By Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen
Gov. Mark Dayton recently said the budget process made him "hate" what he's "having" to do. A more reasoned approach might make him feel better.
The proposal Dayton issued includes approximately $4 billion in taxes and a 22-percent spending increase during the next two years. His $485 million in reductions translates to $8.50 in tax increases for every $1 of spending reductions. Minnesota would have the country’s highest income-tax rate, with two new tiers (13.95 and 10.95 percent).
These tax increases would be damaging to our job creators at a time when people want to return to work and our economy needs to get back on track. It’s as if today’s economic reality completely escapes the governor.
Let’s get back to common sense by acknowledging our budget levels, sticking to our priorities and planning for the future. That’s the only way we can recover from our recession and provide a strong economic foundation for future generations. The governor’s plan fails in these regards and does zilch to address the structural deficit which handed our state a $6.2 billion shortfall.
Chasing tax hikes after spending increases is a losing game. We need to revamp the way our government functions and implement more cost-effective measures. Remember, Minnesota anticipates a 5-percent increase in revenue during the next biennium. The reason we face a shortfall is we’ve committed ourselves to an unsustainable and unaffordable 27-percent increase in state spending during the same period.
The governor’s current budget plan will not receive support from the Legislature. We will continue budget negotiations throughout the session and I am confident the finished product will be something much more fiscally responsible, innovative and sustainable.
That would be a plan we can all embrace, not “hate.”
Rep. Gruenhagen can be reached at the Capitol by calling 651-296-4229. He is also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His office is located at 575 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.