Editorial: Sales tax sillinessA newly proposed tax bill for Minnesota counties was delivered Monday, but its contents are a decidedly mixed bag.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
A newly proposed tax bill for Minnesota counties was delivered Monday, but its contents are a decidedly mixed bag.
Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, and Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, brought forth legislation that would give county commissioners authority to raise taxes on sales within their county by a half percent — with the stipulation that roughly half of the revenues collected go to reduce property taxes.
On one hand, as Marquart noted, the legislation “provides options, flexibility to counties.” Marquart also pointed out that while property owners must pay property taxes, Minnesotans have the option of not purchasing things.
And therein lays part of the problem.
In order to have a healthy state, we must continue to do what we can to encourage Minnesotans to buy locally, either in their own communities or at the very least within their own state of residence. This bill wouldn’t help in this area.
House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said while condemning the bill that 70 percent of Minnesotans live within an hour’s drive of another state, and people buying more expensive items would be more likely to do so across Minnesota lines should their sales tax increase. Plenty of southwest Minnesotans already shop in Sioux Falls — this phenomenon almost certainly wouldn’t change for the better.
We have no problem with the concept of a local option sales tax that goes directly toward specific improvements or projects, such as what was approved in Worthington last fall. Residents will see concrete benefits as a result of those revenues. But merely allowing a sales tax hike for the purpose of easing the property tax burden seems silly.