Regarding Minnesota taxes and the public good, Republican lawmakers and Gov. Pawlenty are showing an absolute inflexibility akin to rigor mortis.

Their open-ended claim that higher tax rates kill jobs and drive successful people out of state is a myth. If the claim were true, nearly all Minnesota’s businesses and successful people already would have moved to lower tax states. Thoughtful Minnesotans know that taxes are a key element in a better life here; that’s why they haven’t left. On May 22, The Free Press had a good editorial on our taxes and the business climate.

“Making money is all that matters” is an attitude, not an iron law of living. Aren’t these Republicans fostering this highly questionable attitude when they accept the reasonableness of leaving solely because of a higher tax rate?

I prefer the attitude, “In hard times, everybody needs to make sacrifices.” The modest income tax increase initially proposed by Senate DFLers (0.65 percent and 1.4 percent for the highest income bracket) fits this attitude. It called for those less hurt by Minnesota’s economic problems to make a contribution proportionate to how much money they make. A married couple making more than $250,000 a year has a hard time claiming they’re as bad off as families reduced to unemployment benefits.

The graduated income tax in the United States has never eliminated the opportunity to become wealthy. Moreover, its fairness rests on recognizing the fact that personal financial success depends upon public services, social conditions, other people, efforts, natural abilities and luck, not just individual effort.

People convinced they accumulate wealth exclusively through their own effort fall for a conservative fairy tale.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

This Week's Circulars