Saturday, March 06, 2004

Another Gut Check for the Star Tribune

The Star Tribune has once again printed an editorial about the governor's handling of the Minnesota budget problem. It gets off to a promising start by praising his decision to not use the state's reserve fund or an proposed expansion of gambling revenues to fix the deficit. (Yep. I'm biased towards those positions - so sue me - ed.) They then criticize him for making more cuts in health care and social service spending which is reasonable, given the paper's left-liberal perspective and is a legitimate topic for discussion and disagreement.

However, once again they indirectly ding him for ruling out tax increases. Once again, I challenge the editorial board at the Star Trib to stand up for what they really want. Go ahead, propose a tax increase. Then explain who shall be more heavily taxed, how much more will they be paying, etc. and why we need more taxes. At the same time, you can explain how the larger tax burden will not hurt our local economy, if you can. If y'all are so certain a tax increase is the correct thing to do, make a case for it and try to persuade the citizenry.

Where do I stand? I just want the state to leave the damn tax code alone for now. Once the state changes it, we never really leave the changes in place long enough to see how things shake out over the long term. Maybe folks would find stability to be a refreshing change. Just spend the money that is actually raised, and leave it at that. If by some miracle the state raises more money than it actually needs, save it for a rainy day. The goal here isn't to turn Minnesota into some libertarian paradise. It's just that I find it hard to believe that Minnesotans are not taxed enough. We are in the upper tier of states when ranked by state and local taxes, isn't that enough? When the economy is tough, increasing the tax burden seems counterproductive, taking an even greater share of the total wealth produced, thus reducing the ability of the private sector to invest and create economic activity (and hopefully more jobs). What's wrong with that?

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