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 Response Page - Haveman  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Mark Haveman Interview of 

The Questions:

On a scale of (0) most disagreement , to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on the following:

1.  _7.8 average response_____  For Minnesota to succeed in economic development state taxes ought not be out of line with those of its competitors.   

2.  _8.3 average response_____  Minnesota should have a jobs strategy that treats all businesses equitably, not one that provides tax breaks for some and not others.   

3.  _6.0 average response_____  To improve Minnesota's competitive position the state corporate income tax should be eliminated.

4.  _6.7 average response_____  A workable option for replacing lost revenue would be to broaden the sales tax to include now-exempt items. 

5.  _6.7 average response_____  Relying on the individual income tax would be less productive because a large and growing proportion of Minnesotans are past their income-tax-producing years.

Hoehn Eli  (5) (0) (0) (5) (10)

Question 1:  This statement is ill-formed in such a way as to elicit a specific response. It does not address the issue finding equitable, sustainable revenue sources for the state.

Question 2:  Not all businesses are equal. There are businesses we do not want to encourage.

Question 3:  Corporations should pay in degree to the resources/advantages they enjoy. Putting the tax burden on the middle class is unacceptable.

Question 4:  Putting the tax burden on the middle class is unacceptable.

Question 5:  We need to identify other revenue sources. They should be sustainable in the long-term, and equitable. The middle-class should not  have to be the principalsource of revenue for the state.

Chris Stedman (10) (5)) (0) (10) (5) 

David Pundt (10) (10) (10) (3) (8)

I will never understand why people with a modicum of education and knowledge of the way the world works still somehow believe that businesses and corporations don't pass taxes on to their customers or employees through lower wages and benefits. Where do these people think money comes from; trees? And these same folks continue to ignore success stories like South Dakota and Texas and vote for tax increase after tax increase and somehow believe that business owners will want to share their expertise and energy and move to Minnesota when the heavy-lifting is a lot lighter in lots of other places. Bizarre.

Arvonne Fraser (4) (5) (6) (8) (2)

No. 5 is silly--or disingenuous--because retired people have incomes!  Our IRAs, 40lks, Social Security beyond a certain point,  are all taxable.  If you did any pre-retirement planning you have taxable income.

Gary Kriesel (yes) (yes) (yes) (yes) (yes)

Sales tax + circuit breaker on property tax at age of 70. 

Bert Press (10) (5) (0) (10) (0)

Carol Becker (0) (10) (0) (10) (10)

It is completely irresponsible to have a discussion of tax changes like item 1 or 3 without a complementary increase somewhere else or clear budget cuts.

Randy Shaw (5) (10) (0) (0) (10)

Rick Bishop (5) (10) (0) (5) (10)
Question 3:  Since corporations want to be treated as individuals (see recent Supreme Court action on campaigns and free speech) and since they yearn to control fiscally, politically, and would scrap unions and fair competition, they need to pay their fair share without any strings attached!

Charles Lutz (10) (10) (8) (10) (8)

Clarence Shallbetter (6) (7) (6) (3) (5)

David Dillon (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

I personally know people who have chosen to change their state of residence from Minnesota because of the high income and estate taxes. (Now the state gets NONE of their money and we are deprived of many of their other contributions because they make sure to stay away for at least six months plus one day each year.)  We have been repeatedly advised to move our fast growth internet business out of Minnesota for tax reasons.  If there is one business thatís easy to move, itís an internet business.

Donald H. Anderson (8) (10) (9) (5) (2)

Income producing workers are better able to afford paying taxes, proportionate to their income. Retirees would automatically be in a lower category because their peak earning period is behind them.

John S. Adams (8) (5) (10) (10) (8)

Question 1:  The focus on taxes to the exclusion of what  we get for the taxes means a misplaces emphasis.  The more basic  questions are: (a) are we getting the public investments and services  that we truly need so that metro-centered regional economies of
 Minnesota become and remain competitive with the rest of the countey  and the rest of the workd?  (b) Are we getting all that we are paying  for and not overpaying?  (c.f., public pensions; health care  expenditures; etc.) (c) And are we paying full prices today for what
 we already get--that is, are we paying full prices today for the  depreciation of the natural and built environments, or are we living on credit?

 Question 2:  We need an appropriate investments strategy and the jobs will  follow.  Rhetoric on "jobs, jobs, jobs" sounds too much like simple  make-work efforts.   

Question 3:   Yes, eliminate it.  The case is clear, not  only on its fiscal impacts but also on its public relations  possibilities.  

Question 4:   Broadening the sales tax base is long overdue.  We live in a consumer-driven economy and the opponents of  the sales tax are stuck in 1930s-era thinking.  

