Our economy gets shaped by the rules we make.
We decide who’s in and who’s out: who gets to participate and who doesn’t. The rules we make for voting define who has access to power in Minnesota. There are great advantages to being included: from access to the safety net to periodically getting to ‘throw the bums out’. Likewise, exclusion from the vote has great costs: from ‘taxation without representation’ to weakened civil rights.
The Voter Restriction Amendment is Minnesota is part of a nationally orchestrated assault on voting rights in the U.S. According the Brennan Center for Justice, in 2011:
“Legislators introduced and passed a record number of bills restricting access to voting this year. New laws ranged from those requiring government-issued photo identification or documentary proof of citizenship to vote, to those reducing access to early and absentee voting, to those making it more difficult to register to vote. In total, at least nineteen laws and two executive actions making it more difficult to vote passed across the country…”
This attack on our voting power is alarming. When paired with the assault on our tax code, though, an even more troubling picture emerges.
In a democracy, power comes with responsibility. Democracy needs participation, demands vigilance, and depends on investment. The growth of offshore tax havens, however, weakens each of these. According to the a 2012 report by the Tax Justice Network, “a significant fraction of global private financial wealth — by our estimates, at least $21 to $32 trillionas of 2010 — has been invested virtually tax-free through the world’s still-expanding black hole of more than 80 ‘offshore’ secrecy jurisdictions.” They estimate that governments are losing $189 billion in tax revenue annually because this money has been evacuated into tax havens.
The erosion of voting rights and the extraction of taxable wealth is straining our democracy and our economy.
We need to act now to stop the Voter Restriction Amendment. It will weaken Minnesota by shrinking the number of eligible voters who get counted and burdening our local governments with costly changes they care can scarcely afford. Our state is worth defending now and on November 6th. Your help now talking to voters can protect our state and our democracy. Sign up here to get started.
Chris is TakeAction Minnesota’s Organizing a New Economy Program Manager.