About Growth & Justice

  • Growth & Justice is a progressive think tank committed to making Minnesota's economy simultaneously more prosperous and fair. We believe that at a time of deep partisan division, Minnesotans can unite around one goal: a strong and growing state economy that provides a decent standard of living for all.

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March 12, 2009


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Craig Westover

Politics in Minnesota notes that according to the study the reason for in increase in regressiveness is not the result of any change in tax policy, but results from a wider income gap between the very wealthy and the rest of the pack.

The assumption of your post is that a regressive system in and of itself is "unfair" and therefore "bad." The real question, which G&I does not address is whether a significant income gap, significant inequality of wealth is an economic disadvantage for the state.

Your post is all about creating a specific type of tax system, but never explains how the proposed system will produce more prosperity, a higher standard of living for more people, more jobs or any of a number of economic/quality of life benefits.

Is a progressive tax system a "lofty" goal because it represents some higher plain of morality, or would a progressive tax system that reduced, if not eliminated income disparity, produce an economically healthier society? How might it do that?

Robert Loscheider

The first step in tax reform is to determine what level of government (Fed.State,Local) has the responsibility to provide a particular governmental function or service.

Example: Natl defense is a national gov. responsibility.

Nate Anderson

Utterly absurd. The dems in our state house implemented the largest "regressive" tax hike in MN history last year. Gas taxes, license fees and other nickel-and-dime taxes hurt lower income citizens the most. Now those same tax hikes are being used as evidence that we need to further increase taxes.


This is a shameful attempt at initiating a class-envy feeling that will provide enough cover for politicians to raise taxes on ALL OF US.

brian davis

taxes need to be reduced. spending must be reduced. this state spending is out of controll. drastic spending cuts must be made. if you want something pay for it yourself and get of the public tit. be resonsible for yourselves and your families.


Minnesota has three state income tax rates: 5.35 percent, 7.05 percent and 7.85 percent.

It looks fair to me. Actually it looks like the rich pay more and if you include things like property and sales tax, you find that they pay a lot more in real dollars than lower income people.

You seem to be including items that have nothing to do with income.

I choose to live in a cheaper house than I can afford, because I do not want to pay higher property taxes, would you like to tax me more because I am saving money?


This survey and your data are not accurate. Minnesota has 3 tax levels: 5.35%, 7.05%, and 7.85%. These are facts. All the other "taxes" listed are not apples to apples.

Using accurate data to make your point will make more people pay attention. Sometimes the data is favorable to your cause, sometimes it isn't...


Utter garbage - Minnesota's system is amongst the most progressive (as if that were fair in the first place) of all the states in the Union. If you so-called growth and justice people are so into confiscating other people's property, I suggest you move to Cuba or Venezuela.


As the initial post makes clear, it's saying very little to say that Minnesota is "amongst the most progressive" tax systems in the nation. It's not progressive at all, and is in fact regressive. The nicest thing you can say is that MN is less unfair than most states. Put another way, even if your idea of "fairness" is that you should have a tax system that's just flat overall, Minnesota has not achieved that basic goal.
RE the comments of Britt and Mike, both are arguing that only income taxes matter-- that sales/excise and property taxes shouldn't be added together to get an overall incidence picture. Britt's explanation is that these other taxes aren't "apples to apples," while Mike says that these other taxes "have nothing to do with income."
Can either of you explain a little bit more what these criticisms mean? It seems to me that sales and excise taxes absolutely have a predictable relationship with income (the more income you have, the lower your effective rate in each of these taxes is). Neither is precisely calculated based on your income, of course, but that's why they're each regressive. And if you want to understand the overall fairness of Minnesota taxes, you have to add these things in. So, what part of your arguments am I missing?

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