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Tuesday Talk: What cuts/tax increases would you make?

May 17, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Minnesotans want a balanced approach to closing the budget deficit, and that’s not just Minnesota 2020 talking. As you’ve probably seen by now “a strong majority of Minnesotans say they want a solution that mixes tax hikes and spending reductions,” according to the Star Tribune’s latest polling. With less than a week to go in the legislative session, we’re electing you, our readers to be legislators for a day.

If you had to reach a compromise, which public services would be off the chopping block and what forms of revenue would you fight to increase to balance the budget?

Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.


  • Michael says:

    May 17, 2011 at 8:17 am

    We do not need any tax increases. Here is why. Right now our state government grows at a rate of 17% and with the current budget it is going to be almost 29%. At this rate our state budget is going to be almost 100 billion in about 15 years. That is just not sustainable. We need to get this under control right now.

    We all know that we have to do spending cuts, but we also all say, not my money. Well the ugly truth is it is not the states money, it is the tax payers money and they are all tapped out.

    Programs, Programs and more Programs are killing us. EBT Cards being used all over the country. That is our tax dollars hard at work in other states.

    We have to many people living off of those who get up every morning and go to work and pay taxes. What is the motivation for those who currently are not working to get a job.

    If you want blotted governments and out of control spending then move to California, I hear they are 20 billion in the hole and going down fast.

    That is not what I want in our state budget.

  • Kathy Lytle says:

    May 17, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I believe it is imperitive to continue to fund health care and social services to our most vulerable people.  I also think schools should continue to be funded well.  I think income taxes should be raised on the wealthy.  The should pay more since they have benefitted the most from our capitalist system.  I also think that tax loopholes for big business should be ended.  It is obscene that some of the CEOs and upper management of large companies are making such huge salaries and benefits while their employees are can’t afford their health insurance premiums or deductibles.  I also think “for profit” hospitals and health plans should be taxed at a higher rate.  If these companies are able to make such huge profits off the backs of their workers and the public, I believe they have a responsibility to return a larger share to those not able to benefit from our economic system.

  • John Crampton says:

    May 17, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Cuts?  I would cut all subsidies to the rich and to corporations…. such as public funding for stadia, ag subsidies given to the Cargills, to Glen Taylor and other corporate welfare queens, public subsidies for health insurance industry and the oil companies.

    Revenue?  I would make the richest 2%ers pay the same tax rate that the middle class pays.



  • Michael says:

    May 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Michael, where did you get those numbers, 17% and 29%?  I haven’t seen that kind of increase published anywhere.  Your assessment of current tax burden does not match with reality. This country (and Minnesota) now has the lowest tax burden in over 50 years.  The top 2% of taxpayers; at the Federal level, are only paying taxes at a 17% rate because of a capital gains tax rate of 15%.  They can afford a little higher rate in Minnesota in order to provide needed services.  Your description of government spending is way off base.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 17, 2011 at 9:29 am

    In addition to taxing the wealthy at the same rate as the rest of us, I would:

    kill every health care bill the majority has put forth because they leave control of the health care system itself in the hands of those who profit from others’ illness and suffering - the private insurance companies.

    To replace the terribly bureaucatic privatized system that would emerge (and cost considerably more while pricing perhaps a hundred thousand current MinnCare patients out of the system) I would not let the legislature go home until it enacted the Minnesota Health Plan (SF 8, HF 51), the kind of system that covers absolutely every person, provides the same benefits to all, and costs less while giving more. Dental care, eye glasses, meds, long term and in-home care are all covered rather than leaving such expenses for the poor to pay for themselves or go without.

  • Bonnie in Mn says:

    May 17, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I was drawn to this state because of the quality of life here…I appreciate access to high quality education…both K-12 and higher ed.  I appreciate decent health care and facilities.  I appreciate wilderness and recreation opportunities and good transportation to get there.  Businesses will move here for much the same reasons (Unless of course businesses choose to exploit the lives and health of workers in third world countries…If they do that, those commodities should be taxed when they bring them back to America to sell them.)
    We know that the economy goes in cycles and that we are in a long low one right now.  Let’s not throw out all of the good things we have here in our anger and fear for the future.  I agree with Governor Dayton: Let those who have benefited most from all of the opportunities of this state (and are currently most able) pay a proportionate share of maintaining it. It’s only fair.

  • Dave says:

    May 17, 2011 at 10:23 am

    The motivation is that they will get cut off from welfare after a certain amount of time if they don’t get a job.

    I’m happy to have my tax money go to help people who are unable to work. I could afford to pay higher state income taxes, and I’m sure the people who make ten times what I make could too.

  • Bruce Kittilson says:

    May 17, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Given the present political situation, I strongly support Governor Dayton’s proposal.  But I would prefer to see somewhat smaller cuts and somewhat larger tax increases.

  • Cathy says:

    May 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Funny how Pawlenty (R) ruled with “my way or the highway” attitude and got his way with the then democratic legislature, now, the tables are turned and the rebublican legislature is saying “my way or the highway” to Dayton (D). Dayton is willing to compromise but not republicans. Republicans are passing bills that Minnesotans don’t want or don’t care about.  As far as the budget goes, the rape of Minnesota started in the Ventura administration when he insisted (my way or the highway) on tax cuts for the wealthy, corporations and gave back the state surplus TWICE! Then, Pawlenty came along and did the same things, starving schools, LGA and Human Resources. Alan Greenspan was recently on Meet the Press. He said that if our country didn’t move back to the tax levels of the Clinton era, we will be in even bigger trouble. Our state and country need revenue. Those that have been benefiting big time since the Ventura era need to start paying again. That includes closing all those loop-holes.


