DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, of Minneapolis, says the latest budget forecast means Republicans now have to move forward with their plans to balance the state’s budget.
Thissen noted that more revenue from capital gains taxes was a key element of the improved forecast. He says that’s a result of President Obama’s agreement with House Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts.
“I think we should thank President Obama for brokering the deal to make sure that some of that work got done,” Thissen said. “More importantly, we still have a $5 billion budget deficit. So we haven’t solved the problem. What’s going to me most important to me right now is to see the Republican proposal for balancing this $5 billion budget deficit.”
DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk told reporters that he was pleased that the state’s budget picture improved. But he said the state’s structural budget problems are continuing.
“I’d like to say what a difference a year makes,” Bakk said. “But we were in same spot a year ago.”
While DFLers are arguing for the House and Senate GOP to put up a budget plan, Bakk and Thissen say it’s unlikely their respective caucuses will put a comprehensive plan forward.
Governor Mark Dayton responded to the improved forecast by eliminating an income tax surcharge for the state’s wealthiest residents from his budget plan. But Dayton still wants to raise income taxes for the state’s highest earners. Republicans say the capital gains revenue is proof that giving a boost to business is the best way out of the budget deficit.