The real story about tax breaks? Someone else must pay for them

Minnesota has a special tax break on its books for Tom Petters. Really. A 1985 law provides special tax treatment for Fingerhut, a mail-order company that Petters, a former Wayzata businessman who was convicted in 2009 of running a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme, and a partner bought in 2002. Full Story
Johnathan Mayhew

Saint Paul, MN

#1 Feb 24, 2011
I want a tax break.
Beam me up Scotty

Saint Paul, MN

#2 Feb 24, 2011
Johnathan Mayhew wrote:
I want a tax break.
Heck, you can have mine; hasn't done me any good so far.
Tony Rozycki esq

United States

#3 Feb 24, 2011
Good article Bill. Believe the US Federal tax laws are the same times 50!

They should be simplified, streamlined. Of course unintended consequences of

reforms/changes are a big concern too.
Wally

Park Forest, IL

#4 Feb 24, 2011
Simple is always better.

On the other hand, government has enough money. That's not the problem.
Frank W

Greenville, SC

#5 Feb 24, 2011
The asserted premise of this article that "someone else must pay for tax breaks" sounds like it is straight out of the DNC handbook.

While I don't support corporate welfare (i.e. specific tax breaks for specific people), I do not accept the premise that tax breaks must be "paid for".

Hey, here's an idea: How about the government reducing the size of its bugdet, and instead of keeping any leftover money, giving that back to the people who earned it.

Who says the press doesn't have an agenda?
taxes

San Francisco, CA

#6 Feb 24, 2011
I don't think its the taxes killing people, its high rent, gas, food, etc.. Who is making all the money? Wages have been flat for 30 years but productivity went up 300% over the same time. Where did all the money go? Iraq? The rich investor class? Anyone?
tww

Minneapolis, MN

#7 Feb 24, 2011
It would be nice to see who the DFL has been giving special tax breaks to all these years.
More bars in more places

Chetek, WI

#8 Feb 24, 2011
Ok, since the Petter's tax break was never used this story is useless, as is the professor's comment that, "sales tax exceptions exceed the total amount raised by that tax, and income tax breaks are more than half as large as the revenue that tax generates".

For instance, the clothing exemption, the exemption of items purchased for resale, and the exemption on real estate sales could all fall into under the category of exemptions in his analysis.

The article is void of solid facts, analysis, and conclusions. The PP commonly prints articles like this that are basically a sensational headline unsupported by actual reporting and thoughtful conclusions.

I am left wondering what I just read....
More bars in more places

Chetek, WI

#9 Feb 24, 2011
Actually, the article has nothing to do with the headline! The article never gives an example of how someone pays more because an exemption was allowed elsewhere. Instead it brings up a useful point that all legislation should be reviewed periodically to insure it is fulfilling it's intended goals.

The writer instead interviews a professor whose views are either shallow or are not completely and accurately quoted. However, he chose that quote because it fitted the tone the writer was trying to construct, that somehow something unfair was going on here.

Assuming the professor's statement was true, then eliminating all exemptions would mean that the same revenues would be generated by a lower overall rate on all purchases. If so, who would pay more and who would pay less and what would the impact be on our progressive sales tax structure? Effectively it would eliminate it. The sales tax on hard goods effectively subsidizes the exemption on necessities, therefore the wealthier people (who spend less on necessities as a percentage of their overall purchases) subsidize a portion of the taxes of the lower income people. I guess maybe the headline was right, the rich are getting stuck again.

The article seems to imply the opposite, that there are some special interests that are benefiting from these breaks to the detriment of the rest. They are.....the poor are that special interest.
Bill Salisbury

Saint Paul, MN

#10 Feb 24, 2011
I am an ardent democrat I belong to the writers guild union which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. We give all of our donations to democrats. We will always write stories which reflect poorly on republican ideas yet we will always support the democrats point of view. why shouldn't we? we are the major suppliers of their money. our interests are aligned
Ginny

Minneapolis, MN

#11 Feb 24, 2011
Take a serious look at all of these tax breaks.
# Employer contributions to medical insurance and pensions

# Social Security, Medicare and Veterans' benefits

# Business research and development costs

# Legislators' daily expense allowances

# Baby products

# School textbooks

# TV commercials

# Target Field construction

# Cross-country ski passes

I think only the last three are frivolous. Every other one meets an important need. Help with being able to give a baby what he or she needs, esp. if the parents are poor or out of work; school textbooks (why not?); R&D helps all of us; even daily expenses are a necessary thing. Our legislators do not make much money (at least the honest ones) and they need this supplement in order to live.
BUT: why commercials, Target field construction, and cross-country ski passes (that sounds a little elitist; I don't want to help fund someone's sports fun).
Ginny

Minneapolis, MN

#12 Feb 24, 2011
Me, too, Bill. I'm a member of NWU UAW 1981. I'm not a reporter, but I do my best to make our voices heard.
David Cooke of Wayzata

Minneapolis, MN

#13 Mar 2, 2011
Extremely poorly written article. What exactly was the "Peters" tax break? How are cross country ski fees a tax break?
Oregon Is Disgusting

United States

#14 Mar 2, 2011
Top 20 hedge fund managers on Wall Street average $2B/year in income and pay 15% income tax.

OK, let's go beat up a teacher for his/her outrageous $50K in take home pay.

That is the mantra of the rightwing Nazis.

That is what is destroying the USA day in and day out. YOU are paying for poor little billionaires to eat caviar and lobster and give their little brats a humongous trust fund while you beat up on your brats' TEACHERS?

How stupid are you?

WAKE THE HELL UP. Time is really short before a complete fascist takeover by Banksters.
Way to Tall

Ridgecrest, CA

#15 Mar 4, 2011
Oregon, you are talking about people in NY not Minnesota. When you are stating numbers give me sources for your information. Other wise you sound just like one of those lazy good for nothings who want something for nothing, and complain because they think its not fair.

Well life isn't fair, deal with it. Oh wait maybe that is why the producers of this state are leaving!!! They are dealing with it.

Since: Feb 08

Sandstone MN

#16 Mar 4, 2011
The government needs to stop social engineering with the tax code. A FLAT tax from the 1st dollar earned to pay for essential government services.
Minn

Minneapolis, MN

#17 Mar 4, 2011
cut off THE welfare.......
customer

Ashland, KY

#18 Mar 8, 2011
good idea
Perspectives

United States

#19 Mar 8, 2011
Oregon Is Disgusting wrote:
Top 20 hedge fund managers on Wall Street average $2B/year in income and pay 15% income tax.
OK, let's go beat up a teacher for his/her outrageous $50K in take home pay.
That is the mantra of the rightwing Nazis.
That is what is destroying the USA day in and day out. YOU are paying for poor little billionaires to eat caviar and lobster and give their little brats a humongous trust fund while you beat up on your brats' TEACHERS?
How stupid are you?
WAKE THE HELL UP. Time is really short before a complete fascist takeover by Banksters.
I got no problem taxing George Soros liberal billionaire and hedge fund genius 100% of income

“I am always right.”

Since: Oct 09

Former MN Taxpayer

#20 Mar 8, 2011
Disgruntled Outstater wrote:
The government needs to stop social engineering with the tax code. A FLAT tax from the 1st dollar earned to pay for essential government services.
And everyone needs to pay taxes. Everyone.

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