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Continued: Washington County's wealthiest could feel tax pinch

  • Article by: JIM ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 30, 2013 - 10:50 PM

“What this situation is, is really a stake in the heart of small business owners,” said Phil Krinkie, himself a business owner and president of the league.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees account for 70 percent of the state’s workforce, Krinkie said. “We are the economic heart of Minnesota’s economy.”

State Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, opposed the governor’s plan two years ago, and his view that it’s a job-killer, especially for small businesses, has not changed.

“I campaigned on prioritizing our spending, of staying within our means,” he said.

Like Krinkie, Dettmer said businesses already face a tough taxing and regulatory climate, and would be tempted to move elsewhere. “I think we’re doing a disservice to the business community and our economy by raining taxes on the fourth tier,” he said.

But state Rep. Dan Schoen, a freshman DFLer from St. Paul Park who sits on the Taxes Committee, said Minnesota voters were clear in the last election about wanting lawmakers to put middle-class priorities first.

Returning borrowed money to schools, funding education and job training, and bringing property tax relief will themselves spur the economy by job growth, he said. But that requires revenue instead of shuffling money and borrowing to make ends meet. It’s reasonable to ask the wealthiest few to pay more.

“They pay a lesser portion of income taxes than you or I do,” he said. “Our tax system is designed to be fair across the board. … The fairest tax is the income tax. It works.”

Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039

Twitter: @StribJAnderson

  • Washington County wealth

    The median household income — half the households make more than the amount and half make less — for Washington County communities from 2007 to 2011, the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau:

    Dellwood $145,000

    West Lakeland Township $129,167

    Denmark Township $111,528

    Stillwater Township $107,396

    Grant $107,135

    Baytown Township $106,563

    Lake Elmo $105,739

    Pine Springs $105,625

    Marine on St. Croix $101,250

    Afton $100,926

    Mahtomedi $94,659

    Woodbury $92,780

    May Township $89,036

    Birchwood $87,569

    Lakeland Shores $86,250

    Lakeland $86,042

    Cottage Grove $82,469

    Scandia $81,161

    County median $79,571

    Hugo $78,406

    St. Mary’s Point $71,042

    Stillwater $70,131

    Grey Cloud Island Township $69,375

    Oakdale $66,971

    Forest Lake $65,983

    Lake St. Croix Beach $61,250

    St. Paul Park $60,795

    Willernie $60,750

    State median $58,476

    Bayport $57,852

    Newport $53,089

    Oak Park Heights $44,946

    Landfall $31,429

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