The following letters are all about the governor's budget plan.
A wide range of views on ‘Plan C’ alternatives
I commend the Star Tribune Editorial Board for putting forth a “Plan C” alternative to Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal (“A better state budget omits services tax,” Feb. 17). But when does taxing a minority promote fairness? Second, our state and federal governments are slowly beginning to look as cluttered as most of our garages. Over the years, laws get passed and tasks get added to the docket of things managed by our government. You proposed a $200 million cut from a $37.9 billion budget. That amounts to a whopping (drum roll, please) 0.5 percent cut in our spending. We are not reducing the footprint of the government enough. Maybe we need to come up with a “Plan D.”
NICK MEYER, Stillwater
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I’ve no problem whatsoever paying taxes to fund appropriate services. I understand taxing clothing and food. I balk somewhat at financing sports facilities. But how about an extra tax on firearms and ammunition? An expert state panel could determine where to direct the proceeds.
PAUL WAYTZ, Minneapolis
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Dayton proposes a $500 tax rebate to all property owners. Nice idea. However, if property owner A pays $3,500 a year in taxes and property owner B pays $7,500 a year, they both get a $500 refund. Fair share? I don’t think so. If the refund were 10 percent, then A would receive $350 and B would receive $750. They would both receive, in Dayton’s words, “their fair share.”
RICH OSBORN, Edina
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The solution to Minnesota’s budget woes isn’t a higher alcohol tax.Alcohol is already one of the country’s highest-taxed consumer products, and Minnesotans pay prices very similar to those paid by their neighbors across state borders. Raising the tax would put the state at an economic disadvantage and would impose an additional burden on the growing restaurant industry. The tax burden on beverage alcohol is already so high that federal, state and local governments collect more than $2 in taxes for every $1 that the industry earns in profit. The tax is also highly regressive — roughly half of all beverage alcohol in the United States is consumed in households with less than $50,000 in annual income.
SARAH LONGWELL, Washington, D.C.
The writer is managing director, American Beverage Institute
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The governor should consider an alternative revenue-raising, deficit-reducing, economically sound proposal that helps to slow climate change and can be quickly implemented here in Minnesota: the carbon tax. A tax on carbon would raise revenue and encourage businesses to experiment with new ways to limit carbon emissions to cut costs. Part of the revenue could then be used to lower corporate and income taxes, spurring growth. In British Columbia, after the carbon tax was implemented, the economy grew faster than in any of the other provinces, and that province now has the lowest corporate and income taxes in Canada. As a bonus, British Columbia’s carbon emissions are now 16 percent below those of other Canadian provinces. Now is the time to think outside the box on our economy and on global warming.
HANNAH JETER, Eden Prairie
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.