The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 16, 2013

Anti-tax attitudes hurt on roads, other needs

The Mankato Free Press

---- — John Hollerich (In Response, July 11) opposes “tax and spend nonsense,” especially business taxes.

To understand where his anti-tax attitude leads, consider transportation. Since 1988, there was no increase in Minnesota’s gasoline tax until 2008, when DFLers along with four Republicans passed a modest gas tax increase by overriding Gov. Pawlenty’s veto.

But even then, MnDOT’s 2013 20-year projection presents a dire picture of Minnesota’s transportation prospects: $30 billion in needs (not including Highway 14 completion), but only $18 billion in expected revenues. An anti-tax attitude cripples our transportation infrastructure. That hurts small business, big business, and Minnesota’s quality of life in the long run.

What holds for transportation applies equally well to education, pollution control, job skills, health care, and economic development.

If you want to prosper well financially while building communities for the long haul, showing loyalty to Minnesota with its high quality of life, and supporting infrastructure needed for that quality of life — then you should recognize that taxes are a necessary cost of doing business well. This approach has built a better, prosperous Minnesota over decades. And all Hollerich’s pretending about Minnesota’s collapsing under the business tax burden does not prove otherwise.

Not investing in infrastructure is a “choose to lose” strategy whether in government or in private business. For example, that’s why Mayo Clinic is investing $5 billion in infrastructure over 20 years to maintain its national and international leadership in health care. That’s why the new state $300 million+ subsidy providing public infrastructure support, with Mayo’s expectation of adding as many as 40,000 direct or spinoff jobs, helps both small and large businesses and improves Minnesotans’ quality of life.

Ron Yezzi