15 thoughts on “Taxes Schmaxes, I Want Sunlight

  1. Newt says:

    There is no correlation whatsoever between high taxation and quality of life. Once can reasonably conclude from this list that there numerous options for high-quality living that don’t necessitate or arise from high taxation …

    Total tax burden (per capita) (most recent) by state

    # 1 Hawaii: $3,050.03
    # 2 Wyoming: $2,973.87
    # 3 Connecticut: $2,941.21
    # 4 Minnesota: $2,890.90
    # 5 Delaware: $2,862.03
    # 6 Vermont: $2,844.96
    # 7 Massachusetts: $2,628.26
    # 8 New Jersey: $2,415.82
    # 9 California: $2,391.65
    # 10 Michigan: $2,381.34
    # 11 New York: $2,376.77
    # 12 Wisconsin: $2,296.20
    # 13 Washington: $2,238.66
    # 14 Rhode Island: $2,230.43
    # 15 Maryland: $2,214.49
    # 16 Maine: $2,202.86
    # 17 New Mexico: $2,102.88
    # 18 Nebraska: $2,082.27
    # 19 West Virginia: $2,067.85
    # 20 Pennsylvania: $2,045.09
    # 21 Kentucky: $2,043.31
    # 22 Alaska: $2,034.51
    # 23 Nevada: $2,031.24
    # 24 Arkansas: $2,029.34
    # 25 Illinois: $2,005.24
    # 26 North Carolina: $1,971.48
    # 27 Ohio: $1,962.93
    # 28 Kansas: $1,932.58
    # 29 North Dakota: $1,932.22
    # 30 Indiana: $1,920.26
    # 31 Virginia: $1,902.56
    # 32 Idaho: $1,898.06
    # 33 Oklahoma: $1,823.70
    # 34 Louisiana: $1,781.78
    # 35 Mississippi: $1,766.54
    # 36 Florida: $1,756.36
    # 37 Montana: $1,753.71
    # 38 Iowa: $1,741.66
    # 39 Utah: $1,733.15
    # 40 Oregon: $1,699.55
    # 41 Arizona: $1,673.57
    # 42 Georgia: $1,633.84
    # 43 South Carolina: $1,620.67
    # 44 Tennessee: $1,617.03
    # 45 Missouri: $1,583.28
    # 46 Alabama: $1,550.99
    # 47 New Hampshire: $1,543.79
    # 48 Colorado: $1,532.26
    # 49 South Dakota: $1,378.37
    # 50 Texas: $1,368.45

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Newt, the chart you present is not the best measure, in my opinion. The fair measure is state and local revenue as a percentage of income, because that reflects all taxes and capacity to pay. By that measure, MN looks to be 20th, not 4th. I know that robs us of the right to feel quite as sorry for ourselves, but we always have the weather.

      As some of you may know, I come from the bottom of the barrel, even lower than Benidt. I’ve lived in both Texas (grad school…hook ’em Horns) and South Dakota (childhood through undergraduate…go Jackrabbits), where taxes are lowest. I love many things about both places, the things governments can’t buy — down-to-earth people, endearing cultural quirks, and gorgeous landscapes. But you do get what you pay for, and if you don’t pay much, you don’t get much. Low taxes may be an intoxicating allure, but the way vulnerable people are treated and the lack of public-supported amenities and infrastructure was a buzzkill for me.

  2. Mike Kennedy says:


    I was just razzing you. If I really thought that you moved to avoid taxes I would have called you a hypocrite, which I don’t seriously believe you are.

  3. Ah, Joe, how inconvenient. A blogger with a memory.

    In the original draft of the piece above, I fessed up on the Cooper thing, eating a little crow. But my first editor, whom I’ll not name cuz I shouldn’t blame him, said drop the Cooper stuff. Don’t give him the satisfaction, the editor said, and besides, Cooper came back to Minnesota.

    But to save a little pride, here’s what got cut out of the piece:

    Three years ago, on a blog I and several others write, thesamerowdycrowd.com, I chided Bill Cooper, former TCF Bank mogul and former state Republican chairman, when he moved to Florida. Cooper told the Star Tribune, “I reject feeding this dysfunctional beast.” The beast being Minnesota government. If you feel that way, then go, was my sentiment.“So,” I wrote, “he’s taking his Scrooge McDuck money bags and going to Florida, where a no-income-tax government won’t bother him for contributions for silly things like schools and roads.”

