Poll: Most Minnesotans Support Higher Taxes for Wealthy

Updated: 02/07/2013 8:04 AM KSTP.com By: Steve Tellier

Higher taxes on the rich -- it's a topic that's just as divisive in the Twin Cities as it is nationwide.

"I think that's reasonable," said Ernie Miel, who supports higher taxes on the rich.

"I just don't think it's a good idea to raise taxes on people," said Kristi West, who opposes higher taxes on the rich.

It appears most Minnesotans do.

Sixty-five percent of those polled support the governor's effort to hike taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Minnesotans, while 30 percent oppose that move.

There's two ways of looking at the issue. The wealthiest two percent already pay more than 30 percent of the total income tax revenue taken in by the state. But the effective rate they pay in total state and local taxes is about 9.8 percent, lower than the 13.8 percent rate paid by the lowest 40 percent of earners.

5 Eyewitness News decided to get reaction to the governor's proposal in Edina, home to wealthiest zip code in the Twin Cities.

"I think people might move out of state," said Anna Kokesh, who opposes higher taxes on the rich.

We immediately met some vehement opponents, arguing that higher taxes on the rich could hurt Minnesota's small businesses.

"I was a business owner for over 13 years and I feel like usually those are the people that are creating more jobs," Kokesh said.

They're urging the governor to find other ways to balance the books.

"Cut spending in your budget. That's the answer," West said.

But not everyone shares those sentiments.

"That's a bunch of baloney," Miel said, with a laugh.

Miel said the wealthiest Minnesotans don't pay their fair share of state taxes, and it's time that changed.

"The upper reaches of the federal and state income tax have given people who have got lots of money a free ride," Miel said.

The governor has argued that that new, higher income tax bracket would only affect about 54,000 Minnesotans, and would bring in $1.1 billion in new revenue.