Posted: 07/20/07 16:30, Edited: 07/20/07 16:43
by Dave Mindeman
The Red Wing Republican Eagle newspaper had a story with this headline:
Murphy, Wollschlager face heat over tax plan
The "heat" these Democrats had to endure didn't come from random constituents. No, this "heat" came from the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce. The tax plan referred to was the vetoed property tax reform bill that shifted some of the tax burden to the wealthier citizens of the state, while giving property tax relief to homeowners. A bill that had a net tax increase of zero.
The reason for the heat was quoted in this way:
Meeting attendees warned the legislators the state?s highest earners would migrate to less costly states if such measures became law.
This isn't the first time a Minnesota Chamber chapter has brought up this "threat". In fact, they use it ad nauseum. Wealthy Minnesotans and businesses must be so "tax conscious" that they would be willing to pull up stakes and leave their homes and family at the audacity of being asked to contribute more for our states obligations.
It is noteworthy that most chamber chapters are on record as being in favor of a gas tax increase.... so I guess some tax increases are in order as long as we keep our hands off the people who can most afford it.
It would be a little difficult to satisfy this group on tax policy. After all, if wealthier citizens are looking for greener pastures, there are plenty of them. New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, and Wyoming have no income tax at all... Alaska gives its citizens rebates on oil revenues. Oregon, Montana, and Delaware have no sales tax. But, with the exception of Stanley Hubbard who left for warmer climes in Florida, most of Minnesota's "elite" have stayed.
Why? Because the overall business climate is good here. Although Minnesota ranks high in tax revenue raised, Forbes magazine (not exactly a liberal source) decided to study all aspects of business climate...setting up a ranking of The Best States for Business (September, 2006). The result? Minnesota ranks 14th in the nation overall. That's ahead of Iowa (25th), Wisconsin (39th), South Dakota (17th) and just behind North Dakota (13th). Minnesota was ranked 14th for our labor force, 20th for regulatory environment, and most importantly, Forbes ranked Minnesota #3 for quality of life.
Before the chamber starts counting the number of wealthy Minnesotans who would bail out on Minnesota because of taxes, they might want to look at the Forbes picture....life is not measured by taxes alone.