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Jesse Ventura on Tax Reform

Former Independent MN Governor


OpEd: Reduction of deficit were "Jesse taxes"

Post 9-11-01: we face a "big honkin' budget deficit" Only a week after the race began, the political landscape was dramatically changed by the attacks of September 11. Pawlenty cancelled events for weeks afterward, as any politicking would have appeared in poor taste. "People's sense of what's important faced a $2 billion deficit--as Pawlenty termed it, a "big honkin' budget deficit." Nonetheless, he refused to move from his anti-tax stance. When Governor Ventura proposed a series of taxes to adjust for the deficit, Pawlenty attacked the "Jesse taxes" as harming "Jane and Joe Six Pack."
Source: Sam's Club Republican, by J.A. McClure, p. 24-25 , May 10, 2010

Modernize, simplify, & clarify tax system

Source: The Big Plan: Service, not Systems , Dec 10, 2000

Repeal the 16th Amendment

The IRS is the epitome of bloated, corrupt, wasteful government, and if we’re serious about government reform, the IRS deserves to take the biggest hit. Whatever we decide to do about tax reform, it’s got to be a sweeping, complete revolution. It has to be a vastly simplified system, with clear limitations on the amount of money the government can take. Otherwise, the government will continue to find ways of snapping up more than its share by taxing us three or four times for the same dollar.

I’m not crazy about a flat tax. The first reason is that even a flat tax is still an income tax. I think the Sixteenth Amendment, the one granting government the power to collect taxes on income, should be repealed. The other reason I’m against a flat tax is that we’ve already got one: It’s called Social Security. And look at the mess that’s in.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.210 , Jul 2, 2000

Replace income with national sales tax

I’d like to see us do away with income tax entirely and go for a national sales tax. The government could collect the money it needs by placing a tax on the goods and services we buy. Then states could add their own taxes on top of that.

A fair national sales tax wouldn’t touch the necessities of life like food and clothing. It would make sure that people were able to provide for themselves with the basics before it collected any tax. Taxes would only be collected on optional purchases. That would make the taxpayers much more powerful. We could decide how much tax we’re going to pay by controlling our level of consumption. We would have the option of hanging onto our money and living off the basics, or of spending as much as we feel like. We wouldn’t be penalized for saving or investing. We wouldn’t have to hand the government money just because we’re looking our for our own financial welfare.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.211 , Jul 2, 2000

Let people keep as much of their money as possible

In a capitalist society, problems are best solved by lowering taxes, not by making government larger. The best-case scenario is for government to empower the people by letting them keep as much of their money as possible, then support them in the decisions they make. Government works less efficiently when it begins to grow out of control and takes on more and more of the responsibilities that belong to the citizens.
Source: Ain’t Got Time to Bleed, p. 23 , Jan 1, 1999

$600 “Jesse Checks” tax rebate to every taxpayer

This year, the people of Minnesota received the biggest tax rebate this nation has ever seen. It averaged out to about $600 for every single taxpayer. Minnesotans have started calling these rebates their “Jesse checks.”

We also worked things out so that next year, Minnesota’s working folks won’t have to wait for a rebate: they’ll be paying less in taxes in the first place. They’ll get to keep more of their money. That’s what’s supposed to happen when government starts working more efficiently.

Source: Ain’t Got Time To Bleed, p.283 , Jan 1, 1999

Replace income tax with 15% national sales tax

We pay way too much of our income to the government. I want to see income tax done away with entirely. Income tax could be replaced with a 15% across-the-board sales tax. It would have to be done nationally--that’s the only way it could work. After it’s in place nationally, then each individual state could add its own taxes on top of that.

I’m totally sold on this idea. We’d be able to take home the gross on our paychecks! We’d be in control of how much tax we paid by choosing how much to buy. We wouldn’t be penalized any more for working hard and saving money! And it would be much fairer, because in the current system there are plenty of industries (legal and illegal) that get away with paying no taxes--gambling, drug dealers, cottage industries. But since everybody has to buy things, the tax would cover everyone, even illegal immigrants. But it’s got to start with the feds. And it will only happen if we, the citizens, show a lot of support for it.

Source: Ain’t Got Time To Bleed, p.272 , Jan 1, 1999

Supports national consumption tax to equalize tax burden

A national consumption tax would equalize the federal tax burden. Those who chose to save their money would no longer be penalized by the system. The income tax penalizes people for working and for saving their money in interest earning accounts. With a consumption tax, everyone would only be taxed on what he or she chooses to purchase.

Such a system also allows individuals to get their money before the government does. Each person then, in effect, decides how much the government will get based upon their individual spending choices. If people had to actively pay their taxes as opposed to the current passive system, it would result in lower taxation and fewer pork barrel programs being passed. Such a program would also ensure the government curbing its spending when the economy is weak, and learning to live within its budget.

Source: 1998 campaign web site, jesseVentura.org/98campaign , Nov 1, 1998

Reform outdated property tax system

I would like to totally revamp the property tax system as we currently know it. The current system was developed in the 1800’s and was essentially an income tax. Since then, the focus of our society has changed from agrarian to urban. In that transition, property taxes became regressive in nature. Today, they bear no relationship to the owner’s income or ability to pay. I want to change that.

The value of a property for taxation purposes should be fixed at the time the owner purchases the property. That is the one time the true value of the property can be fixed. The current system requires speculative valuations, and results in people being forced to sell their land when the “value” increases do to developments on nearby property. If the tax valuation is fixed at the time of purchase, individuals will know whether or not they can afford the taxes when they purchase their property. The only time the property valuation for tax purposes would be changed is when the property changes hands.

Source: E-Democracy Debate , Oct 5, 1998

No national sales tax or VAT.

Ventura adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA Executive Committee Policy Statement EC-9 00-NGA1 on Feb 15, 2000

Let states independently determine estate taxes.

Ventura adopted a letter to Congressional leaders from 37 Governors:

We are writing to request equal treatment between states and the federal government on estate tax changes. Regardless of one’s view about phasing out the federal estate tax, the Governors are absolutely united in opposing any action that would discriminate against states in the phase-out of the state and federal estate taxes. This issue needs to be addressed before the Senate goes to conference with the House.

Governors believe that the ability of states to independently determine their own tax revenue policy is a basic tenet of federalism. Moreover, no federal tax bill should be enacted without close consultation with the states.

At the very least, there must be equity in the treatment of the state death tax credit in the tax bill the Congress considers with the proposed phase-out of the federal estate tax. Governors oppose provisions that impose disproportionate impacts on state revenue systems. The changes proposed by the Senate would have abrupt, significant adverse impacts on state revenues at a particularly onerous time for many states. The potential impact on states would begin next year and have a potential impact of between $50 and $100 billion over the next ten years.

We urge the leaders to respect those rights and to restore fairness.

Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 01-NGA19 on May 23, 2001

Other governors on Tax Reform: Jesse Ventura on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Mark Dayton
MN Senatorial:
Al Franken
Amy Klobuchar

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011