Minnesota had the 13th-highest state and local taxes per capita in the nation in 2010—and the 15th-highest state and local government spending per person, according to a Minnesota Taxpayers Association (MTA) report released Wednesday. The state’s ranking for total taxes collected remained unchanged from 2008 and 2009.
 
Minnesota’s state and local governments collected $4,587 per person in taxes in 2010—up about 0.6 percent from 2009 and higher than the national average of $4,105. Total tax collection per $1,000 of income totaled $110, the 15th-highest in the nation and more than the $105 national average, the report found.
 
But Minnesota was also in the top tier of states for spending per capita. It had the 15th-highest state and local government spending per person, which totaled $8,848 in 2010. It ranked in the middle—25th among all states—for amount spent per $1,000 of income.

The state’s spending on public welfare programs per capita was the fifth-highest, and it ranked 10th in spending per capita in both natural resources/parks and highways.

“Historically, as far back as we have tracked this the last 40 years, Minnesota has routinely averaged 30 to 45 percent more in spending in health and human services,” Mark Haveman, Minnesota Taxpayers Association executive director, told the Star Tribune. “That’s been a priority of this state, and that’s not to say there isn’t plenty of evidence that we’ve gotten good returns on it.”

Minnesota ranked 20th in K-12 education spending per capita and 27th for spending on colleges and universities. It was among the states that spent the smallest sums on fire protection (45th) and corrections (39th).

The MTA based its report on numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2010, the latest year for which data is available. MTA is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the advancement of efficient, economical government,” according to its website.
 
Here are some other highlights from the 40-page report:
 
  • Minnesota’s state and local individual income tax collections were the eighth highest among all states in terms of amount collected per person—which totaled $1,216; the U.S. average was nearly $842 in 2010.
 
  • Corporate income tax collected per capita decreased 8.1 percent between 2009 and 2010, dropping to nearly $136—and the state’s national ranking in that category also dropped two spots to 13th-highest. The national average corporate income tax collected per capita was $134.
 
  • The state’s property tax collections and sales tax collections per capita were both below the national averages and were the 21st- and 28th-highest in the nation, respectively.
 
Meanwhile, Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk told the Star Tribune that the numbers don’t tell the whole story and pointed out that despite Minnesota ranking high in taxes collected, there are roughly 20 Fortune 500 companies in the state, while there are none in South Dakota, where there is no personal and corporate income tax.
 
“You can make numbers say whatever you want,” he said. “[3M] wouldn’t be spending $150 million to build a new facility here if it was such a bad place to do business,” he added, referring to the recently announced research facility that 3M plans to add at its Maplewood headquarters campus; the facility will house 700 researchers.
 
But Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean disagreed, saying that Minnesota is at a disadvantage when it comes to taxes and regulation.
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