The job of the Legislature is to decide who to tax, how much they are going to pay and where to spend the money. A couple of precepts should be followed: The taxing should be fair and the money spent wisely.
The first principle, fair taxation, should be of concern to everyone. It is certainly a concern of the rich. They have seen to it that they have not paid their fair share of the total tax burden.
The total tax burden includes all state and local taxes. We pay taxes all year long through sales tax, gas tax, etc. Most taxes are regressive. You pay regardless of your income. The main progressive tax is the income tax. The rich pay more because they earn more. The income tax is the equalizer for spreading the total tax load.
If the rich are not paying their fair share, where is the money coming from? The total tax load is still there.
The answer is that you and I are paying part of the rich man's share. The bottom 90 percent in income pay an average of 12.3 percent in taxes. The top 10 percent (more than $130,000) pay 10.3 percent.
What does this 2 percent difference mean? If you are making $40,000, it means $800. If you are making $1.5 million, it means $30,000. The amount of the "fair share" that the rich people are avoiding is huge. Will this continue? Yes, as long as the Republicans control either the governorship or the Legislature. The rich people control the Republican agenda. They want "no new taxes." They like the status quo.
The strategy of the Republicans is to direct people's thinking away from taxes. This is done by promoting controversial Constitutional amendments, trying to limit union power with "right to work" and making it difficult to vote.
Our legislative district is poor. Recent articles have highlighted the fact that many of our children are living in poverty. Yet our current representative refused to raise income taxes on the richest 2 percent at the beginning of last session.
The tax burden will not be fair as long as the Republicans control the Legislature. Some of the reaction that I get is that I am advocating "soaking the rich." Before the rich can be soaked, they have to pay their fair share. We need to give Gov. Dayton a Democratic Legislature so we can have fair taxation.