Something to Watch

Here in Minnesota, there is a constitutional amendment on the ballot. The amendment would increase the state sales tax to fund game, fish, parks and water quality projects and the arts for the next 25 years. The revenue to be raised and spent is estimated at $240 million in the first year, presumably rising thereafter.

Historically, ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments have been used to restrict taxes, not raise them. This is the kind of proposal that I would have expected to be dead on arrival. After all, if voters want to spend more money on clean water or “the arts,” the legislature can appropriate it. There’s nothing stopping them. Remarkably, however, a majority of voters say they support the amendment, even though that support has been slipping.

We’ve heard a lot lately about the country moving to the left. This vote strikes me as a good barometer. If voters really are willing to adopt a constitutional amendment to raise their own taxes to support boondoggles and worse–think of all the things that “artists” will be able to do to the Virgin Mary with taxpayer dollars!–the country is, indeed, changing.

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