    As taxes rise in Minnesota, many worry that wealthy people like Cooper will leave, for states like Florida. Smugly, I wrote then, “Let them. The rest of us will plug along here, pay our taxes and see if we can get Minnesota back to being a state that works.”

    “Enjoy Florida, Bill,” I ended my piece. “I went to college there, I spend part of the winter in Key West, and I love the state, what’s left of it. But live there? No thanks. Florida has a government as responsive as a corpse, a legislature that’s sold to the highest bidder (often Big Sugar, which bought the legislature so it could drain the Everglades), tattered schools and a voting system that’s the envy of African dictators. If that’s the kind of state where you want to live, Bill, take your Minnesota money and count it down there. Florida government’s got a long way to climb to reach ‘dysfunctional.’”

    Three years later, salt me a little crow and I’ll eat some as we pack the moving van for the Tampa area. It’s not that Florida has improved – Minnesota has slipped. Community has sunk in priority since No New Taxes. State aid to cities? Melting away, like municipalities’ NNT-ravaged snow-removal budgets. Richfield, the suburb just south of where we’ve lived, lost $2.5 million in state aid in two years. Belt tightening has passed – we’re talking pants falling down now, no coverage, naked to the elements.

    And so on, blahblahblah.

    And Newt, I’d say that on your list you don’t find a Southern state until #19, West Virginia. And then the South rolls in, with lesser tax burdens, and, I would submit, lesser quality of life.

    And in a story on the tea party in either the St. Pete or New York Times today, Frederic Bastiat was quoted saying government should not tax people to pay for things like public roads and education. That makes it very clear, what the Tea Partiers are up to. Not just dismantle things like Social Security, but government itself. And leave us all to build our own roads? Oh, let the market prevail, private roads. I get it now.

    I’ll stick with taxes and caring for the common weal. Call me a socialist, but I think you’re nuts.

    1. Newtron says:

      Please explain why crappy roadway at 54th & Nicollet is the obligation of someone who lives in Rochester, Duluth or Ely?

      So you desire a Southern coastal state with high taxation?You can achieve that goal through your local government.

      They would be pleased to build you a $20 million arts center (Burnsville) or Park Board-owned mini-golf complex (Plymouth), or a giant freshwater aquarium, insolvent of course (Duluth), etc.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        Isn’t a “Newtron” an electrically NEUTRAL subatomic particle? When I think Newt, “neutral” isn’t the first term that comes to mind.

      2. If people from Rochester travel to Mpls, they might want a decent road, and vice versa. If Rochester makes money on the Mayo Clinic, they might want decent bus, car, air and train service to get people there. There is something in this society that’s bigger than our own back yard.

  4. Joe Loveland says:

    Just teasing, Bruce, not jeering. I know your reasoning is much different than Dollar Bill’s. We pasty people will sure miss seeing you as much.

  5. PM says:

    Apparently, Florida and Minnesota have about the same percentage (between 4% and 5%) of their population in the top income tier (making more than $200,000.00 annually).
    Despite the fact that Fl and SD have no state income taxes, the percentage of their population that is high income does not seem to be particularly high–their low tax rates do not seem to be attracting people with high incomes.

    And the states with the highest percentage of high earners seem to live in the states with the highest income tax rates (NY, CT, NJ, MA, CA).


    High tax rates do not seem to be getting lots of people to move to FL and SD (or at least not enough of them to increase their share of the population significantly). Perhaps, people with the potential/desire to earner big money go to where the most opportunity is, despite the high tax rates.

    Maybe we really do not need to worry as much about the tax rates as we need to worry about the possibility of being successful in MN.

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, if federal rates go up — and state rates are sure to follow — let’s see how many stay and how many leave. Many of my clients have places in MN/Fla or MN/AZ. It’s not tough to change legal residence if you already have a place.

    1. PM says:

      But if federal rates go up, they go up in both places. Maybe you mean if MN state income tax rates go up?

  7. Newt says:

    I just read that Bemidji is completing work on a $50 million “regional entertainment center” and local officials are now worried that it won’t survive financially.

    Let Bemidji elected officials face their constituents every morning at the town diner or at Sunday mass. There’s no better accountability.

    Yet another shining example of why LGA is such a bad idea.

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