Gov. Mark Dayton will give his State of the State address Wednesday from the House Chambers at the State Capitol in St. Paul.
Dayton is not expected to make any new announcements on Wednesday night, but rather take the opportunity to promote his budget proposal and tax overhaul, the Pioneer Press reports.
The Governor says his biennial budget proposal will eliminate the state’s $1.1 billion budget deficit and balance government spending and revenue over the next two fiscal years while putting an end to the “fiscal games” and “accounting gimmicks” of the last decade.
Dayton’s proposals include cutting the sales tax rate from 6.875 percent to 5.5 percent, while broadening the tax to many goods and services that are currently exempt.
He also seeks to create a new income tax bracket on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans, while providing a rebate for the first $500 of property taxes paid going forward from 2013.
Some of the governor’s other proposals include: reducing the corporate tax rate from 9.8 percent to 8.4 percent; raising the cigarette tax 94 cents per pack; extending the sales tax to clothing costing more than $100; increasing local government aid $80 million a year and county program aid $40 million per year; and increasing funding for special education by $125 million.
The governor’s plan has not been well-received by Minnesota GOPers.
“The governor’s budget proposal raises taxes on all Minnesotans,” Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Mary's Point) told Stillwater Patch last month.“Everyone – not just the rich – will pay more to grow government.”
Minnesotans will feel the burden of new taxes on auto services, over-the-counter drugs, health club memberships and clothing items priced over $100, Housley said.
Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater) agreed, and took it one step further.
“This proposal is really bad for business, Minnesota jobs and the middle class,” Lohmer told Patch. “I agree with what Rep. Kurt Daudt said: ‘This budget is for a better Wisconsin.’”
It is not in the best interest of Minnesotans to raise taxes during a time of economic recovery and rapidly grow the size of government to levels that are not sustainable, Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) said of Dayton’s proposed budget.
“While I disagree with the approach the Governor is taking to balance the budget,” Dettmer said, “I look forward to a thoughtful and productive discussion about how we can protect the middle class from further tax increases and provide good services to the people of our state.”
The State of the State address begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Check back to watch a live feed of the governor's speech.
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