Governor's charge to his tax commission is too narrow

Last week the Governor announced his appointments to his 21st Century Tax Reform Commission – mostly people from the corporate world. To recap, Pawlenty has created his own blue-ribbon commission, charging it to “specifically focus on improving our job climate.” The recommendations are due at the end of this year. Here are some reactions, before I give my own:

–Charlie Quimby of Growth & Justice recently blogged about it.

–The Star Tribune published an editorial on it earlier this week.

I agree with Charlie’s & the Strib’s assessment that Pawlenty’s focus on business climate is too limited. It’s the “21st Century Tax Reform Commission”, right? Reworking the tax system to match up with our 21st century economy goes way beyond corporate taxes. For example, the service sector – everything from health care to hairdressers – is now a much bigger part of our economy. Should more services be subject to the sales tax? And what about the recurring volatility of the budget and the aging of the Minnesota’s baby boom generation, both of which have huge implications for our ability to raise revenue? Unfortunately, the Commission will not address these issues, thanks to the Governor’s tunnel vision.

We’ll be following this commission’s work, of course. In the meantime, check out this op-ed on tax policy principles from 2006 by the now-chair of the Governor’s tax commission, Michael Vekich.

-Katherine Blauvelt

About Katherine Blauvelt

Katherine Blauvelt served as the Minnesota Budget Project’s policy analyst from 2007 to 2009.
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