Herald Journal Columns
July 3, 2006, Herald Journal

Why are rich liberals waiting?


Growth & Justice, a group that wants to raise taxes in Minnesota, put a full page advertisement in the Star Tribune June 22. It lists rich liberals who are willing to pay more in taxes. Of course, they call raising taxes “investing in the future.”

The group, which includes Jim Pohlad, Joel Kramer, the Daytons, Don and Arvonne Fraser, Walter, Ted and Joan Mondale and other liberals who are “doing well financially,” has a strategy called Real Prosperity. It will raise $2 billion by raising taxes 1 cent for every dollar earned by Minnesotans. The 2 percent of the richest Minnesotans will pay 2 cents for every dollar they earn.

“We are among the people who would pay more than most under this plan, and we believe that is appropriate,” the group says in the ad.

Here is how the group wants to spend those extra tax dollars: More for post-secondary education, more for preschool education, more for children’s health insurance and more transportation options. These are all worthy goals.

This is what is peculiar, though. It appears these rich liberals are waiting for permission from the government to spend their money on these worthy goals. Why don’t they take out their checkbooks now, today, and write out checks for what they feel they can afford to pay?

They could start by sending a big check to the University of Minnesota. Next, they could send a big check to their local preschool program in their own school district, or choose a struggling school district and send the money there.

After that, they could write a check to a hospital or clinic to cover health care expenses for children whose parents can’t afford health insurance.

Finally, they could write a big check to a road construction contractor to at least get started on a state highway project.

Why do rich liberals think that the signature on the check needs to be the state treasurer’s for the money to be put to good use?

The headline over the ad states “We can afford to pay more state taxes and we can’t afford not to.”

Well, rich liberals, if you feel as strongly about these goals as you claim, put your money where your mouth is. Don’t wait. Write those checks now.

For those of you who also feel undertaxed, send a check to the State of Minnesota at the Finance Department, 400 Centennial Office Building, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155.

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