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Continued: No new taxes? Tax the rich? Both history.

  • Article by: D.J. TICE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 29, 2013 - 8:45 PM

Some, no doubt, might think such people are plenty well-off — even if they may have to lay off the wine steward to afford their newly fair share.

It is reasonable to argue that all this new revenue is needed. It is not reasonable to miss or deny DFLers’ willingness to raise a good part of it from nonrich Minnesotans.

Dayton’s dilemma seems genuine. No politician in America has made such an indelible signature out of his zeal for taxing the rich and only the rich.

Earlier this year, the governor completely abandoned a sweeping sales tax expansion proposal when it became clear that including business services was unworkable. Only the business piece, he explained, made it palatable for him to broaden the range of purchases on which ordinary Minnesotans were taxed, even though he claimed that his proposal would produce no net tax hike for consumers.

However the budget battle turns out in the weeks ahead, a bracing dose of reality should have been delivered by now. There is much hard work ahead in reconciling this society’s finite means with its ever-growing needs and wants — with unmanageable health care costs, an aging infrastructure and aging population, daunting educational challenges, and all the rest. Choosing among higher taxes, simply recognizing limits and demanding that government change and improve how it does its work will confront us unendingly.

The good news is that the last few months should have clarified this: There will have to be some higher taxes. But to the extent we choose higher taxes rather than limits and reforms, it will sooner or later mean higher taxes on everyone. Even if you’re not rich. And even if you don’t smoke.


D.J. Tice is the Star Tribune’s commentary editor. Reach him at

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