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Tuesday Talk: What’s a fair share?

April 30, 2013 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Minnesota’s tax debate revolves around fairness—fairly raising revenue to invest in education, transportation, and economic development. Currently the wealthiest two percent pay 20 percent less per dollar of income in state and local taxes than do middle-income Minnesotans.

What’s a fair way to balance our tax system? 

Should fair involve asking the wealthiest to pay an effective state and local tax rate equal to everyone else? What are your thoughts on progressive taxation, where those who make more pay more?  

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9 Comments:

  • Andrew Olson says:

    April 30, 2013 at 6:32 am

    If you’re going to put a question in bold, it might as well be accurate.  Those who make more, do pay more.  Cut the sales tax and property taxes, but don’t claim that the income tax rates aren’t progressive or that the rich pay less.  Fairness would be paying for what government services you use.  Doesn’t sound like 2020 is interested in fairness at all.

  • John says:

    April 30, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Why can’t we have income tax based soley on gross income with no deducdtions for anyone?  Has a study of this been done?  It seems if everyone paid taxes, no matter how small, everyone whould have a feeling that they have some ownership of the USA, some responsibility, and most importantly a felling of worth and value.
    Please tell me why I’m wrong if I am.
    John T

  • Ron Leurquin says:

    April 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Fairness?  I’m not holding my breath that it will ever happen.

    Heres my stance on taxes, get rid of most or even all of them and just fund government with a flat tax.  We all pay the same rate, regardless of income.  All monies coming INTO your pockets/purses would be treated as INCOME and taxed at one flat rate.  No deductions, no sales taxes, no fees.  No death/inheritacne/estate taxes, its now income to the reciever and treated as such.  Make a killing selling stocks?, its now INCOME tax.

    I think you all get what I’m saying, so will save you then endless examples.

    Now, just imagine how low that rate could be if we redefined INCOME and taxed it all at one low flat rate!!!!!

  • tony says:

    April 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

    State income taxes are progressive, but if you look at the total states & local taxes paid, the top tier pays 8% of their income & the bottom pays 25% of their income in taxes. That is not progressive. That’s why the Guv is trying to amend that. As far as a flat tax, by what figures I’ve seen it would raise taxes on the poorest & the middle class & would be about 26% to cover the current budget. Our parents set up a progressive system & it allowed for the creation of the middle class, without it schools close or class sizes(like 50+ in St Paul)increase, roads dont get repaired, etc. We need the wealthy to pay more cuz thats where the money is. Middleclass has had flat income growth since Reagan & the wealthy has huge increases. It takes the peoples money to fund these services & the only people with money are the wealthiest. Yes, they pay the majority of tax dollars but they have the majority of wealth. Not jealousy, just realizing where the wealth is, and we ALL use govt services..

  • Bernie says:

    April 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    The Democrats now control the house, the senate, and the governor’s office in Minnesota.  This party claims to be the party of the middle class. So what do they propose? To raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, raise the gas tax, and begin to tax clothing.  Does this sound like progressive taxation? I am growing weary of the whining about taxing those most successful Minnesotans. They do pay more in tax dollars, period.  Maybe we should levy a tax on envy.

  • John says:

    April 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I’m suggesting that the income tax be progressive but the rate would be based on low rate for low gross income and higher rate for higner gross incomes.  It would apply to individuals, corporations, etc.  ALL deducts would be eliminated.  Isn’t this a possiblity?

  • Ron Leurquin says:

    May 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Would have thought this topic would have garnered more traction on discusion, or are we all just worn out form the conversation?

    Tony, thanks for commmenting on my flat tax idea.  I would be interested in knowing more about what you ahve seen on this that you comment lower income taxes would grow.  I am betting its based on what we now consider INCOME compared to what I would consider INCOME, but would need to know more.  I am open to having my flat tax idea not be a good one, but few have ever tried to provide me with good information to look into to change my mind.  Just telling me its a bad idea, what some have done, wont cut it.

    Bernie, what you mention are all sales taxes, and thus regressive; and IMHO, not the way to go at all.  Income taxes are the most equitable way to tax becasue its based on something not regressive.  I liked Dayton’s Tax the Rich part of his platform, and wish he would stick with it and not raise all these sales taxes.  As for ciggarettes, raising that tax tends to lower the rate of use of cigarettes and not really raise revenue, at least thats what Ive been lead to beleive.

    Tony, your just goring everyones ox by getting rid of deductions.  You know we all want our deductions but are willing to get rid of someone elses deductions.  While I can agree that getting rid of all deductions mya vvery well be a good idea, I think it deserves more evaluation.  I say that becasue the deductions that exist are there for some reason (good or bad, relavent or outdated) and some of them may very well be good things for us in the big picture.

    Perhaps we should just go back to the stax structures in place the last time this country was doing really well financially?  perhaps thats the 50’s and 60’s, or maybe its just the Clinton era.

    If lowering taxes on the wealth were really a good thing for this country then we should be dooing really well after 12 years of thier tax cuts under Bush 2.  Well, were not so lets put that idea to rest and get back to taxing those than can best afford a tax increase.  Even the ones I work with agree with me on that idea.

  • Sue B says:

    May 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Whatever you do, please do not expand the regressive SALES tax to clothing.  Instead, increase the progressive INCOME tax rate if you need revenue.  Plus add additional higher bracket rates for the highest income earners.  Tax earned and unearned income at the same rate.  People who actually work for their money should not be punished for their hard work, while people living off their investments get big tax breaks.  Some ‘sin’ taxes on tobacco and alcohol would be acceptable because they are not a necessity of life.  Food, clothing, shelter, medicine should not be taxed (with the exception of obvious luxury items in those catagories).

  • RJ says:

    April 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    HOW MUCH OF MINNESOTA’S SPENDING IS ATTRIBUTED TO FUNDS REC’D FROM THE FEDERAL GOVT.?
    ......30% RANGE?.......HOW MUCH OF THIS FED’L FUNDING IS PAID FOR BY THE “WEALTHY” MINNESOTANS
    & HOW MUCH (PERCENTAGEWISE) IS PAID BY THE “NON-WEALTHY?........WHY ISN’T THIS DISCUSSED IN THE (SKEWED )
    STUDIES TRYING TO ILLUSTRATE “FAIR SHARES”?......THOSE WHO “MAKE MORE” CLEARLY ALREADY PAY MORE IN THE FUNDING OF MINNESOTA’S EXPENDITURES….....YOU CAN’T IGNORE FEDERAL FUNDING PAID ALMOST ENTIRELY BY HIGH EARNERS WHEN YOU ATTEMPT (AND FAIL) TO DEMONSTRATE UNFAIRNESS…..