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 Response Page - Marty Seifert  Interview on taxes, human services, and photo ID for voters     

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

The Questions:

_6.0 average____ 
1.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether Minnesota's corporate income tax should be reduced?

_5.7 average____  2.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether Minnesota's sales tax should be broadened to cover services?

_6.4 average____  3.   On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether groups of counties should be required to jointly deliver human services?

_6.2 average____  4.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether a photo ID should be required of Minnesota voters? 

Mary Tambornino  (5) (5) (0) (0)

Peter Hennessey (10) (0) (_) (10)

1. Corporations do not pay taxes, whether the accounting slights-of-hand say so or not. End consumers pay all taxes. A corporation must pass on all costs, or else it goes out of business. If a corporation racks up profits, it either re-invests it in its own business, or it invests it in some account and the holder / administrator of that account invests it in something productive. Either way, the result is increased economic activity, and the State shares in the profits by increased collections of income and sales taxes on the consumers.

2. I have no idea how revenue from the MN sales tax is allocated. I expect that MN like any State must decide what is its proper function and what services it must provide (police, courts, ...?) and allocate funds accordingly. I do not see utilities, transportation, education and similar services as proper State functions.

3. I have just recently seen an interesting item in the news, about small towns contracting with a company to deliver certain services (trash collection was illustrated). The idea is that individually the towns are too small to maintain a cost-effective service, but by several of them contracting with one provider, they benefit from the economy of scale. They are learning that privatizing services saves a lot of money, and results in better service.

Score (required) = 0

Score (allowed) = 10

4. If you need still more proof of why you need a photo ID, then you might as well let your cats and dogs vote, too. People here in CA have done that too. It takes a uniquely twisted mind to deny the fact that all these schemes -- student vote in college towns, instant registration, early voting, no valid ID, no paper trail, refusal to update voter lists, no residence or citizenship requirement-- are designed not to remove the last vestiges of poll taxes and other denials of the right to vote, but to increase the chances for fraud; politics, after all, is total war by other means.

Austin Chapman (8) (8) (9) (10)

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

Marianne Curry (8) (10) (10) (10)

I believe that counties under a certain threshold of population should be consolidated into one.  Our system is Byzantine, duplicative, and inefficient, thus expensive. 

Donald H. Anderson (0) (7) (8) (2)

The only way we can pay for public services is through taxes, be it federal, state, county or local, be it the individuals or commercial activities. We have to be realistic, even if it means we can't afford certain goods and services - or bonuses. Tax equity is what we should be striving for.

Christine Brazelton (8) (2) (2) (0)

Question 1:  High corporate taxes get passed along to the consumers in the form of high prices, while suppressing business and job growth.  Therefore, I support lowering corporate taxes but increasing income taxes on the higher earners to a percentage more in line with that paid by lower earners.

Question 2:  Broadening our sales tax to include goods and services needed by most people would be regressive and therefore I would be against it.
Question 3:  Most human services are delivered to people with the least means.  Already people in need of services who don't have their own car have difficulty getting to the county seat for services, and most rural counties do not have adequate public transportation.  Requiring regional centers instead of county based centers would make that problem worse.  

There are some economies to be gained by sharing county services that are not as consumer sensitive and I would support those.
Question 4:  This is clearly a solution in search of a problem, if you take the proponents at their word that this is not a partisan proposal.  They are even saying now that the same
documents allowed at the polls on voting date would be allowed to obtain the photo id. Then what is to be gained, except for the disenfranchisement of people who tend to vote
Democrat?  People with few resources and chaotic lives are often the ones who lack photo id.  They would be less likely to go through the separate process of obtaining one just to vote, so they would be less likely than they already are to participate in the election process, a goal that is clearly at the heart of this proposal.

Gerald Simonson (7) (6) (4) (9)

Vici Oshiro

I accept Art Rolnick's position that there are good reasons to reduce the corporate income tax, but if that is done it should be revenue neutral.  This means increasing either the income or sales tax.

Counties should be encouraged - not required - to share services.

No to photo ID for voters.  If it ever passes we should institute a very easy way for non-drivers to get such an ID.  And going to the local licensing office would be a great burden for some.

Jeanne Massey

Are you not asking legislators about IRV? It’d be instructive to readers to hear from the Speaker and Majority Leader on this issue so I hope you can include a direct question to them. We expect that Sen Rest and Rep Simon will be introducing our bill to support municipal use. Marty introduced a bill for state elective office, but it’s too early to push this bill.

Clarence Shallbetter (4) (6) (8) (9)

Charles Lutz (0) (9) (10) (9)

Robert J. Brown (8) (8) (5) (10)

Question 1:  All of our taxes have to be realistic in terms of tax competition from other states. You can see what South Dakota does with its recruitment of businesses because of the lack of a corporate income tax. I think we don’t need to eliminate the tax to compete, but it should be lowered to make us more competitive.

Question 2:  As the economy has changed from one based on goods to one based on services it would seem necessary for the tax structure be changed accordingly. For this reason back in the 1970s we actually passed a value added tax in the state senate, but it died in the house. It would be difficult to change to a VAT unless Wisconsin did, too, since the bulk of our population is on the border and people could go across to WI for many services. Again, the tax competition question.

