Horner: Cut corporate income tax, lower sales tax

Tom Horner
IP party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner in a June 1, 2010 file photo.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner said Minnesota needs a tax overhaul that would feature significant cuts in corporate income taxes, as well as lowering and broadening the state sales tax.

"We ought to put in some protections for low income [people]" Horner said. "Those sales taxes are regressive. The wealthy spend more and they should be taxed."

He said he wanted the sales tax to include clothing and personal services, like haircuts.

Horner focused on state fiscal policy during an interview with Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer today. He said that state officials have put off dealing with the state's lingering budget deficits, and that he would make the hard decisions as governor that would deal with the problem.

Horner, a long time Republican commentator and public relations executive, won the Independence Party's nod in May and is taking on St. Paul publisher Rob Hahn in the Aug. 10 party primary.

He has a long list of financial reforms that he thinks the state needs to make. He said he'd like to see state aid continue to cities, but curtailed for counties. They ought to be able to impose their own sales taxes as an alternative, he said.

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"We can't just keep tweaking around the edges, we can't just take the status quo and as the Republican says, just cut it and everything will be better, or as the Democrats say, just make it bigger and everything will be okay," Horner said.

Horner also called for more investments in education and broadband internet access, as well as clean energy.

Horner made waves this week when he told the state's premiere agriculture trade show that he thought Minnesota ought to end ethanol subsidies. Alternative energy is important, he said, but should be a measured investment by taxpayers.

"There may be a need for the public to support these programs, but I have also said that I think any kind of subsidy ought to be absolutely transparent," he said. "And it ought to be done in a way where there is an end point to it ... before this technology has to stand on its own in the marketplace."

Horner said he's trying to raise more than $2 million to fund his campaign, which would make him the best-funded IP candidate in state history. He said it's important to provide a viable alternative to the two major parties that currently hold power in the state.

(MPR's Cathy Wurzer contributed to this report.)