Question 5:  Relying too  much on income taxes--yes.  On the other hand, it's pretty easy to
 avoid much of the state income tax--as well as the federal income  tax.  So it's important to go slow on this one.  

Jerry Fruin (9) (10) (10) (10) (8)

JoeMansky (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
As noted by this and other speakers, Minnesota needs to find different and more useful ways to generate the revenue needed to operate state and local government.

David Broden (7) (10) (7) (10) (8)

Question 1:  While taxes being out of line are the visible and sometimes driving force and may have become more a priority for business in recent years the other measures of doing business are perhaps for most companies equal or more important. Those are : quality and capability of workforce and work ethic; attitude about the role of business in a community and to the economy--negative comments about business constantly does more damage than high taxes; access to health care and quality; arts and related, environment etc. Bottom line we cannot let the tax issue overwhelm the need to have a positive attitude when addressing business whether those currently here or those who may be start up or looking to move here.    

Question 2:  Having said that a common base for all business is the goal we must be open to working special arrangements if that is a good decision. Mn did that with taconite and with several companies that in the long run have been pluses for Mn. The concept that worked for the taconite amendment and industry could work again and should not be ignored for any reason.     

Question 3:  I would agree that the corporate tax should be eliminated thus a 10--I will however strong suggest that this alone will not address the real problems related to other costs of business--other business and labor taxes/fees; attitudes of some in both government and the community, etc. We need to re-establish a attitude that says that MN not only welcomes all to the state but we have a positive approach and we will work with all to bring them and support them. This must start with a stronger DEED's and a strong link with other businesses, unions, non union workforce, education etc.  

Question 4:  This will ensure that the tax burden is understood by all and brings a stable revenue source. Broadening the base and raising revenue.  

Question 5:  The way this question is stated is part of the problem. The term a growing number of Mn are past their income tax producing  years must change-- as a redesign focus we need to change the society view of when people retire. The Social security etc. was not set up to sustain people for long period of time. People retire early and we lose income --we need these people who are and can be productive to be in the workforce--not just volunteers--this will take a change in tax policy, change in business and industry, change in people attitude etc. If we keep even 50% of the workface engaged for 5-10 additional years we will have much more revenue. This needs to be a major focus that all groups talk around. This is a major source of revenue and reduction of expenditure if we can keep people working. We need  a champion for this focus.  

Gene Franchett (0) (8) (0) (0) (0)

Barbara Robertson (10) (9) (0) (4) (5)

All I know is that my property taxes are out of sight in Cass County where I get no services.  Property can't continue to pay but I don't know how to get business to pay their fair share without running them out of the state.  I think we give too many free services in Minnesota.  We never used to have all of the services for people that we seem to have now. 

Dennis L. Johnson (8) (8) (10) (0) (5)

It appears that Mark Haveman is in favor of an "Opportunity" State on the issue of Business taxes, but still feels there is nothing wrong with being a "Nanny" state on the expenditures side. If nurturing business by cutting business taxes is a good idea, then the resulting jobs added should in time more than make up for any revenue lost by producing more income and sales tax revenue without an increase in tax rates to individuals. State expenses should also be cut to avoid having to raise taxes for anyone.

Wayne Jennings (8) (5) (5) (5) (5)

Hard to respond to this issue without hearing other sides, if there are countervailing arguments.

Al Quie (8) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Haveman makes so much sense that any citizen should be able to understand it.

Ann Berget (8) (_) (_) (_) (_)

It is hard to respond to these questions by rating each question in isolation. MN certainly needs to improve its competitive position in retaining/ attracting business in the state, but some trade-offs are not desirable, i.e. expanding sales tax to include clothing, maybe food, sometimes even medicine, is very regressive. Personally, where incentives are concerned, I'd like to see MN actually produce more useful goods: vehicles at the Ford plant, tennis shoes, building supplies, clothing, furniture, etc. There are many chronically unemployed people in MN. High tech probably won't get them into a job. I'd like to see a coordinated focus on fuller employment, but not just at the high tech upper end of the wage scale.  Some of it is not glamorous, but it makes for healthier communities. BTW, where does MN stand in % of adults 18-65 who are fully employed?

Bill Hamm (10) (9) (8) (0) (3)

Question 1:  Economics 101 duh. I don't think this discussion comes anywhere near solving this problem.

Question 2:  Problem is the legislative majority likes to stack the deck for its union members companies or public employers.

Question 3:  Yes I support this direction but it all comes down to replacing it with what?

Question 4: . No, you are right back to pushing to increase our most regressive form of taxation and burn the working class again. Let's begin to look at an honest flat Income tax and eliminating all but child and investment credits.

Question 5:  I am not at all certain this statement is correct since there has yet to be a discussion of making the income tax system fair; seems to be a taboo subject.