Question 3:  I think they should join for delivery of services when it can be shown to be cost saving. However, the theory of economies of scale does not always work out in government or the private sector.

Fred Senn (10) (8) (5) (10)

Alan Miller (0) (10) (5) (0)

John Branstad (6) (6) (8) (0)

Question 3:  I take a little issue with the word "required". There are already too many mandates (some funded, most unfunded) that are pushed onto our cities and schools from the state level. I think jointly delivered services are a way for counties to pool resources and potentially provide more and better services, but making joint delivery a requirement seems heavy handed. Counties should be encouraged to do so through government incentives.  


Question 4:  This is a classic solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Despite all the rhetoric and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, Minnesota has a tremendously clean elections process. Even with all the ridiculous scrutiny of the Senate recount, there hasn't been any evidence of voter fraud that would be "fixed" by this requirement. Minnesota's election process should be held up as a model that many other states could follow to improve their process. Our legislators should stick to solving the myriad actual problems facing our state, not wasting time and taxpayer money on things like this.


Joe Mansky (10) (10) (8) (0)

Question 4:  The better approach would be to merge the driver’s license and voter registration functions so that every eligible voter becomes registered as a consequence of having a valid Minnesota driver’s license or state identification card. This information could then be made available to the election judges in each polling place, so that a person’s name, address, date of birth, photo and signature would be available for inspection by the election judges.


Wayne Jennings (5) (2) (10) ( 1)


Richard McGuire (0) (10) (8) (5)


Sue St. Germain (6) (4) (7) (10)


Chuck Slocum (8) (8) (8) (8)

Question 1.      This tax is a “pass through” and elimination is good for the business climate but must be accompanied with a replacement source of revenue.

Question 2.      Raising taxes is always problematic but a sales tax on new clothing purchases is basically fair and equitable.

Question 3.      A good idea if such an agreement saves taxpayer money for more direct service delivery—the devil is in the details of such a mandate.

Question 4.      Voting in Minnesota should be made as easy and efficient as possible—a photo ID seems reasonable and most of us already have them.

Bill Frenzel (_) (10) (_) (10)

Question 1:  All MN taxes too high and should be reduced, but not with $5 billion deficit.

Question 2:  I don’t follow MN taxes closely, but feel  MN sales tax is both high and inefficient.

Question 4: We have to show them in VA, and nobody has died yet from so doing. 

Bill Hamm (5) (0) (0) (10)

Question 1.  While I believe it would be wise I don't think the timing is right.

Question 2.  Absolutely not, this is Minnesota's most regressive form of taxation and it needs to be reduced not increased. If you want to fix our tax system than let's take a look at a flat tax system with very few exemptions that takes a straight percentage of taxes from everyone forcing the richest 38% (the rich and middle class) to pay their share.

Question 3.  Living in a county (Itasca) which moronically finds it nearly impossible to work with its neighbors on this issue, I think you're opening a costly can of worms here with no clear direction.

Question 4.  Absolutely beyond any shadow of doubt.  Since some politicians continue to try to support allowing illegal aliens to vote, it will be the Governor who will have to rein them in.

Bill Kuisle (6) (2) (9) (10)

Jackie Underferth (0) (8) (8) (0)

Keith Swenson (10) (10) (0) (10)

James L. Weaver (0) (10) (10) (0)

Carolyn Ring (7) (5) (3) (10)

Question 3:  Voluntary combinations would make a great deal of sense, but let the counties decide.

Question 4:  Judges have absolutely no way of knowing if the person voting is the one registered.  You do have a birth date, and can kind of judge from that, but otherwise there is no possible clue.

Bill Jungbauer (10) (0) (0) (10)

John Detert (6) (7) (4) (0)

Terry Stone (10) (0) (5) (10)

Stone's response is very detailed, with comments throughout the text of the Seifert summary.   If you'd like a copy of Stone's response, please contact 

Robert A. Freeman (8) (7) (9) (3)

Question 1:   Ideally would be budget neutral – would support increasing other taxes to offset lost revenues, such as tobacco taxes or personal income taxes.  Ireland’s experience shows slashing its corporate tax rates resulted in an unprecedented economic revival over the last decade.

Question 3  Absolutely agree – there are many efficiencies to be found here.

Question 4: Generally disagree – concerned about voting fraud but more concerned this would present a significant barrier to voting for the elderly, poor etc.

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

Question 1:  The problem regarding business in Minnesota from my view is that the State and business within the State are not acknowledging the benefits of Minnesota as once was the focus--workforce quality, quality of life, education etc. We now see to be apologetic and not in a "why Minnesota is a great place to do business" mode. Lowering taxes will without doubt help but a state where workers can outperform may other states, and where there are good reasons to be here is a plus.  No whining about the winters--let's be positive.  A few years ago we were in that mode and taxes were the same basically. Now there is the thought we can't compete and no one wants to be here. Let's change the attitude as well as the taxes. I hope I am not unique in this position. 

