How did you celebrate Tax Freedom Day?

Yes, today is Tax Freedom day in Minnesota, the day that you can stop working for the state and federal government and start working for yourself.  Minnesota’s Tax Freedom day is the 5th latest state tax freedom day in the country. 

 The Tax Freedom Days of neighboring states are:

  • South Dakota, April 4th (ranked 3rd earliest nationally).
  • Iowa, April 13th (ranked 19th earliest nationally);
  • North Dakota, April 25th (ranked 9th latest nationally); and
  • Wisconsin, April 22nd (ranked 13th latest nationally);


Minnesota is really standing out as a high tax state; Kiplingers called it “a retirement hell.”  The Wall Street Journal and Forbes called our state a “bad” place to die. It’s also a bad place to start your business or grow your business if the Tax Foundation ranks it 47th in business tax climate. 

 The Dayton Administration and the legislature have gone full bore into using tax policy to try to steer the decisions of businesses and individuals in Minnesota. But they have lost sight of the sum total of taxes have done to complicate and burden existing businesses.  They like to talk about “investments” they are making, thinking they can surgically incentivize industries and companies. They don’t see the business climate with the eyes of a business owner, who looks at the total tax burden, the regulatory burden, estate issues and many other things that limit their ability to make the best choices for their businesses. 

 All of the handouts and special breaks to lure businesses to Minnesota won’t cover it because not everybody is eligible for those credits tax breaks.   Not to mention the fact that the money for those breaks and credits comes from the rest of us. 

 This session, the Dayton administration is going around saying they are “cutting taxes” they won’t show what the cumulative effect is because it’s bad.  Even MPR’s Poligraph showed how disingenuous it was to call this session’s adjustments to last session’s massive tax increases, a “tax cut.” 

 So when you think about Minnesota and Taxes, or when somebody says THEY are “happy to pay for better Minnesota” as the slogan goes, think of what a higher and higher tax burden is doing to our state’s competitiveness.    

 State agencies are pumping out numbers that claim that Minnesota is doing great, that unemployment is fine, especially compared to the rest of the country.  But Minnesota has consistently had lower unemployment than the rest of the country thanks to the mix of industries we have that have weathered economic downtowns.  But if we don’t keep attracting new businesses to Minnesota and we can’t hang on to the ones we have, especially the ones with high paying jobs, then that trend line will move closer and eventually cross the national average. By then it will be too late.

 Our weather makes a lot of people think of flying south for the winter, especially our seniors.  But after last sessions tax hikes more are considering making their residences elsewhere as a permanent home.  Why are our tax policies chasing people out of the state?  If we continue on this path, Minnesota’s fiscal future is going to be pretty grim.  Tax Freedom Day (and how late it is in Minnesota) should make us think about what we can do to improve Minnesota's future competitiveness.