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Endorsement: Minnesotans don't need another tax

There are at least two problems with a Minnesota ballot measure that would impose a state sale tax by amending the state Constitution. First, tax policy should be done by the Legislature. Second, a dedicated tax that would add $11 billion to Minnesotans' sales tax bill should raise eyebrows.

Granted, the stated aim of the sales tax seems to comport nicely with Minnesota's traditions. Dedicating tax revenues to the outdoors and the arts has a nice ring to Minnesota ears. After all, Minnesota's commitment to its natural environment and the arts is second to none. Or is it?

The argument for amending the Constitution is that the Legislature has not stepped up to support the outdoors and the arts despite years of trying. But lawmakers are the people's representatives. If, after all those years, the Legislature has declined support for a dedicated sales tax, it might be lawmakers are merely reflecting the sentiments of their constituents.

Secondly, the additional sales tax will raise some $11 billion over the life of the tax. That's $11 billion on top of a tax burden that was just made heavier by new gasoline taxes, to say nothing of the scores of local school districts that have raised property taxes. Stressed cities all over the state are contemplating either tax hikes or cuts in basic services. Minnesota's economy is among those states getting squeezed hard by the national economic downturn.

Fairly or not, Minnesota is perceived as a high-tax state. An additional sales tax to fund recreation and entertainment seems a tad irresponsible. Say no on Nov. 4.

(Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum Communications management and ownership.)