The sales tax was promised to be a temporary tax to get us through a rough time, the word temporary was quickly forgotten. Instead it has become the go to of choice every time we overextend our state budget. Middle class progressives are just as bad at screwing us in the bottom 62% with this garbage as the rich have ever been. Again no real solution offered just an old tried and true temporary fix.

Carolyn Ring (10) (10) (8) (8) (9)

The options for 3 and 4 should be developed to assess the best possible solution or combination of solutions.  As we think of the many major companies that have left MN and others that have been bought by foreign investors it is critical we take steps to improve  our ability to compete.

Ray Cox (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Minnesota will continue to struggle with budgets if it keeps such reliance on personal income taxes. We need to expand the sales tax base, or look at a VAT, to help deal with our changing demographics.

Peter Hennessey (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

The only moral and morally defensible form of taxation is the sales tax. This is as fundamental as natural law -- the creatures on this Earth consume when the harvest is good and game is plentiful. Similarly, a manufacturer has earnings, and therefore can actually pay his bills, workers and suppliers, if and only if his products sell. A salesman earns a commission only if he makes a sale. A contractor, doctor, lawyer, etc., earn an income only if their services are desired enough by somebody to pay for them. It is only the government that insist on being paid (actually, in amounts increasing each year) regardless of economic conditions or ability to pay, even in the face of decreasing amounts of "services" the government "provides" in return. (Never mind that the government has no business providing any "services" to begin with.) With a sales tax the consumer is in control; he can choose to buy something or not, and he can adjust the size and timing of his purchase according to his ability to afford it. Therefore he pays a tax only when he has the money pay it. Nobody will hold a gun to his head if he chooses not to buy anything, but they will if he won't pay his income or property tax. All forms of taxation, other than the sales tax, is extortion, not a tax that free men pay to support a government that actually protects, not threatens, their freedoms.

Question 1:  At the very least, "competitive" means you are no worse than your competition. The details might vary but the total package cost better be no worse than in other States.

Question 2:  According to our Declaration of Independence, we have the god-given right to pursue our own happiness. Under the US Constitution we are supposed to have equal treatment under the law. The government can't favor some and hinder others. In addition, the government has no business having any "job strategy" except to make sure that the government's policies (taxes and regulations) are not discriminatory, burdensome, unjust or punitive. The power of the government is inherently inhibitive; the only way it can encourage enterprise and growth is to stay the hell out of the way of those who seek to better themselves and their community through productive work, whether as inventors, entrepreneurs or just plain employees.

Question 3:  YES the corporate income tax must be eliminated. When the hell will people realize that NO business EVER pays any taxes? An enterprise can remain in business only if they make a profit or at worst break even; they MUST have enough revenue to at least meet all their expenses, from whatever source, including taxes. The only way they can do that is by passing all costs -- raw materials, machinery, payroll, rents and leases, research and development, marketing and sales, overhead, taxes -- on to their customers. Only the end customer, the last one to buy and actually consume, pays any taxes -- and he pays all the taxes for all the suppliers, middlemen and retailers who came before him in the "food chain." Therefore it makes absolutely no sense to have any tax on businesses; all it does is increase the accounting and legal costs without providing any benefit other than a political illusion with which dishonest politicians seek to dazzle the ignorant masses. Under the current system the employees of a business pay plenty enough in income taxes already. If MN should also junk the individual income tax, the same employees acting as consumers will still pay plenty enough in sales taxes. 

Question 4:  Try not to play too much politics with the range of items subject to sales tax. I can just hear some stupid tax-and-spend do-gooder demagoging the issue by proclaiming that some heartless conservative is proposing to tax baby food. Try not to plead that the sales tax is regressive; the poor spend less and therefore pay little, the rich spend a lot and therefore pay large amounts in sales tax. 

And forget the argument that the sales tax cannot possibly generate enough revenue for the government; the government must never get so big that it could not meet its obligations from a modest, non-punitive level of taxation. Who will be left to pay any taxes when the government gets so big that everyone is on the government payroll as employee or welfare client? What will we do when 100% of the government's revenue must go to pay the interest on the public debt?

Question 5:  Holy cow. Perfect ten. Keep it up. Maybe there is hope for you yet.

With a sales tax, the age issue cited in this question goes away. People spend not because of their income level or age, but because of their needs and desires. Actually studies show that retirees are more likely to spend on discretionary items which are much more likely to be subject to sales tax than the spending on bare necessities more typical of young(er) families. 

