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Tuesday Talk: How do we restore the Minnesota Miracle?

August 30, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

By refusing to raise revenue in a fair and progressive way, the conservatives’ all cuts budget is producing example after example of why “no-new-taxes” policy is a failure.

Many Minnesota towns are considering raising levies to either fund basic public services or prevent deep school cuts. According to the Minnesota School Boards Association, nearly one-third of schools are considering asking voters for a levy. The Minnesota Miracle changed this regressive taxation to more adequately fund our community needs.

How do we restore the Minnesota Miracle from what’s become the Minnesota Debacle?  

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  • John Crampton says:

    August 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Make the richest 2%ers pay their fair share of income taxes in MN.  End the Bush tax cuts.  Cut the U.S. military budget by 50-60%.  We really don’t need 11 aircraft carriers when the next biggest military power has 1 or 2.  With that we could increase the school year to 225-230 days and increase the length of the school day to 8-9 hours and create a universal system of free, preschool education…. the same as they have in all of our major competitor countries.  This will also greatly relieve the financial burden on families who have to pay for day care to cover the summer vacations and after school gaps when they are working.

    By the way, get rid of charter schools.  They don’t perform as well as the public schools, and, in many communities, they siphon off vitally-needed funding.  Also, make the feds start fully funding federal mandates for special education.

  • myles spicer says:

    August 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Everything you said is true, of course. But now, facing reality, it is up to progressives to get these school levies passed. That is the only open option for the immediate future, and we must not harm our children’s education on the faiure of conservatives.

  • Louis Sherlin says:

    August 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

    We need more revenue,but, why just the Rich. The Rich are the people that start businesses and invest in our future. Why not put in an income tax to everyone to pay and probably we would not have as many people at the table expecting something for nothing if they had to pay something.

    We also must control our spending and have reponsible people controlling our money, not just giving it away.

  • Spencer Reppe says:

    August 30, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Though the Minnesota Miracle was originally spurred by a California District court decision declaring property tax based school funding unconstitutional, subsequent court decisions have declared that it is not. That’s a summary of many years of litigation, but it’s all the time I have to delve into this complicated matter. And in 2001, when the funding formula was revised in order to reduce property taxes, schools started to lose out, and tax payers with higher property values started to win out. It’s a complicated issue, but the fundamental problem is that their is no longer an equitable sharing of the burden of financing the state’s financial responsibilities through sales taxes, fees, income taxes and property taxes. That’s what needs to be fixed.

  • James T. Benda says:

    August 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

    As long as we continue to believe that there is and will always be a ‘free lunch’ we as voters can swallow almost any other lie that our legislators are selling.  Remember most of these guys are just trying to get re-elected and will tell you anything that will buy your vote!  Look at what the last eight years under Pawlenty has done to this state!  Half of the time he was in office as our governor was spent in Iowa & Washington campaigning for a different job and not tending to the one we were paying him to do!  Then of course, once elected most politicians are the first to give your rights & jobs away to private interests who have a different agenda.  It would seem that once in office they all have this idea that they can save you money by short changing you on your quality of life issues. The electorate needs to work at getting good data and not some pie in the sky ideas like “Slash & Don’t spend Teapotters” who think that turning Minnesota into the Alabama of the North will somehow make their lives better.  Everything has a price tag and if you want a quality state then we all must be willing to pay for it.  And in a state such as ours, with a on-going budget problems we must first recognize that we have past debts that we keep kicking down the road and hiding in borrowing schemes that never let us get caught up.  Taxing the rich is only one answer, an interim tax to eliminate the old debt may be another partial solution. Getting our legislature and citizens working on cutting wastes might be another.  Investing in our future may be another.  For example we can’t cut back on education when a third of our population can’t even graduate from High School. This produces people who can’t find jobs. Later they are the same ones who subsequently fill our jails because they can’t compete in life.  Subsequent to that, without a descent job, they are also the ones who can’t feed and house their kids, so the cycle starts all over again. Clearly there has to be a better way!

