Union members rally for Dayton

While DFL legislative leaders have been reluctant to embrace Gov. Dayton’s budget plan, many union members are in full support of it.

Roughly 300 union members attended a rally at the State Capitol today to show support for Dayton’s budget and bonding bills. They also spoke out against efforts to cut the state’s workforce, freeze salaries and make Minnesota a “Right to work state.”

AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson says Dayton’s plan to borrow $1 billion for public works projects will create up to 28,000 jobs. She also said Dayton’s plan to raise income taxes on Minnesota’s top earners will make the state’s tax system fairer.

Russ Jones of Anoka also spoke in support of Dayton’s budget plan. The union floor layer, who has been out of work for two years, says Dayton’s budget plan will protect lower and middle income taxpayers.

“Hopefully, we can get this thing fixed with Mark Dayton and hopefully the rich can get a grip on that the little bit that he’s asking will go in a monster, long way in fixing our economy that they messed up.”

Dayton’s Chief of Staff, Tina Smith, urged those in attendance to continue speaking out in favor of Dayton’s budget plan. She said it would keep some of the state’s core services in place.

“If this is the kind of Minnesota that you want. If this is how you want to get Minnesota working again,” Smith said. “We need you because Governor Dayton can’t get this by himself.”

Meanwhile, GOP legislative leaders are traveling the state speaking out against Dayton’s budget.

Republicans in control of the Legislature have criticized both Dayton’s budget plan and his bonding proposal.

“We believe it’s a 20th Century budget for a 21st Century economy,” GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said. “It puts us at a terrible competitive disadvantage.”

Koch and other GOP legislative leaders say the state needs to stop spending and make cuts to government programs. They have not released a full budget plan yet.

Committees in both the House and Senate will hold hearing on Dayton’s budget plan throughout the week.

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