AP: Gov. Dayton offers revamped budget asking more of wealthy

Brian Bakst
Associated Press
March 13, 2013

Gov. Mark Dayton is asking Minnesota’s wealthiest citizens to pay more than a billion dollars in new income taxes in order to boost state funding for schools and colleges by nearly $900 million.

The Democratic governor released the updated budget proposal Thursday. As expected, Dayton dropped a proposed sales tax overhaul that generated strong opposition from business leaders.

As expected, reaction from Democratic lawmakers was positive. “For too long we have seen our budget deficits resolved by deep cuts to the middle class and one-time fixes,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen. “That approach has only given us more deficits, higher property taxes, and larger classroom sizes. It is high time we reject the status quo and build a budget that positions our state to thrive in the future.”

Dayton jettisoned a $500 yearly property tax rebate, but puts additional money into an existing program that provides property tax rebates and beefs up a property tax credit for renters. He boosts state aid programs to city and county governments.

Oppenents of Dayton’s budget proposal say the tax increases are three-times larger than the state’s manageable budget deficit.

“Gov. Mark Dayton wants to raise taxes on Minnesotans by $1.8 billion to cover a deficit that is one-third that size, how is that a balanced approach? Dayton’s math simply doesn’t add up,” said Ben Golnik Chairman of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition. “This budget isn’t about making Minnesotans pay their fair share, it’s about raising taxes for the sake of creating a larger, less efficient government.”

The Governor also continues to call for a tobacco tax increase and for eliminating tax loopholes that benefit corporations. He says it’s not responsible budgeting to simply draw a line against all tax hikes.