Monday, August 16, 2010

Fill It Up With Petroleum Distillate & Re-vulcanize My Tires, Post-haste

While being interviewed by WCCO's Esme Murphy, DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton explained why it's so difficult to determine the details of the impact that his plans to increase taxes would have on Minnesotans (starts at about 6:20--via Shot in the Dark):

MURPHY: Going back to this issue of taxing people making $200,000. What percentage would a couple making $175,000. What percentage would their taxes go up under your plan? What percentage would people making $1,000,000...what percentage would their taxes go up?

DAYTON: Now that I've been endorsed, I can enlist the cooperation...the only 3 entities that have the computer capabilities are the Department of Revenue...and the Senate Tax Committee & the House Tax Committee. And now that I've won the DFL primary, I will enlist their support.

I don't have a supercomputer or a large computer capability to do that simulation. What I've been saying is that people making $175,000 a year will pay a little bit more in income taxes and someone making $1,000,000 a year will pay more and somebody making $10,000,000 to $100,000,000 a year will pay significantly more. And again, my two opponents are saying that someone who's making $10,000,000 or $100,000,000 a year should not pay one penny more in income taxes. And meanwhile, everyone else will pay more in higher property taxes or higher sales taxes under their proposals.

A supercomputer? Now, I'm not a financial wizard and don't pretend to be one, but I have to believe that you don't need a supercomputer or even a "a large computer capability" to assess the impact on people of changing the tax rates in their brackets. Murphy isn't asking for a to the penny breakdown on what Dayton's tax plans would cost, just how much more on average a couple making $175K or $1M a year would pay. Surely, this is something that--given all the necessary inputs--a reasonably competent person could calculate using Microsoft Excel. You could do it on a calculator. With the necessary acumen and a little rounding here and there, an abacus could probably be employed to arrive at an accurate enough figure.

We can only hope that Dayton will get the help he needs (and soon) to allow him to come up with something more specific than "a little bit more." In the meantime, he announced a new proposal today to revitalize Minnesota's vacuum tube industry.