The three candidates for Minnesota governor participated in the first post-primary debate tonight and it got feisty. Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner took part in a debate hosted by Twin Cities Public Television. The candidates sparred over tax policy and the best way to solve the state’s nearly 6-billion dollar projected budget deficit. Emmer said he won’t support tax increases to balance the budget.
“You need to make all of Minnesota competitive,” Emmer said. “You have to lower taxes and have regulatory reform so you can create business all over Minnesota.”
But Dayton said Emmer hasn’t outlined how he’d balance the budget without raising taxes.
“You’ve been in the Legislature for all of these years under Governor Pawlenty, a conservative Republcian governor,” Dayton said. “You’re basically saying that there’s $6 billion of waste and excess in his operating budget that you can identify and remove and nobody is going to notice the difference.”
Dayton wants to raise income taxes on Minnesota’s top earners to balance the budget.
The IP’s Horner wants to lower the state’s sales tax rate but expand it to clothing and services. He repteadly tried to portray himself as a viable alternative to Emmer and Dayton.
“Representative Emmer talks about the status quo, he’s right,” Horner said. “But all we hear over here is ‘Let’s just cut the status quo and everything will be better” and from the other side it’s ‘let’s just make the status quo bigger and everything will be better.’ I believe most of us in Minnesota are saying we need something different than the status quo.”
You can listen to the full debate here:
All three candidates will participate in another debate on Saturday. They’ll be at Game Fair in Anoka.