset the services deficit, but enough to make the lack of income tax a negligible factor for all but the highest of earners. I suppose he could just rent, I guess?

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/28/2019 - 05:45 pm.

          By your logic, states that are under the “mid point in taxation” are under taxed and should raise their rates. Is that right? Or should they cut taxes too?

        • Submitted by ian wade on 02/28/2019 - 11:36 pm.

          Texas might not have state taxes, but they have the 15th highest property tax burden and the 9th highest sales and excise tax in the country.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/01/2019 - 09:39 am.

          So the “Over taxed is when you’re above the mid point of taxation among all states. And that’s being generous” Says all 50 state situations are equal? Thus we should also seek to achieve “average” income for the state, “average” education, “average” health “average” business investment, etc. etc. etc. .

        • Submitted by Gene Nelson on 03/03/2019 - 08:08 am.

          Texas and Oklahoma are both low tax states because of the revenue from the fossil fuel barons. Much of that dried up in OK and they are seriously struggling and today are one of the worst run states in the nation along with other repub states such as MS and KS.
          Please note…the vast majority of worst K-12 Educational systems and poverty are repub states and last fall, the Wall Street Journal came up with a ranking of K-12 educational systems by states…and the bottom dwellers…about 14 or 15 were repub.

          • Submitted by Mike martin on 03/04/2019 - 12:49 am.

            If MN schools are so great, why does Mpls. & St.Paul have the worse disparity in graduation rates for whites & blacks in the entire US?

            MN is a great state if your white. Not so great if your black, Indian Hispanic.

            Of MN Fortune 500 companies more were started before1900 than have been started since 1950.There are no companies like Google, Amazon etc. in MN.

            Millionaires in 23 states have a lower tax rate than working poor people in MN. MN taxes everyone at a high rate not just rich people.

            White MN residents are leaving the state, Black & brown immigrants are moving into the state. That is the only reason the MN population is increasing.

            MN is seriously under funding its pension. MN is headed to the same place as IL. which is functionally bankrupt. IL teachers & government employees are only going to get a small portion of their schedule pension. When companies go bankrupt & the Feds take over the pension plan. retirees get about 10% of their pension.

        • Submitted by Leon Webster on 03/03/2019 - 09:46 am.

          “Over taxed is when you’re above the mid point of taxation among all states. And that’s being generous.”

          by that metric, 1/2 the states will always be “over taxed”, no matter how low the tax rate is.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/03/2019 - 04:51 pm.

            You are correct sir!

            That’s conservatives’ secret: they want to get rid of all taxes, and all government. (Well, except for a bloated military budget and police and courts that work in favor of the point one percent.)

            Grover Norquist was not exaggerating, or lying.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/06/2019 - 02:21 pm.

      You can move to SD, if you’d like. Trust me, you get what you pay for. Nice roads, but a whole lotta nothin’ else. If you like to drive a lot, read a lot, and/or watch TV a lot, it’s perfectly fine. The nice thing about being next to SD is that you can moved to SD without wrecking what we Minnesotans (or, as in my case, former South Dakotans) like about Minnesota. Enjoy!

  5. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/28/2019 - 06:00 pm.

    Those if us in low tax, small government states, like me, are a lot more comfortable with migration of wealthy people to our states than low or mid level earners, but not for the reasons most people might think.

    Of course we’re happy to have more successful folks, but the bigger reason is that high earners are less likely to haul the leftist politics that ran them out in the first place with them.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/01/2019 - 09:40 am.

      So you admit that low tax states are leeching off the investments of other states, and your education systems aren’t putting out high achievers.

      Glad we got that squared away.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 03/01/2019 - 10:06 am.

        He admitted no such thing. Try reading his comment again. He said he’s happy to have all the high income earners move to his state from places like MN. (Because it means more jobs, more revenue etc poor people don’t start businesses or hire people).

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/01/2019 - 11:03 am.

          Why would they start businesses in areas with 1. No skilled labor force, due to inadequately funded education, and 2. No customer base, since the vast majority of residents in low tax states are living in poverty. Do these wealthy people ONLY specialize in luxury goods and services to trade amongst themselves?

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/04/2019 - 11:19 am.

            3M built their largest manufacturing plant in Alabama. The also have large plants in Mississippi and South Carolina.

            The largest BMW plant outside Germany is in South Carolina; Mercedes, GM, Bausch and Lomb, and Micheline also have plants there.

            Caterpillar moved their manufacturing plant from Minnesota to Georgia a few years ago.

            And those are just the ones that come immediately to mind.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 03/01/2019 - 12:59 pm.

          Well, Mr. Senker might be happy with the delusion that high earners are leaving here to flock to his state, but he has absolutely no evidence to support it. Tossing out false statements in order to reinforce a narrative seems to be a common theme among what passes for conservatives these days.

  6. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/28/2019 - 10:04 pm.

    I have a serious question for all those here that consider themselves left of center. Have any of you ever written a check to the IRS (or State) beyond what you owed on your tax returns? There is a box you can check to donate extra funds to them both… plus they have addresses you can use to send them a check in the mail.

    If you feel taxes aren’t high enough, why aren’t you then writing out extra checks? I know why I don’t… because I feel any amount of taxation is too much.

    By the way, where will MN get the 18+ billion it’s own regulators say the pension system is short? (bloomberg figures it’s more like 108 billion short overall). Seems that being 4th highest taxed isn’t working out and that we are now 7th worst in the nation when it comes to govt pension funding. When that little disaster hits it’s going to be amusing to see the scrambling then.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/01/2019 - 09:45 am.

