Letter to the Governor

March 21, 2014

Governor Mark Dayton
The Honorable Sen. Thomas Bakk
The Honorable Sen. Katie Sieben
The Honorable Rep. Paul Thissen
The Honorable Rep. Erin Murphy
The Honorable Sen. Rod Skoe
The Honorable Sen. Ann Rest
The Honorable Rep. Ann Lenczewski

Dear Governor Dayton,

The Invest in Minnesota coalition has worked for over a decade to make sure our tax system is more fair and raises enough revenues to meet our growing needs as a state. Last year’s tax reform bill made important strides in this direction, ending more than a decade of frequent budget deficits and making our tax system less regressive.

Tax decisions this year should continue this progress. But proposals to significantly cut Minnesota’s estate and gift taxes take us in the opposite direction.

The estate tax is Minnesota’s most progressive tax, and it plays an important role in our mix of taxes. Without it, unrealized capital gains would never be taxed. Any changes to estate and gift taxes this year should minimize the revenue loss and avoid adding regressivity to the tax system.

We understand that action on the estate tax this year seeks to address technical problems in Minnesota’s estate and gift taxes, including references to obsolete federal tax law, the rate bubble, and the fact that the estate and gift taxes are not unified. But as the Department of Revenue’s recent Estate Tax Study demonstrates, it is not necessary to make significant increases in the exemption level or large cuts to the estate tax, such as in the Senate version of House File 1777 and the Governor’s supplemental budget, in order to address these technical concerns.

Minnesota has just come through a long period of deficits, and while the projected surpluses are good news, they are still projections, not money in the bank. More caution is needed before making large permanent tax cuts in the next biennium to ensure we have the revenue needed to meet our state’s needs and avoid falling back into deficits and deep cuts to valuable public services.

Thank you for your leadership. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Leah Gardner at 651-757-3063 or leah@mncn.org.


ARC Minnesota
East Central Area Labor Council
Greater Minnesota Worker Center
Growth & Justice
Joint Religious Legislative Coalition
Minnesota AFL-CIO
Minnesota Budget Project
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Southeast Area Labor Council
TakeAction Minnesota
Transit for Livable Communities


Tax & Budget Resources

Research and Analysis on Tax and Budget: 
We hope you find the reports and informational resources below helpful in making your case for fairly raised revenue to invest in Minnesota:

2013 Tax Incidence Study
The Facts Speak: It’s Time to Reform Minnesota’s Tax System
Minnesota Needs to Put Budget on a Sustainable Track: A Look at the November 2012 Economic Forecast
Strong Minnesota Economy Requires Sound Investments
Raising income taxes on high-income people wont push them out of state
The Advocates Fiscal Toolbox
On Our Way to Average: Ranking Minnesota’s Economic Performance

To learn more, we recommend visiting the following websites:
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Minnesota Management and Budget
Minnesota Department of Revenue
Minnesota Budget Project
Minnesota Budget Bites
Growth & Justice