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Reality Check: Do MN’s Millionaires Pay Highest Taxes?

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Barack Obama is proposing higher taxes for millionaires to help pay for a jobs program.

In Minnesota, it’s a tax hike that could hit thousands of millionaires.

Here’s a look at Minnesota.

“It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million,” said Obama.

That’s misleading. People with more money do pay higher rates. But as a percentage of income, the top one percent of Minnesota earners pay on average 9.7 percent in state taxes. The rest of Minnesota pays an average of 11.5 percent in state taxes.

Here’s the 2011 analysis of Minnesota household and business taxes.

Here’s what you need to know: Minnesota has three times as many lakes as millionaires. About 7,700 millionaires paid Minnesota income taxes this year, but only 3,900 actually live here.

According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, non-resident millionaire athletes and corporate executives are among thousands of wealthy taxpayers who pay Minnesota taxes on the portion of the income they earn here.

That’s not the whole story. Even though millionaires pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes, they pay a lot more in dollars.

Last year, the top two percent of Minnesota taxpayers kicked in 32 percent of all the income taxes paid.

Are the rich taxed less than secretaries?

The “millionaire tax” President Obama is proposing is exactly the same title and talking points of the “millionaire tax” proposed in Minnesota by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton.

For Republicans it was a key factor in budget talks and for them, it led directly to the government shutdown this summer. Despite that setback, Dayton said he’ll bring it back next year.

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