Governor Mark Dayton says he is “very likely” to propose an income tax increase on Minnesota’s top 2% earners as part of a plan to cover a projected $1.1 billion deficit in the state’s budget. However, he said he was not ready to offer specifics today since the numbers were just released a few hours earlier by by Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter.
Governor Dayton said fiscally irresponsible budgets from the past two years that used accounting shifts to cover the deficits were responsible for the new deficit. He promised no more “gimmicks” to solve this year’s budget problem.
Governor Dayton noted that the wealthiest Minnesotans are paying much less in income taxes than they were 20 years ago.
Dayton’s statement, the numbers, DFL & GOP legislative leaders reaction.
At top Dayton is asked about taxing the rich. Below: Governor Dayton full news conference on state’s projected deficit.- Video by Jacob Wheeler/
Governor Dayton’s statement on the budget deficit:
“We’re done with the gimmicks, we’re done with the games. And I would just point out, and the commissioner can articulate this better than I, but you know, we will see an attempt to compare this year’s biennium with last years in terms both of revenue and spending – and it’s not a valid comparison because of the shifts, nor is it a valid comparison with the biennium before.
“So, some will try to say all of this is a 4.7% increase in spending. Well, it’s not, its not an accurate comparison. You need that comparison. So the gimmicks have really muddied up the issue for everyone. And they said, the reason that we’re still paying off the school shift, which they instituted, and as a result the revenues, the additional revenues that we gain for this biennium will not carry forward into the next biennium, which puts us further behind in the next biennium. Capitol renovations totally avoided.
“There is just a lot of avoidance, and a lot of gimmicks, and a lot of unwillingness to take responsibility for the situation that faced them at that moment in time. And we are not going to perpetuate that. We’re going to make tough decisions, there will be unpopular decisions, there will be hard decisions, but that’s what we’re going to do.”
Below: Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter, State Economist Dr. Tom Stinson, and State Budget Director Margaret Kelly present the complete November budget forecast.
DFL leaders Representative Paul Thissen (House Speaker Designate) and Senator Tom Bakk (Senate Majority Leader Designate) talk about what the budget deficit means for legislation this year.
Representative Ryan Winkler (DFL,Golden Valley) said the forecast reflects an improving economy, but there is a lot more to do.
“The budget forecast contains good news: Minnesota’s economy continues to grow and add jobs, though not as quickly as it should.
“With a $1.1 billion deficit, $1.1 billion owed to schools, class sizes at 47th in the nation, kids of color graduating at half the rate of white students, college and university funding at 1998 levels and student debt piling up, Minnesota’s budget is in tatters and we’re not investing in future prosperity. We can’t fix these problems without more revenue.
“Minnesota needs more revenue to fix our budget and invest in students so that we can have a stronger economy in the decades to come. The budget forecast predicts Minnesota will spend less on government in 2015 than it did in 1991. We need to continue making government more efficient and accountable, but we cannot afford to turn away from the investments in human capital that will make our state thrive in the decades to come.”
Republican leaders Senator David Hann (Senate Minority Leader Designate) and Representative Kurt Daudt (House Minority Leader Designate) talk about the budget deficit.