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

    The only way to achieve a real return to fiscal health is to elect believers in Good Government (not small and ineffective and brutal government) to replace all those legislators who buy into the poison sold by Grover Norquist, the National Chamber of Commerce, and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

    Government is not evil. We, through the government we choose, are responsible for maintaining the common good.  Paying taxes is our duty as citizens, not “theft” on the part of government. 

  • Rob says:

    August 30, 2011 at 9:16 am

    How do we restore the Minnesota miracle? We restore the Minnesota progressive tax code - raise taxes a lot on the rich and corporations. Also, we restore progressive Democrats to political office (guys like Gov. Anderson, Oberstar, Humphrey, Mondale and Wellstone). This is so easy. Wake up Minnesota. Pawlenty and his peeps (Michele Bachmann, Matt Dean, Tom Emmer, Ray Vandeveer and especially Cravaack) are destroying our state. I could puke when I compare the two previously mentioned lists.

  • David Akerson says:

    August 30, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Restore Minnesota miracle by voting strictly Republican in November, 2012. The Democrats having been taxing & spending us into bankrupcy for the last 40 years.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 30, 2011 at 10:33 am

    The “Minnesota Miricle” was no miricle, but rather the bigining of the horrible SOCIALIST take over of education in Minnesota. It’s premise of providing equal and quality education for all has turned into the most racist and socio/economoc biased education system in the history of Minnesota. The State equalizing the tax base while undermining local decition making has been a failure on both accounts. What you educrats of the middle class have created is a very functional system for your children at our childrens expense. Now that the proof of this enequity is out your quick to blame everyone else. Some of us understand clearly where the problem lies and are moving as quickly as possible to fix it.

  • Erik says:

    August 30, 2011 at 10:39 am

    The government needs to raise revenue and stop siphoning money away from cities.  Tax money that comes from a city needs to be given back to support the residents of that city…LGA need to be fully restored.  We also need to find a revenue stream to fully fund public schools in MN, perhaps a 1 cent sales tax that is dedicated to funding public schools or even a special lottery ticket…something has got to give here folks.  We also need to raise taxes on the top income earners in MN; it is not fair that someone who makes more money in one year’s time than I will see in my lifetime pays less in taxes each year that I do.  We also need to put progressive forward thinking Minnesotans back in office at the state capital rather than the yahoos that are there that have done nothing, but stir up hate and bigotry in this state and tried taking us backward in time (or as the someone else commented “making us the Alabama of the north”).  Everything is falling apart; our schools, our roads, our bridges, or water/sewers, our cities, our state…the only way to fix all this is to raise revenue and once again restore MN back to its glory as being the best state in the nation when it comes to education, health, transportation and quality of living.

  • David says:

    August 30, 2011 at 10:41 am

    The proposal that the Arne Carlson/Walter Mondale group came up with this summer is a good start—a very minimal tax increase (4%) with targeted cuts would get our fiscal house in order. Then we can address how to restore the funding across the state that supported schools, infrastructure, and health care in a way that built up our whole state.

  • herb davis,jr. says:

    August 30, 2011 at 11:07 am

    If we don’t address the anti-choice aspect we lose.
    The only way the anti-tax rich win is with the aid of the MCCL and anti-public schools crowd(aka..bishops and their flock). Home schoolers, right wing theocrats are the tools of the IR and they are winning!
    The need to activate the pro-choice and pro-public schools folks is the only way to win!
    p.s. The unions understand !

  • Rob says:

    August 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Erick is very close to being totally correct. The exception being a sales tax increase, which will be funded by the poor and working classes. The simple, moral and proven solution is to tax the rich at rates that worked in the past. Simple. TAX THE RICH. The middle-classes have been beaten down enough. Draw a hard line in the sand. TAX THE RICH.

  • Christeen Stone says:

    August 30, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I have appreciated many of the comments and suggestion made already. I recall the Minnesota Miracle so well. I was mother of some baby boomers and we were building 1 and 1/2 schools a year to try to catch up.
    My husband was a Soldier just back from the war working for a minimal wage. We had to live frugal to pay the increase in taxes to build schools, but we did so gladly. We were determined our children
    would have the best in education, because we came through the Great Depression when that wasn’t always possible. As a senior citizen I have strongly supported every school referendum.
    I feel we will not have good schools until we have real campaign reform which rids us of the Big Money that buys votes to protect corporations, and gives us more legislators who are dedicated to making
    America great again.

