When Are Taxes High Enough?

When I was elected to the state Senate in 2010, serving in 2011-12, I went in with a set of ideals: limited, more responsible government and having government live within its means.

To frame this correctly, be reminded that the state was facing a nearly $5 billion deficit, and companies large and small were tightening their belts. They were re-organizing and resizing to remain competitive. Employees were asked to take pay and/or benefit cuts, hopefully temporary, to help the company survive. Many lost jobs.


To frame this correctly, be reminded that the state was facing a nearly $5 billion deficit, and companies large and small were tightening their belts. They were re-organizing and resizing to remain competitive. Employees were asked to take pay and/or benefit cuts, hopefully temporary, to help the company survive. Many lost jobs.

In 2011 Republicans held the majority in the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years. Mark Dayton, Democrat, was elected as governor. Dayton ran on a “tax the rich” platform. Legislative Republicans ran on, “governments have to tighten their belts and live within our means.”

The 2011 Legislature put forward bills that balanced the state budget mostly by freezing growth of government while still adding monies to education and health and human services. Dayton vetoed the bills and shut the government down because we didn’t raise taxes. Eventually Dayton agreed to most everything in our bills and state revenue rebounded.

Spring ahead to the 2013 Legislative session, where Democrats controlled the House, Senate and governor. The Legislature and governor raised taxes and grew government 12 percent in one biennium!

In the 2015 legislative session we have the House controlled by Republicans and the Senate and governor’s office by Democrats. 

The governor once again wants to raise taxes, this time the gas tax, which will mostly affect the middle class and will add $.16 per gallon at today’s prices and $.22 per gallon if gas reaches $4.00 per gallon, on top of the already 28.5 cents currently in state taxes. If accepted, Dayton’s proposed budget would be a growth in government by 23 percent over 4 years. This is without massive gas tax/fees proposal included.

My question for you: When do you think government is taking a large enough percentage of your hard earned dollars and should it be forced to live within its means? If 50 percent of your income now goes to pay a variety of taxes, why not 52 percent? Why not 70 percent or 90 percent? The government is basically telling you that it knows how best how to spend your money.

Government downsizing and/or reorganizing is not in the vocabulary of the government bureaucracy. What happened to freedoms and liberties and the limited government that was intended by our Founding Fathers, who fought to escape overly high taxation from the British? Are we destined to become like socialist Europe that our ancestors escaped from for a better life? 

 believe it’s time to tell the government to live within its means, even downsize. Don’t wait until there is a budget crisis to do it. We all deserve better. Today the “crisis” is roads and bridges, which was created to have a crisis upon which to launch an argument to raise taxes. 

The roads and bridges should have been maintained all along (a priority), but Legislatures redirected money to metro light/commuter rail and bike trails, more social engineering.

There will be a day when we can no longer afford bigger, less efficient government. Will that happen in your lifetime? Our children’s or grandchildren’s? It will happen; it’s just a matter of when. I say the time is overdue!

Al DeKruif is a former member of the Minnesota Senate in which he represented District 25. He lives in Madison Lake. He is a board member of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota.