Next year we will be facing a huge challenge. While the economy is slowly improving, unemployment remains high and the deficit is projected to be $3 - $4 billion because the GOP led legislature refused to compromise with the Governor on tax reform and kicked the proverbial can down the street. Our tax system needs to be reformed so we avoid the boom and bust cycles we've seen in recent years. There are five reforms we should consider.
1) Roll back a significant portion of the 1999-2000 income tax cuts or pass legislation (the Dayton Tax Bill) that would include a 4th tier for the wealthiest Minnesotans.
2) End tax havens in countries that corporations use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
3) Consider broadening the sale tax to include some services and then lower the overall rate.
4) Tax internet sales by companies that don't have a nexus in Minnesota--the status quo is unfair to main street businesses in our state.
5) Reform our complicated and unfair property tax system.
The state is abdicating its historic compact to cities and counties. By adequately funding Local Government Aid (LGA) and County Aid, our local jurisdictions can reduce their levies and stop increasing property taxes. We should also restore the Homestead Credit that the GOP eliminated that resulted in increased property taxes for businesses and homeowners alike.
While our state is facing some difficult times ahead, I'm convinced we can do better when we all work together.