Dayton warns tax opposition could be “death of the country”

Governor Mark Dayton says he’ll continue to push his plan to raise taxes on Minnesota’s top earners in his next budget plan.

Dayton told a group at the University of Minnesota today that his administration is coming up with a plan to overhaul the entire tax code to make the tax system fairer to lower and middle income people. He didn’t offer specifics but said his plan would continue to include an income tax hike on the state’s top 2 percent of earners.

Dayton also criticized Republicans in the Legislature and in Congress for being reluctant to raise taxes to pay for new programs.

“This unwillingness to pay taxes and seeing it as a threat to our freedom and our liberty and our way of life, to me, is going to be the death of this country if it’s not corrected,” Dayton said.

Dayton said he didn’t want to release his tax plan now because he didn’t want it to get “mired in politics” during the campaign season. When pressed for specifics, Dayton said voters have a clear choice between his policies and the plans put forward by GOP legislative leaders.

“What people need to know and can vote on is that I’m committed to raising taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Minnesotans to make our tax system less regressive and the Republicans oppose that,” Dayton said. “That to me is the acid test.”

Republicans have criticized Dayton’s call to raise taxes because they say it would make business owners less willing to invest in Minnesota.

Dayton said several other things during the wide ranging speech and interview.

He said he supports opening up trade with Cuba.

He’s open to lowering the state’s corporate tax rate but may close other unspecified loopholes.

He said he won’t present a state based health exchange to the federal government until after the election. He also said it’s an open question as to whether he can create the health exchange without legislative input.

He’ll spend the next few months going to key business leaders and asking them what they need to succeed.

Here’s Dayton’s full speech:

  1. Listen Dayton speech

Here’s his q and a with the U of M’s Larry Jacobs:

  1. Listen Jacobs Q & A

  • What people need to know and can vote on is that Mark Dayton’s budget puts the 10.95% rate on all Minnesota income taxpayers over time.

    Minnesota Governor Dayton’s Budget does not index the 10.95% income tax bracket for inflation. Overtime, this will push more and more Minnesotans into paying this high tax rate. Not indexing this 10.95% rate for inflation is a “policy choice” made by the Governor to “have a permanent revenue solution going forward” according to Matt Massman from the Dayton Administration’s Department of Revenue.

    Watch the Dayton Administration describe Dayton’s real tax hike on all Minnesota income taxpayers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2_92qQoHJU

    Read about Dayton’s income tax hike not being indexed for inflation on page 6 of his budget.

    ( http://www.mmb.state.mn.us/doc/budget/narratives/gov11/tax-policy.pdf )

  • Jamie

    You should not call the wealthiest Minnesotans “top earners.” Many of them do not EARN their income, or earn only a portion of their income. For many, much or all of it comes from inheritances and money made on investments. And for some, it comes from the hard work of low-paid workers at businesses they own.

    Your calling them “earners” puts them in a light they don’t deserve to have shining on them, and it is typical Republican rhetoric.

  • Jamie

    Typical Republican lies, Paul Silf. You’re totally making it up! It’s bogus to say that ALL taxpayers would have the 10.95% rate “over time.” You’re injecting meaningless, unpredictable, fallacious elements into the plan.

    Besides, even if you were correct, the lowest-income taxpayers would benefit by having a 10.95% tax rate because they’re paying about 12% now — more than the highest-income people, who should be paying their fair share.

  • Steven Schweda

    Governor Dayton seems disturbed or confused by the reluctance of some

    people to pay higher taxes. To help explain this reluctance, let’s look

    at a simple example of our taxes at work.

    Each year, the Minnesota Department of Human Services hands out about

    $4B for Medicaid health care, and the governor has admitted (on MPR)

    that no one in the state government has any idea what this money buys.

    How eager should anyone be to send more taxes to a state govennment

    which cares so little about what happens to the money it already gets?

    Or, should we prefer to send more taxes to the federal government,

    where the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers

    for Medicare and Medicaid Services send about half of that $4B to the

    state, and put no more effort into tracking it than the state government

    does?

    Perhaps some of this disturbing reluctance can be explained by a

    desire not to throw ever more money down a bottomless rat-hole. Perhaps

    a less profligate government would encounter less such reluctance.

  • Steven Schweda

    Governor Dayton seems disturbed or confused by the reluctance of some

    people to pay higher taxes. To help explain this reluctance, let’s look

    at a simple example of our taxes at work.

    Each year, the Minnesota Department of Human Services hands out about

    $4B for Medicaid health care, and the governor has admitted (on MPR)

    that no one in the state government has any idea what this money buys.

    How eager should anyone be to send more taxes to a state government

    which cares so little about what happens to the money it already gets?

    Or, should we prefer to send more taxes to the federal government,

    where the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers

    for Medicare and Medicaid Services send about half of that $4B to the

    state, and put no more effort into tracking it than the state government

    does?

    Perhaps some of this disturbing reluctance can be explained by a

    desire not to throw ever more money down a bottomless rat-hole. Perhaps

    a less profligate government would encounter less such reluctance.

  • Lu

    Our Governor sounds drunk with slurring speech and heavy breathing.

    At one point he refers to a company in Thief River Falls. That company employs over 2000 people in a town of 8000. The owner recently met with Dayton’s Revenue Commissioner along with other business owners in the area. When the owner talked about the hostile MN business environment, Dayton’s Commissioner told him, “You didn’t build your business.” Sadly, that owner has just expanded his business with great jobs and arguably the best benefits in the state outside government jobs into North Dakota. That’s on Dayton and his administration. What an embarrassment.