Letter: This should be a chance for tax reform – Post Bulletin

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Mississippi and other states with excess taxpayer income are reducing state income tax rates, simplifying tax filing and, in some cases, working to eliminate income taxes altogether. state revenue (some have already done so).

And here in Minnesota, our politicians are arguing over how to spend (some might say waste) your surplus money that the state has raised. Our state has a $9.25 billion surplus (likely larger now that taxpayers are filing their required income taxes) and also $5 billion in unspent federal relief funds (revenue collected by federal taxpayers). Instead of developing meaningful tax reform that would encourage taxpayers to stay in Minnesota, our governor and our legislature are arguing over how to spend that taxpayer money. And by sending “Walz Checks” in an attempt to buy your vote with your money.

A concrete solution that saves taxpayers money is to simplify the tax return. Using federal adjusted income multiplied by a percentage (even if the rate is “progressive” across income brackets) is a much better approach. It saves money by eliminating much of the Department of Revenue (whose job seems to be to make filling out each year more difficult and complex). This saves Minnesota taxpayers countless hours of frustration. This is likely to make tax accountants and tax lawyers unhappy as demand for their services declines. And ultimately, it makes politicians unhappy because there’s no way to buy your vote.

Significant income tax reform is unlikely to be forthcoming. The best we can hope for is a “waltz check” – which is, after all, our money returned to us.

Tom SchwalenRochester

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