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Issues, Taxation Ratification

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Minnesota Constitution

Every candidate talks about taxation, but few take a stand on how it is to be done. Like you, Jim Martin recognizes that Minnesota requires money to operate that can only be raised via taxation. The ultimate authority to tax must rest with those whom are required to pay. In 2008, we ratified a constitutionally defined sales tax, and our school boards come to us to request levies. There is no practical reason why we, as taxpayers, can not ratify the rate and term of other taxation methods. Jim Martin wishes to require any taxation by the state or its subdivision to be ratified by the Minnesotans upon whom the tax is imposed. It is just good common sense, promotes fundamental fairness, and balances the sovereign power between a government and its citizenry.

Article X of the Minnesota Constitution describes taxation. At the time this was written, Jim Martin was unable to find a requirement for a tax to expire or that it be allocated to a specific fund. When a tax is required to expire, legislators are required to revisit the issue of that tax and it becomes a public focus. If a tax is required to be allocated to a specific fund, not only is the purpose of the tax made clear but the regulation of its spending is made more easily. Take, for example, the constitutionally defined sales tax of Article XI 15. It has a definite end in 2034 and its revenue is dedicated to specific funds for specific purposes. Furthermore, those funds are regulated by statute as to on what the revenue can be spent. Also, the Minnesotans subject to the tax ratified the request of their taxing authority. Even though each line item is not immediately available, every Minnesotan could easily find in the published and promulgated statutes of our state what is taxed, for how long, at what rate, and where that tax revenue is deposited for spending. If more information is desired, the curious individual could contact the administration of the fund for each individual line item thereby creating transparency.

Tell us how you feel about ratifying taxation.

Public Comment Agreement


"The only problem I have with allocating specific funds is that an idea that sounded good in the past can't get changed in a timely fashion to deal with future needs. Also, 'pet projects' can end up being obligated while less sexy but more important priorities are slashed. Think California budget. The sunset provision for taxes and programs is a good idea."
- GK, Alexandria. 3 June 2010.

"GK- Thank you for your comments. If we had the ability to ratify taxation proposals, we would have an opportunity to both approve and deny 'pet projects.' It is nice to see that we agree a tax should expire. I am not familiar with how other states handle their budget. If you do not mind my asking, where do you think our tax revenues should be deposited and by whom should they be handled?"
- Jim Martin, Lake Elmo. 9 June 2010.