Latest Posts





Elections Should Be Held One Week After Tax Day

DFL State Senators have introduced legislation that would make voter registration automatic, and on Tuesday, newly-elected Congressman Dean Phillips (DFL) from Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional district introduced legislation that would make voting day a holiday.

I don’t spend an awful lot of time thinking about elections and voting patterns, but I do think it’s practically a crime that most elections are held in November, when taxes are due in April. A 2007 article from Kristina Rasmussen at the National Taxpayer’s Union agrees:

“Time heals all wounds” is usually offered as soothing advice to heart-broken lovers, but many spendthrift politicians have also embraced this axiom as they go about inflicting economic injuries upon taxpayers. A glance at a calendar and a quick calculation shows that the federal Tax Filing Day is exactly half-a-year away from the height of fall campaign season, when candidates are busy making grand policy promises.

As a result, early filers may see eight months pass between dropping a return in the mailbox and dropping a vote card in the ballot box. This passage of time serves as a buffer for lawmakers against an eruption of discontent with the painfully-messy Tax Code. Unsurprisingly, taxpayers often end up with elected officials who
give lip service to the idea of lower (or at least simpler) taxes, but rarely do these same politicians have to deal with the immediate consequences of failing to back up words with deeds.

Tax reformers who want to highlight the relationship between what Americans pay to the federal government and what they receive in return should advocate moving Tax Filing Day closer to Election Day, as it would likely have a positive impact on who is elected and what policy priorities are pursued by Congress. This Issue Brief seeks to explain the practicality, estimated costs, and possible policy outcomes of such a move.

Scheduling Tax Filing Day far away from Election Day conveniently serves a similar purpose: individuals working late into the night on April 14 may curse the politicians who dare to impose a monstrosity of a Tax Code, yet this frustration can seem a distant memory by election time, only to reemerge next April 15.

The decision to hold elections in November was made in 1845 to accommodate an agrarian society by holding the vote after the harvest was over. Today, fewer than 2 percent of Americans work on farms, and the number of man-hours needed to produce much more food has fallen dramatically thanks to modern technology. Furthermore, there was no individual income tax until 1913. 

I’d love to see a bill introduced in Congress that would move our elections from early November to the Tuesday after tax day. Maybe then we’d actually be able to hold politicians accountable for spending our tax dollars in frivolous and wasteful ways.




Upcoming Events

  • Morning in Minnesota Breakfast Series Featuring Isaac Orr

    Location: The Oaks at Eagle Creek 1000 26th Ave NE Willmar, MN 56201

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Tuesday, August 27th at The Oaks at Eagle Creek for breakfast with Center policy fellow and energy expert, Isaac Orr. Following his discussion of his new report, Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion, Isaac will be joined by Rep. Tim Miller, Rep. Dave Baker, and Sen. Andrew Lang for a conversation about renewable energy standards in Minnesota. Tuesday, August 27, 2019 The Oaks at Eagle Creek 1000 26th Ave NE, Willmar, MN 56201 7:30 AM Breakfast & Check-In 8:00 AM Presentation…

  • Fall Briefing Featuring Kimberley Strassel

    Location: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts 345 Washington Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now