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Poppe: Restoring fairness to tax system will create prosperity

Published 8:39am Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In the wake of Minnesota’s updated economic forecast, Gov. Mark Dayton is set to release a supplemental budget proposal to account for a 40 percent reduction in our projected deficit.

The governor will release full details on his new plan today, but last week he provided a glimpse of what we can expect.

On Friday Gov. Dayton announced he will drop the business-to-business sales tax component from his plan. The decision comes as welcome news to business owners in my District and across the state who expressed concerns about the proposal’s impact on their competitiveness.

By listening to people who did not agree with his initial proposal, Gov. Dayton showed real leadership and provided exactly the kind of receptive, responsive government that Minnesotans deserve.

The governor’s updated proposal is sure to receive plenty of news coverage throughout the rest of the week, but it’s important to remember that the Legislature will produce our own budget and tax plans.

Although our budget will differ from Gov. Dayton’s proposal, they will share common priorities, such as investing in K-12 and higher education to make sure we have a well-trained workforce that can compete in a global economy.

While there is a strong consensus around the type of investments needed to grow our economy, there is sure to be a robust conversation about the best way to pay for those investments. We should start by asking the richest Minnesotans to pay their fair share of taxes.

According to the Minnesota Budget Project, an independent organization, the wealthiest one percent of Minnesotans pay 9.7 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes. That’s considerably less than the 12.1 percent rate paid by middle-income families making $31,690 to $41,161 per year.

Restoring fairness to our tax system will pay for investments that create economic prosperity and help put an end to the accounting gimmicks, funding shifts and one-time fixes used to resolve our deficits over the past 10 years.

I encourage you to send me your comments, questions, and ideas about passing a fair, honest budget and making smart investments that grow our economy. You can reach me by phone at 651-296-4193, by email at, or by postal mail at 487 State Office Building, 100 Martin Luther King Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

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