The income tax, whether graduated or flat, is nothing but the communist credo in action (from each according to his ability). Sorry, that only turns the productive members of society into slaves -- slaves not to the unfortunate as it is claimed, but to anyone who happens to have the government's favor at the moment (AIG, GM, unions, banks "too big to fail," cronies on Wall Street, etc.). The graduated income tax, rooted deeply in progressive political theory, is a disincentive to making the effort and being productive; it punishes success. It is immoral at its roots and therefore must be eliminated at all levels of government.

Mike Hanson (5) (6) (7) (8) (5) 

Paul Hauge (5) (8) (2) (8) (3)

Tim Gabrielson (10) (10) (3) (0) (0)

Our businesses and corporations need to be on a level balance with other States. We would have more young people if we had good paying manufacturing jobs in Greater Mn. We need to reinstate tariffs from overseas companies whose labor costs are little. Americans would gladly do these jobs for a living wage! We need to compete with other states and countries if we are going to survive in our state. We also need to change our Dept of Human Services. This has been totally out of control for years. We give out way too many benefits and services! People know this and swarm to Mn from other states and countries to live off of us. We need to start enforcing the immigrations laws of this country and with no giveaways. They learn our language and become productive citizens or go back to their country. We need to take control of our great country again and this means our Congress has to clean up their way of doing business. This means they need to represent us and our best interests and not those of large companies or the rich!

Marvin Ott (10) (10) (6) (7) (7)

Barbara Grove (10) (10) (5) (5) (10)

Robert A. Freeman (10) (7) (10) (8) (7)

Question 2:   To some extent.  Iím fine with having a tax policy that treats tobacco, alcohol and junk food as less worthy than milk and vegetables, since they wreak much heavier health costs on society.

Question 3:  Follow the example of Ireland in the 90s, which went from a farm economy to a booming hub of service and tech companies literally overnight.

Question 4: The tax system should reflect the reality of the 21st century economy.  That should include services and even though it is regressive, clothing.

Question 5: To some extent. The income tax will still constitute a major part of our budget and very rich people will still be able to afford to pay a greater chunk of their income than poor people.

It is vital we overhaul our stateís tax system in the very near future if we want to continue to provide the services that government provides now such as a strong education system, a public safety net, and basic infrastructure like roads, bridges and public safety.

Ray Ayotte (8) (8) (5) (7) (5)

Dennis Fink (5) (9) (4) (6) (2)

Lyall Schwarzkopf (9) (10) (9) (7) (5)

If the corporate income tax is eliminated, somehow, corporations should lower the cost of their products so that they do not turn the savings into more income for the corporation.  I wonder if the group discussed that?

Kevin Edberg (8) (8) (8) (8) (10)

Elimination of various taxes should be paired with wise use of various circuit breakers to protect low-income individuals.

Dane Smith (5) (5) (1) (8) (5)

Mark and the MTA do outstanding work and have been a great asset for Minnesota for three-quarters of a century.     We disagree at Growth & Justice with some of the specifics of the MTAís positions but respect the quality and integrity of the research.  The most important disagreement has to do with elimination of the corporate income tax.   We think some reduction would be wise as part of a thorough overhaul, but elimination would put too much pressure on other taxes and severely strained public investments.

Larry Schluter (8)(7) (7) (9) (8)

We do need to broaden our tax base even if we reduce or eliminate the corporate tax.  I found it interesting that the corporate tax was not a larger percentage of the revenue. 

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (5) (10) (10)

As individuals enter retirement they also become lower consumers of goods and some services so the sales tax may not result in as much revenue or could place lower income individuals in financial distress

Jim Keller (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Ideally we could have a Fed Vat upon which the states could piggy-back, replacing the state and fed income tax. This has the attributes of reducing the tax load, by substantially reducing administrative cost; additionally it picks up tax on the underground economy which has become a substantial piece of our economy!

Terry Stone (10) (10) (10) (0) (8)

Question 2:  Removing taxation disparity in business sectors keeps the Minnesota Legislature and their special interest co-pilots out of the social planning business. Jobs marketed as green seem irresistible to the politically correct Legislature. This includes jobs in a range of industries with incentives underpinned by global warming constructs.

Question 4:  As part of revenue neutral tax policy thriving within a political vacuum, the idea of broadening the sales tax base and eliminating corporate tax is hard to argue with. In the real world of the current biennial budget exigency, the sustainability of spending and service delivery trumps the style of revenue collection.

The revenue that is lost by eradicating corporate tax is recovered automatically in the increased revenue from larger income tax and sales tax bases--not from broadening the sales tax.  The increased business activity from the elimination of corporate tax will increase revenues from all thirty-six of Minnesotaís taxes.

A lean efficient tax policy must accompany a lean efficient government. Regardless of who pays the taxes, the ultimate goal needs to be less tax paid to restore Minnesotaís culture of self-reliance and productivity.

Rodney Bounds (6) (7) (8) (6) (8)


The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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