Tax revenue rises along with incomes
New federal figures that show Minnesotans pay more taxes than a decade ago is a mixture of good and bad news. Lynn Reed of the nonpartisan Minnesota Taxpayers Association said higher personal income is the reason for higher tax bills. Political l...
New federal figures that show Minnesotans pay more taxes than a decade ago is a mixture of good and bad news.
Lynn Reed of the nonpartisan Minnesota Taxpayers Association said higher personal income is the reason for higher tax bills. Political leaders said that is good news for the state, although taken out of context it does look bad.
Newly released federal Census Bureau figures show the average Minnesotan paid nearly $2,900 in state taxes (not including federal or local taxes) in 2004, compared to almost $1,900 in 1994. That is a 53 percent increase, one of the largest jumps in the country.
The Minnesota per-person tax bill is the nation's fourth biggest, the Census Bureau figures show. That is down from No. 3 in 2002.
Minnesota collected $14.8 billion in taxes in 2004, $8.7 billion in 1994. Fees and other revenues are on top of those figures.
"Our incomes went up more than they did in most states," Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, said.
The figures show Minnesotans' income and spending rose in the 10 years, House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, added. That is where the good news comes in.
But the appearance of having the fourth-highest tax collections may be bad.
"It's worth being concerned about that," Minnesota Tax Commissioner Dan Salomone said, because people may see the figure without knowing the whole story.
"No. 4 in total tax burden is not exactly where I would want to be," Sviggum said. "I think as a goal being out of the top 10 is reasonable. We will never be South Dakota (which collects the least total taxes), but we don't want to be 49th or 50th."
Added Gov. Tim Pawlenty's press secretary, Brian McClung: "This reinforces what the governor has said. Minnesota is already highly taxed state and we don't need to raise taxes beyond the current level."
Since 1994, Minnesota lawmakers have passed only small tax rates and significantly lowered income tax rates twice.
States that collected more taxes per resident than Minnesota were Hawaii, Wyoming and Connecticut. However, Wyoming's tax total includes those placed on coal mines, which account for the bulk of the state's budget.