The Citizens Federation believes in taxes that are fair and progressive, based on people’s ability to pay. In the mid 1970′s, we helped win Minnesota’s tax relief programs called the Property Tax Circutbreaker and Renter’s Credit, to give rebates back to people in regard to their incomes and the burden of their home taxes or rent. We advocate for progressive income taxes, so that lower and middle income people pay a smaller percent of their income in taxes than the rich. This would make the tax burden affordable to all, and fairly distributed.
Fighting corporate welfare
Part of our strategy for tax justice is to make sure that wealthy corporations pay their fair share. Too many of them get tax breaks — such as Tax Increment Financing give-aways on their property taxes, which increases the tax burden on everyone else (including the businesses who aren’t so well connected to get these special favors.) The Citizens Federation has fought for, and won, greater public accountability in Duluth for these corporate subsidies, and helped get a similar provision passed statewide.
When the insurance giant United Health extorted a multi-million dollar property tax vacation from Duluth, and then later wanted to reduce its job-creation commitment, the Citizens Federation acted, and caused United Health to cancel the remainder of its deal in 2005, and walk away from over $1 million in further subsidy. We oppose giving assistance to local multi-millionaire developers who don’t need the extra money, and to out-of-town national corporations who up and leave when they decide they can make more profit elsewhere. In contrast, we favor economic development assistance to be given to local small and medium sized businesses that are loyal to the community and will create good, lasting jobs.