The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 7, 2013

DeKruif business argument doesn't add up

By Ron Yezzi

---- — Does Al Dekruif (Free Press, June. 19) deserve a spanking?

Dekruif says Minnesota’s high taxes will drive business and the rich away. But Minnesota’s state-local taxes (from 1977-2010) have been in the top 10 among states for all but 8 of these years. If Dekruif were right, businesses and the rich would already be gone.

What does the new income tax increase on wealthy Minnesotans mean for couples with personal income of $350,000?

For Dekruif, it means “increasing the marginal tax rate by approximately 25 percent,” and, presumably, they can have no other incentives to keep themselves and their business in Minnesota.

For the DFL, it means a tax increase of 2 percent , from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on their income over $250,000, that is, $2,000 (probably less than the cost of their refrigerator), and it will help build a better Minnesota.

Why does Dekruif resort to a percentage trick and ignore what goes into producing Minnesota’s high quality of life?

While he piously expresses concern for effects of tobacco tax increases on the poor, Dekruif ignores the Minnesota Department of Revenue study showing, for 2010, the effective tax rate (total of all state taxes) for the lower 60 percent in income ranged from 11.5 – 14.2 percent, whereas the effective rate for the upper 20 percent ranged from just 9.3 – 10.2 percent. The DFL addressed this imbalance by raising the income tax rate on wealthy Minnesotans.

Dekruif complains about state subsidies to large corporations like 3M and Mayo Clinic but says nothing about Republicans blocking an $800 million bonding bill that would have supported infrastructure projects throughout Minnesota.

These points are enough to answer, “Yes.”

Ron Yezzi


(1) Minnesota’s tax ranking among the states comes from the Tax Foundation:


Oddly enough, this is an anti-tax group that doesn’t realize how its own chart shows that a high tax state can manage quite well without driving out businesses and the rich. Note also that, even for years Minnesota was not in the top 10, it still was never lower than 16th.


(2) For the Minnesota Department of Revenue Tax Incidence Study, go to:

and scroll down to the Table of Contents and click on 2010 Effective Tax Rates under Income Deciles.

You can find a similar pattern for 2007 and 2009 Tax Incidence Studies done during the Pawlenty administration by going to: