Study: Fees up in Minn. while tax revenue downby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The progressive think tank Minnesota 2020 has released a new study showing that fees for state services have risen sharply, while tax revenue has fallen.
The group says the higher fees put an unfair burden on low and middle income Minnesotans.
The study found the cost for hunting licenses, marriage licenses, birth certificates and other services are up by an average of more than 20 percent over the last five years. During the same period, state tax revenues fell, and are projected to decline by another 7.8 percent in 2009.
Minnesota 2020 founder and former DFL legislator Matt Entenza says the governor and legislature need to address these hidden cost-of-living increases.
"Taxes are actually declining, the overall thrust of the income tax, the sales tax and other areas like that so the total state tax burden for income sales and other direct state taxes is going down and the wealthiest of our country have never paid less," Entenza said.
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he'll oppose tax increases to balance the state budget.
When the session begins Tuesday, lawmakers will face a projected $4.8 billion dollar budget deficit for the state's next budget cycle.