  • Bernie says:

    August 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    What makes you think we can solve the problems in public education by spending more money to do the same things. Like Democrats, dogs have a very limited list of possible solutions for all problems. For Democrats, its demagoguery or tax and spend. For dogs, its taking a nap or licking themselves. And in many cases, the dogs options are not only more effective but billions of dollars cheaper.

  • Rob says:

    August 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    You simplify the MN miracle. Are you aware of tuition rates at the UM - $50,000 for four years. It was about $500 per year in the early 1970s. Yeah, fair taxes and making college affordable was a big part of the MN miracle. By the way, property taxes were an afterthought for most people back then. Do the math or have someone do it for you. We are geting screwed. TAX THE RICH. Get a clue.

  • KJC says:

    August 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    There is (unfortunately) as usual, more discussion hear on the “problems and who’s fault it is” than on actual solutions.  I’m not saying that I disagree with the group opinion on fault… you need only look at that last 30 years and see the tiny percentage of the population got by far most of the benefits… and correctly conclude that.  That doesn’t, however, give us an automatic solution.
    The things that made Minnesota a desirable area:  good education system, good infrastructure and quality of life… these are what come up (over and over) in the surveys of Why Business That Actually Located Here did that. 
    I wish I could tell you that more of that alone would be enough.  Can’t.  Yes, we need to keep pressing on with those ... but we are now also trapped in a global competition where the rules aren’t (and weren’t) fair.  Business did what it took to survive, and now they’ve often been captured by those global (governmental) predators.  We need to re-work our global trade agreements so they benefit workers here, too. 
    Add that to the proven Minnesota Miracle ingredients and then (and only then) I become more optimistic about our future.  Wish I could tell you this will be easier to accomplish… all my experience says otherwise.
    See you at The Fair!

  • Rob says:

    August 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I agree that the discussion should be “solution” based. That is why I have repeatedly put forth a proven solution. TAX THE RICH.
    The balance of wealth has not favored them this much since the roaring twenties. No finger pointing or name calling, simply TAX THE RICH. note: The richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 160 million. This is not bias, but simply a proven remedy for our budget problems. We simply do not tax the top like we formerly did.  TAX THE RICH.

  • Tony Rozycki says:

    August 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Selective deportation?

  • Tony Rozycki says:

    August 31, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Good points Rob.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 31, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Re-education camps?

  • Bernie says:

    August 31, 2011 at 11:59 am

    The super wealthy and the largest corporations have become experts at avoiding taxes altogether. They think nothing of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on tax lawyers and legal fees to avoid taxes. General Electric made over 14 billion dollars in profits last year but did not pay a single penny of that to the U.S. Treasury. The wealthy simply are not going sit idle and accept tax increases. They will do whatever it takes to avoid high tax rates. So when you advocate raising taxes on the rich, the super wealthy and the largest corporations are simply not affected but you absolutely crush small businesses. The truth is that our tax system is completely and totally broken. That is the issue that needs to be addressed. Taxing the rich is nothing more than a liberal talking point and has no substantive value.

  • Phyllis Deer says:

    September 6, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    It is no surprise that the GOP in Minnesota is strangling tax revenue for schools to death.  They have said it before and they will say it again: they would like to do away with public schools.  They would begin by giving vouchers for “non-performing” students to attend private school.  The next step would be to privatize charter schools and eventually money for public schools would disappear.

  • Dan Conner says:

    September 20, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Republicans have and will continue destroying things and some way deflect the blame to Democrats.  Republicans don’t want intelligent people.  Then everyone can be like them.  After all, their feeling is, if it was good enough in 1792, it’s good enough now

    The rich don’t want intelligent workers who able to question why.  They only want sweat-shop worker bees.