Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that collaboration will be a key priority in bringing jobs to the state and balancing a projected $6.2 billion budget deficit.
Dayton was inaugurated as MinnesotaâÄôs 40th Governor, and the first DFLer since 1986, on Monday in St. Paul. The inauguration marked the beginning of a tough legislative season for both parties.
The session begins Tuesday, bringing in a contingent of new Republican lawmakers and a historic Republican majority in both chambers of the Legislature. But a pervasive good mood seemed to dull looming partisan disagreements at Dayton’s swearing-in.
Outgoing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and some of the incoming Republican leadership attended the event.
Though Dayton repeated, âÄúletâÄôs get Minnesota working again by working togetherâÄù in his speech, he remained on-point in his message for more progressive taxes. Dayton campaigned on a proposal to raise $1.9 billion biennially in new taxes on MinnesotaâÄôs highest earners – individuals making more than $130,000 yearly and couples earning more than $150,000 in the same period.
In the past, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers have strongly opposed any tax increases, following a lead set by Pawlenty during his term.
At the inauguration Koch simply said of Dayton, âÄúThis is his day.” Though she added the state should live within its means.
In his speech, Dayton challenged those who decry new taxes to bring him a balanced budget âÄúwithout destroying our schools, hospitals and public safety.âÄù
The inauguration, held at the St. Paul Landmark Center, was officiated by former Vice President Walter Mondale and presided over by justices from the Minnesota Supreme Court. Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea swore Dayton in.
Other officials sworn in alongside Dayton included Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and Attorney General Lori Swanson, all returning officeholders.
âÄúItâÄôs still sinking in,âÄù Dayton said as he left the event.