About Growth & Justice

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February 04, 2009

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Craig Westover

"If we want to achieve a progressive tax system in Minnesota, we must accept – and even embrace – a system of accounting shifts as our protective release valve."

Is that really what we are trying to do. Call me silly, but I thought the objective would be creating a tax system that produces the revenue necessary and sufficient for the state to carry out its constitutional obligations -- not a penny more, but not a penny less -- with the minimum amount of market distortion and at the lowest possible tax collection cost.

That system may be progressive, it may be regressive, but it will not be arbitrary. Minimal market distortion has more impact on individual purchasing power than the nature of the tax system. What good is a progressive tax system if it causes a rise in prices that reduces everyone's purchasing power? Does that sound fair?

For what it's worth, the tobacco bond solution is more than a little sketchy. We'd be far better off making real reforms that limit the spending necessitating the bonding.

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