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George Sanderson, Moorhead, Published October 05 2012

Letter: We are paying our fair share

The gist of The Forum’s Sept. 21 front-page story titled “We’re paying our fair share” was that a high percentage of North Dakota and Minnesota residents pay some federal income tax. I have no reason to dispute that claim.

However, the term “fair share” may have other meanings. For example, the website America’s Fiscal Union, the Red and the Black (based on IRS and Census Bureau info) points out that for the 20-year period 1990-2009, some states were net payers of federal taxes (e.g., Minnesota) and others were net receivers of federal dollars (e.g., North Dakota).

That website makes one question whether taxpayers in these two states are paying their “fair share.” Minnesota was a net payer; over those 20 years, Minnesota taxpayers paid about $516 billion more in federal income taxes than the state got back – nearly $26 billion a year. North Dakota was a net recipient of federal dollars over that same 20 years, to the extent of about $49 billion – close to $2.5 billion a year!

Well, just another way to think about what a “fair share” means.