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Proposed website would let Minnesotans see their tax dollars at work

House Photography file photo
House Photography file photo

Would you like a receipt for that?

No one currently asks you that when you pay your taxes. There’s no easily accessible explanation of where the proceeds go from your taxes on income, sales, motor fuel, liquor or cigarettes.

But that would change under HF46, which was heard in the House Taxes Committee Tuesday. Sponsored by Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth), it would create an interactive website that would allow you to see what your tax dollars are doing after they leave your bank account and are collected by the state.

When visiting the website, you could enter your income amount and receive an estimate of the amount of taxes you paid – depending upon if you smoke, drink, drive or made a large purchase. Then it would tell you the corresponding amounts devoted to various state budget categories.

For example, it could tell you how much you put toward state funding of education, health, human services, roads or public safety. You could also ask for information about the receipt on your individual income tax return. The receipt would be required to display select data on performance goals and outcomes in various areas.

The bill was laid over for possible omnibus bill inclusion. It has no Senate companion.

Minnesota Management and Budget would be responsible for creating and maintaining the website. It’s estimated that it would cost $100,000 in fiscal year 2002 and $47,000 in future years. 

“The more transparent we can make things, the more likely people are to get involved and take an interest in where those dollars go and how much is spent,” Marquart said.

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