      Well BB, I don’t write a check larger than the price at the hardware store either! But suspect most of us folks do write multiple checks to non-profits. However, whenweI do see value in something we should be willing to pay for it. we want a better community, better roads, stronger economy, better educated kids etc. etc. Contrary to popular belief these are common expenses and as outlined in the preamble to the constitution one of our goals is “provide for the general welfare” or do you think the preamble to the constitution has it wrong?

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 03/01/2019 - 11:11 am.

        I’ll tackle these in reverse order.
        1 the preamble has no legal bearing. The “General Welfare” clause is limited by the 18 enumerated powers listed immediately after it. It is not a blank check to do whatever govt wants. It’s actually a quite well defined, limited list of what the federal govt is actually allowed to do.

        2. Govt is the last entity that should ever be involved in any of the things you listed because they are the most inefficient and wasteful entity out there. They have no incentive to spend/invest wisely. For better roads, schools, education, healthcare etc you should be advocating for less govt and more free market solutions. Private enterprise with the profit motive and competition is what drives quality and keeps costs low. That’s why you have 120 inch TVs that are a 1/4 inch thick now instead of the old tube TVs for example. Its why Spacex is able to launch payloads into orbit for 1/10 the cost NASA was able to do it. And we really don’t have a lot free market left, most of it is govt regulated now and monopolistic. But what is left is still giving us better innovation and lower costs.

        3. The price of a good in a store has no bearing on paying taxes. The good has a fixed cost. When it comes to taxes, people like you harp on wanting to raise taxes yet you NEVER volunteer to pay more yourself. Does that not seem just a bit hypocritical? If you want taxes raised, start writing your own checks.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/01/2019 - 11:55 am.

          Well, legal bearing or not, your implication is it should have no bearing on how we should be governed, my implication is, it represents the goal of everything that comes after it, Thus, feel free to provide another document that tells us what the goal is, the intentions of the writers..

          Your # 2 is pure conjecture, that is the polite word, support it with some facts and numbers.

          Your # 3 also has no bearing, goods in the store, there is a sales tax relative to the value of the goods. Their are tariffs and duties all must be born in the COGs. As before still looking for that pony!

          PS: Does any one think Space-X or for that matter other private space ventures would be making it into space if someone (like NASA) hadn’t carved the way for them? Strange how those long term investments pay off. Seems your similar to Trump, come in for the last 5 seconds of the game and then take credit for the entire 60 minutes!

    • Submitted by ian wade on 03/01/2019 - 01:01 pm.

      The box we checked was on election day. Does that help you figure it out?

  7. Submitted by Kent Fralish on 03/01/2019 - 08:13 am.

    My local property taxes have been inching up between $250 to $500 this year for each of the last 4 years. I’ll be nearing retirement and a fixed income. I will be taxed right out of my house! Add taxes on social security income and I see no way to afford to stay in Minnesota at retirement. I have not found if the state government pension fund is still underfunded. I’ll most likely become a citizen of another state and just visit Minnesota once in a while.

  8. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/01/2019 - 08:57 am.

    We could reduce income taxes on the middle class and working poor and small business if we taxed pollution, automation, and “rentier” (unproductive making money work for you) income more.

    But then pollution is said to be necessary to Growth (holy of holies), the right to automate is sacrosanct as divine intervention, and rentier income is like hero-worship, treating people with a lot of money like they are better than the rest of us: more American than apple pie.

    Otherwise the tax debate is a red herring, as for forty years taxes have been reduced for the wealthy and corporations, while taxes have stayed mostly the same for most people, while wages and benefits have been stagnant or declining, while inflation exceeds the official number three-fold or more.

  9. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/01/2019 - 09:35 am.

    Apparently some people should consider moving to a state of their choice while the roads are still capable of carrying the heavy traffic that will be exiting MN. Out of 50 states or 196 countries in the world there must be one utopian place that fits the requirements of the dissatisfied people. When you see what the concerns of corporations are with regard to their employees taxes are way down the list. The essentials of life is what they want. An educated workforce, housing, medical, infrastructure, recreation, etc. Happy employees are productive employees.

  10. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 03/01/2019 - 02:30 pm.

    I find it confusing that whenever politicians want to justify the high taxation in Minnesota they point out the high quality of the roads, public education and health care in comparison to the rest of the country. Then when it is time to raise taxes the sky is falling.

    I recently moved from Minnesota to a lower tax state (where I lived on a part time basis for the last 5 years) and don’t notice any difference in the quality of living. Parents are happy with their kids education, the roads are good and we have a nice hospital. Not the Mayo Clinic but how many in Mn. can access that?

    For those of you who say, “if you don’t like it here then leave” it is not that easy. I find that to be elitist and derogatory. High property taxes are a deterrent to selling a nice home. Some have family commitments and other things keeping them in the area.

    I put my money where my mouth is. So did my daughter and her family.

  11. Submitted by JUDITH MONSON on 03/03/2019 - 01:38 pm.

    I grew up in an old-fashioned rural area. We thought taxes were a good thing. We trusted government. If the powers that be didn’t do a good job, we gave them a second chance. If that didn’t work, we did our best to vote them out, then never looked back. I believe in taxes. If we work at it, we’ll get it right.

  12. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/03/2019 - 02:52 pm.

    If all of the data against Minnesota taxes in these comments are true why does Minnesota come out first or near the top of so many enviable ratings done by different organizations? Minnesota voter participation is generally at or near the top in the country. That to me says Minnesota is what most people want it to be, as you don’t vote for something you don’t want. If a politician doesn’t perform as expected they get voted out.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/03/2019 - 05:17 pm.

      Ironically, conservatives believe in a free lunch. You know, good roads at little cost.

      In fact, they seem to think it can ONLY be that way, that you don’t get good roads and a bloated military budget unless taxes are low to non-existent.

      It’s a radical agenda they don’t talk about much.

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