Minnesota's move to raise $2.1 billion in new taxes, largely from the
wealthy, to fund government programs puts it among a handful of states
controlled by Democrats that are adopting more liberal fiscal policies
at a time when many Republican-dominated statehouses are pushing to cut
The measures contrast starkly with initiatives to cut or eliminate taxes
on individual and corporate incomes that have dominated the discussion
in much of the country, thanks to Republican control of nearly half the
Other blue states are taking similar steps, betting that new spending on
education and infrastructure funded by tax increases can produce
sustained economic growth that reaches a broad swath of the population.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and fellow Democrats who control the
legislature are debating proposals to raise taxes on income and gasoline
to fund new investments.
In Colorado, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation
this week that would require an additional $925 million in taxes to
boost education spending. Raising income taxes would still need to pass
in a statewide vote, which is necessary to raise the income and other
taxes in Colorado. Those efforts follow income-tax increases approved last year in Democratic strongholds such as Maryland and California.
Republican governors in states such as Ohio, Nebraska and Louisiana
argue income taxes impede economic growth and discourage businesses from
locating in their states. Proposals from the GOP have achieved
limited success, as support for cutting income taxes is balanced by
opposition even within the Republican Party to making up for lost
revenue by broadening the sales tax and eliminating exemptions. ...
"You have got these two theories being played out of what creates
economic growth," said David Madland, director of the American Worker
Project at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.