Area Legislators Mixed on Dayton Budget Proposal

Gov. Mark Dayton's $38 billion proposal would expand sales taxes on certain items and services and boost education funding.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's $38 billion budget plan drew a mixed response from Dakota County legislators this week, with Republicans decrying proposed tax and spending increases, while Democrats lauded Dayton's focus on school funding.

Released Tuesday, the two-year budget plan raises roughly $2.1 billion in revenue by implementing sales taxes on haircuts, car repairs and high-end clothing sales, among other specific products and services. An income tax hike for married filers making more than $250,000 of taxable income annually and single filers earning more than $150,000 is also included in the proposal, as is a tax hike on cigarettes.

But corporate taxes would drop 14 percent under the proposal, and all homeowners would get a $500 rebate on their property taxes starting in 2014, according to Dayton's plan. The overall sales tax rate would also fall from 6.875 percent to 5.5 percent.

It was Dayton's plans for school funding that earned the praise of Senate District 51 Sen. Jim Carlson (DFL), who represents portions of Eagan and Burnsville.

Under Dayton's proposal, the state would funnel $300 million during the next biennium to K-12 schools and $240 million to higher education, plus $92 million for early learning programs and scholarships.

"A solid economy starts with a solid education," Carlson wrote in a news release. "We need to continue to invest in our economic future by ensuring our children attend good schools."

Dayton's proposed education funding increase would result in $52 in new money for every student, Carlson said.

Still, Carlson said, Dayton's proposal was only a "starting point."

The proposal didn't even rise to that level for Republican foes in Dakota County and across the state.

"Governor Dayton has talked about a balanced approach to our state's budget. Instead of working to streamline government and reduce spending in a meaningful way, he is asking middle class families to foot the bill for billions of dollars in new spending," House District 57B Rep. Anna Wills said. "He is proposing a budget that will tax haircuts, car repairs, over-the-counter medicines, and for the first time ever, clothing."

“Our state government doesn’t need more money. Families need to keep their own hard-earned dollars and government needs to do a better job with what it has,” Minnesota Senate Republican Leader and Senate District 48 Sen. David Hann (R) wrote in a news release.  “Growing our economy, not government is the right way to move our state forward.”


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