Dayton proposes bold reforms

Reforms in the governor’s budget proposal deserve consideration from both parties.

by Editorial board


Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton released a budget proposal that makes significant changes to the state tax code and state spending and corrects previous years’ shortfalls. The most significant change in the proposal would lower the sales tax rate, but tax more items —including clothing more than $100 and services that previously had been tax free. The plan also includes cutting the corporate tax rate and more than $1 billion in property-tax relief. The plan has much in common with federal calls to “broaden the base and lower the rates” and is worthy of fair consideration by both parties.

Dayton’s budget also includes spending proposals that reflect Minnesota’s priorities: It calls for significant investment in both primary and higher education to ensure a workforce well prepared for the demands of the future economy, investments in infrastructure and transportation and economic stimulus initiatives.

  As the state continues to recover after the economic recession, Dayton’s proposals for the tax code are a step in the right direction in solving our long-term budget problems, which contributed to the government shutdown of 2011. If legislators have disagreements with Dayton’s plan, they should provide the public with details about how they might change it and why their alternative would be more beneficial to the state. With the bitter partisanship of 2011 in mind, the state Legislature should avoid thinking in ideological terms and simply work together as colleagues.

  While the proposal faces significant opposition from interest groups impacted by changes, the overall intent is fundamentally sound and worthy of fair consideration by legislators of both parties.