I was born and raised in Minnesota but, like so many older people my age, I do escape the winters going to a warmer climate. As of right now I have no interest in making it a permanent move. I often thought that being more comfortable, weather-wise, was the only reason to live in the south in the winter but lately something has come into play, I never thought about before.

The census is showing large shifts in the population and it goes far deeper than escaping snow and ice. The state of Arizona, where I winter, is growing fast and a lot of the new citizens are coming from California. California does not have the severe climates of Minnesota but it has one thing in common and that is high taxes. The population shift from California to Arizona is mainly the old and the middle class, that cannot afford to live there.

Minnesota is losing population and taxes play a part in that. We are one of the highest taxed states in the nation. One of a few that still taxes Social Security checks. For those high taxes we get a high-quality education system but that will not do the state much good when those smart people take their skills elsewhere, where it’s cheaper to live. We constantly see Minnesota legislators trying to find new revenue streams. I offer legalizing pot, barroom electronic pull tabs, sports betting, to name a few. Cities and towns are now leveling their own taxes as state aid dries up. Real estate taxes are driving seniors out of their homes.

I love Minnesota, the culture, the scenery and the people. But at the end of the day I need to be able to afford to live there.

Mike Holst

Crosslake