Question 2:  It is definitely time to adjust our revenue to match what society is doing and how we do business.  Services and clothing must be part of the structure.  The sales tax may have to be different for each type of business but so what. There was a time when that type of selective sales tax was called an excise tax.  It seems to me that same selective concept is a good way to start and  it could help to get around some of the low income concerns. 

Question 3:  Joint service delivery is critical not only due to the budget and financial situation but just from management common sense. That does not require eliminating the counties.   Just sharing services and common resources for the common good of society.  

Question 4:  A very reasonable "proof".  That should not be a concern. For those without drivers license or other photo ID --consideration of some form of ID such as SSN, or similar, as well as the voucher concept by a neighbor for friend who does have a valid ID. Some work needs to be done so that no one is left out, but having something is appropriate. 

Tim McDonald (8) (2) (5) (8)

Pat Davies (0) (0) (5) (0)

What a skewed question!  How many of your responders are election experts?  I have lobbied election laws for the League of Women Voters since Arlen Erdahl was Secretary of State.  We have excellent laws, excellent turnout, excellent enthusiasm about voting.  No effort should be made to change any of those without good reason.  Requiring photo ID. is not a good reason.  With nearly 3 million ballots examined and reexamined since November 4, 2008, only one instance of fraud has been uncovered - a felon who was not "off paper" voted (for Coleman).  I do not believe MN statutes ought to be changed to disenfranchise elderly, handicapped, low income or first-time voters because of one felon.  

Bright Dornblaser (7) (10) (10) (0)

Tom Swain (7) (9) (10) (5)

Al Quie (10) (5) (0) (10)

Scott Halstead (10) (0) (10) (10)

Question 2:  The sales tax should be broadened with various rates depending upon the necessity of the item and a small income tax credit for low income.

Lyall Schwarzkopf (7) (3) (10) (10)

Paul Hauge (2) (5) (9) (3)

Larry Schluter (5) (8) (8) (6)

Question 1- I am neutral on the corporate tax rate as I have read that it is not actually that bad as we have many deduction which brings down the rate to a more acceptable level.  That needs to be looked at first before we decrease revenue.

Question 2- I believe we could broaden our sales tax to cover more basic items like clothing.  Nebraska does this but gives a tax credit based on income to reflect what they have to buy to cover their basic needs.  Someone who purchases many expensive items and had a higher income would not get any credits, along with those from other states.

Question 3- This would especially be good for the smaller populated counties.

Question 4- I don't think this is so necessary now but I don't believe it should be ignored in the future just because we have not had any major problems.  We have many other items to work on and this has become a hot button issue.

John Hottinger (7) (9) (8) (2)

I like Marty, but he just recites the traditional Republican mantra; countering the recitation of traditional Democratic mantras by others.  What will damage our “business climate” is the continued de-emphasis and slashed funding in higher education and neglect of early childhood education focused where it can be most productive in eliminating the learning gap.  Low tax states are characterized by law taxes, low family incomes, reduced health care benefits and – yes – higher unemployment because smart businesses go where they get the best educated workforce.  Continued reductions in business taxes in Minnesota over the last decade have gained us nothing except less opportunity for less educated workers and lower family incomes.

Question 1:  The corporate tax is an inefficient one.  However, the reduction should not be considered a stimulus to the economy since it helps businesses which are making profits and provides no help to those that are struggling.  Instead we should find a way to reduce property taxes on small businesses – just the opposite direction Governor Pawlenty is going!

Question 2:  Of course it should.  The economy is shifting to much more service oriented one and a sales tax on services is warranted, although it will be fought by the powerful special interests and professions.  We could reduce the overall sales tax and expand it to clothing and services resulting in a better tax system.

Question 3:  Also, of course.  Counties are creations of the state and are arbitrary in size and scope.  The state should set up human service delivery systems that are rational and efficient instead of tied to county government.  Administration responsibilities could be shared by the counties in the regional system.  There is no reason to continue the way it is other than inertia and tradition.

Question 4:  One thing seen with the “forever recount” is that photo IDs are not a necessary effort because there is no problem.  Despite the review of this year’s votes by virtually everyone, illegal voters have not been found.  This is nothing more than a political issue for Republicans trying to make it more difficult for low income and transient voters to vote and to continue their negative emphasis on non-white residents.

Shirley Heaton

Question 3:  While the idea is good it wreaks havoc when it comes to qualifying a community to participate in filing an application for grant funds. I experienced that years ago while working as a grant writer for a planning consultant firm in Detroit which obtained a contract to write a grant for a community which was sharing most of its social services with another community which was not seeking the funds. It took a lot of 'creative' juggling on my part to make it possible for the 'needy' community to qualify.

Question 4 gets a top grade of agreement from me regarding photo IDs, what with the situations we're all experiencing today. Just this morning I was thrilled when a cashier asked to see my driver's license for my photo to confirm my use of my credit card!

Bob White (7) (9) (6) (4)

John Milton (0) (10) (10) (0)

Tim Olson (10) (0) (0) (10)

Al Quie (10) (5) (0) (10)

Roger Scherer (10) (0) (8) (10)





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;  Lee Canning,  Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel, 
Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and  John Rollwagen.  

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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