As we approach the fiscal cliff in Washington, there’s a new report from St. Paul about property taxes which give some hope for the longer term. In addition to recommendations for reform, the quick education on tax policy and the history of property taxes in Minnesota is well worth reading.
I admit, I still have a wee bit of small liberal arts college idealism (even after 10 years in and around local government!), but I’d like to think tax reform could be a bipartisan effort. Rather than arguing (at the start, anyway) about raising or cutting taxes, let’s take a look at Appendix B and admit we (everybody take some responsibility here) have managed to incrementally complexify the property tax system to the point where it is collapsing under the weight of special interest protections and it is time to return to the fundamental purpose of property taxation (from the Guiding Principles of the report)
The purpose of the property tax is to provide a local revenue source to pay for local ser- vices. Although the state should define a uniform structure, the tax should be accountable to local people and the state’s involvements should be very limited. It should not be an arena for state legislators to serve constituent interests. The property tax is foremost a local revenue system, not a vehicle for state policies.
2 Replies to “New tax report from MN Dept of Revenue”
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Betsey – I have become a big believer in tax simplification for all systems. We need to get social policy out of the tax system and use it for raising revenue. I do see that refunds through the tax system may be the most efficient way to administer some social policy. So good for this work group and we will hope that the legislature pays attention.