Dayton revises MN budget proposal

The new plan leaves $1 billion of the state’s budget deficit up in the air.

by James Nord

Reducing the tax revenue he projected to earn in the next two years by more than $1 billion, DFL gubernatorial nominee Mark Dayton released a revised budget plan Tuesday.

Dayton’s new proposal leaves about $1 billion of the projected $5.8 billion state budget deficit unaccounted for and outlines $533 million in spending cuts not included in his last plan.

Although he added a tax on credit card companies to the proposal which could earn the state an additional $213 million, Dayton’s new tax revenue numbers, about $2.8 billion, are a far cry from the $4 billion he originally projected to be economically feasible.

A Minnesota Department of Revenue review of Dayton’s original plan forced him to change the estimates.

The bulk of Dayton’s proposed tax revenue — about $1.9 billion — would come from an added tax bracket for individuals earning more than $130,000 yearly and couples making $150,000 in the same period.

He would also eliminate certain tax loopholes and add an additional property tax bracket for homes worth more than $1 million, totaling to about $600 million in revenue.

Dayton differs significantly from his opponents on taxes.

Independence Party nominee Tom Horner supports a medley of tax increases and spending cuts to bridge the state’s deficit, while Republican candidate Tom Emmer released a proposal last week that would exclusively cut the state’s budget to fiscal neutrality.

Included in Dayton’s new plan are $1.2 billion in cuts, which spiked from $679.9 million in the original proposal.

The cuts include pay decreases for highly-paid Minnesota State Colleges and University system employees, a reduction in health care bureaucracy and streamlined transportation services for the state’s schools.

Like Horner, Dayton supports expanded gambling in the state.

Unique to his proposal, however, is a state-run casino that Dayton projects would earn about $300 million per biennium, based on an estimate from similar legislation from 2003.