Final TV debate generates heat

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The three major-party candidate for governor turned up the volume on their criticism of each other tonight during a debate on Twin Cities Public Television’s Almanac.

After more than two dozen debates, DFLer Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer and the Independence Party’s Tom Horner appeared for the last time together on TV before Election Day. The final debate is Sunday afternoon on MPR.

Dayton criticized Emmer’s cuts-alone approach to erasing a projected $5.8 billion state budget deficit as a recipe for local property tax increases. He said Emmer’s reductions in health and human services would have human consequences.

“We’re talking about people here,” Dayton said. “This is about people who get personal care attendants, people who are able to stay at home, people who need to be in nursing homes who are literally kept alive through that kind of care. This is about people, and we do have a growing aging population.”

Emmer accused Dayton of making spending promises that he can’t keep and being too cozy with labor unions. Emmer said his own plan to reshape state government would include the possible privatization of some current services, but he didn’t offer specifics.

“Our state government should not be taking citizens taxpayer dollars and then getting into business to compete with its private citizens,” Emmer said. “That should not happen, and it is happening. If there’s something a private citizen can do, government should not be doing that function.”

Horner, who’s running a distant third in the polls, slammed both frontrunners. The IP candidate accused Dayton of being disingenuous in his plan to tax the rich.

“When you say your tax proposal will only effect 8 percent of small business, true,” Horner said. “How many jobs will it affect? Ninety percent of the small business jobs in Minnesota. Your killing jobs, that’s what your doing. That’s what your tax proposal does.”

Horner repeatedly argued that his centrist approach is the only way to move Minnesota forward.

Here’s the Almanac audio in three parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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