More taxes for more spending? This again?

Democrats who control the Minnesota Legislature would have taxpayers believe that all state programs currently in place are essential and citizens should absorb new taxes because Democrats want to spend even more on new things. The Senate this week offered a fresh plan that would boost rates on high earners, extend the state sales tax to new goods and services, and create a new tax on sports memorabilia.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, says his caucus is working from the premise that citizens don’t want a budget of gimmicks, accounting shifts and borrowing. He is referring to the “creative” ways in which Republicans, when they were in charge, balanced the budget without raising taxes. But Bakk errs in assuming that the answer is higher taxes. Even some of his Democratic colleagues are leery. They are worried about the effect on businesses and families.

Might we suggest a better solution? What citizens want is for lawmakers to do the difficult work of prioritizing spending. Figure out of the lowest possible, fairest, flattest tax system and then collect the revenue. Fund those things that make the most sense, such as public safety and education. Leave the wish list aside.

At some point, Democrats must be asked the obvious, fundamental question:?How much government and taxation is enough? Should there be any limits on the functions of government, or any moral qualms about treating the earnings and holdings of citizens as fodder for state initiatives? If they agree there are limits, could they define them for us?