    May 17, 2011 at 11:07 am


  • John Crampton says:

    May 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Well the GOP legislators really don’t know what to do…. They got their instructions from Glenn Beck and the Koch Bros., and now Beck is off the air and Kochs are busy running Wisconsin.  All they can think to do is what comes naturally to Republicans, cut the last crumbs going to the poor and the disabled… bash the gays…. disenfranchise the minorities….pollute the environment… lord it over the poor teenage girl who gets pregnant…. stuff right out of their vicious, hateful church pulpits and the Gospel according to Bachmann.

  • mark r. eckman, MD says:

    May 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Please do not design a budget which harms the least able to help. Mn care, Medicaid, medical assistance are several examples of where our Republican majority are short sighted. “A stitch in time saves nine” still is true today.

    It is time to raise taxes on the super rich and for Republicans to compromise. If they do not, we will let them know at the next election

  • Sandi Karnowski says:

    May 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I agree with the earlier comment.  I would like to add that cuts to education from birth-college are like “shooting our selves in the foot”.  We need to train the workforce so higher paying jobs stay and are invented in MN.  We cannot do that by starving education.  What economic rule book are these crazy Republicans using?

  • Nancy says:

    May 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    LET’S HIRE AN EDUCATOR for those who want to cut what is important to us. If we tax the top 2% and continue to invest in the education of our children and our environment, Minnesota will still be the best place to find good workers and live a good family life in!

  • Linda Francis says:

    May 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Enough.  Stop taxing us with fees and
    property tax.  The NO new tax pledge has
    gotten us where we are today.  We can pay
    more tax than we do and we are retired.
    Raise the tax rate for a couple or individual making $60,000 and above. We are in this boat together and everyone has to row.

  • Ginny says:

    May 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I agree with almost every comment made here so I won’t repeat my view that higher taxes are imposed on the well off to help those who are much less well off.
    These discussions are interesting. Do you think members of our legislature and other leaders read them?

  • Ginny says:

    May 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Linda. I’m retired and my property taxes have gone up astronomically in the last few years.

  • Dane Hedquist says:

    May 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Income tax increases at the federal level. Income tax increases at the state level as suggested by the Governor Dayton. An absolute elimination of Republicanism as a political party would go far in solving the financial mess that we are in as a nation.

  • Carole A says:

    May 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Taxes, raise on everybody I bet the poor would be more willing than the rich I know the middle class is willing.
    The family sitting down to do their books, well when they come up short after cuts they look at how to bring in extra money. 
    I don’t know who the Republicans are working for but it sure isn’t us.  Our income taxes haven’t been his low since the fifties either state or federal and federal for the top earners you have to go back to the 20’s.  Looking around at the states with repubs and the similarities I think ALEC is writing Koch brothers legislation nation wide.  To much of it is the same to be a coincidence.  Mary Kiffmeyer is a big muckie muck in ALEC.
    Maybe a big protest at the capitol would get them to forget about their bosses and listen to who elected them.  To bad we don’t have recall.

  • Beatrice Larson says:

    May 18, 2011 at 9:09 am

    The reason the MN budget is in such dire straits is because of the unsustainable tax cuts of the two previous administrations.  We’ve watched our infra-structure deteriorate, our educational institutions decline, and our standard of living decline in general.  The revenue side of the budget MUST be considered as well as cuts.  Throughout our history, our economy has been the strongest during times of higher taxes overall.  What’s wrong with the right wing of the Republican party that they won’t consider looking at small tax increases as part of the solution?  To me, it’s a no-brainer.  When I had to live by “deficit spending,” I resolved the situation by cutting spending AND increasing my income.  And the attack on public employees, especially teachers, as a means to reduce their salaries and benefits, is unconscionable.

  • lpallmeyer says:

    May 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Raise my income taxes!  I am tired of the horrible conditions of my roads, the budget cuts at my children’s schools, the loss of funding for social programs, the increased expectation that our church will be able to pick up the unmet needs of those who are poor.  We moved to Minnesota because we valued the strength of the community and its infrastructure, the arts, the schools, the environment.  We’re losing out because we have failed to invest in our own well-being.

    Invest in Minnesota!  Raise taxes.  Raise MY income taxes!

  • Ginny says:

    May 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Beatrice: It’s a no brainer because we who do not see government as the enemy. We don’t think it should be starved of oxygen until it dies. We know what government can and should do, and we do not want to privatize schools, prisons, parking meters, and sell our courthouse and library buildings. Or sell all the gold at Fort Knox. Or let people starve or die of untreated ailments or live on the streets.
    No matter what they say, these are jobs government can do best because the focus is not on PROFITS.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Carole.  I’m happy to report that we DO have a recall mechanism.  Article VIII of the state constitution. Governors and and other senior members of state government and the courts can be impeached for “corrupt conduct in office or for crimes and misdemeanors” by the House and tried by the Senate.  Those in “inferior” offices can be removed by the legislature for nonfeasance or malfeasance. 

    These governmental officeholders and members of the legislature can be recalled for “serious malfeasance or nonfeasance during the term of office in the performance of the duties of the office or conviction during the term of office of a serious crime.”

    I personally would identify as manslaughter (at least) the deaths of or significant harm to vulnerable persons who have been deprived of access to health care or housing by legislated draconian spending cuts.

  • Ginny says:

    May 18, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Bernice: Could we add failure to provide constitutionally guaranteed education to all children, if funding cuts make it impossible to provide that education?