Reality Check: Gov. Dayton’s ‘Tax The Rich’ Promise

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican leaders are hoping to finish work by midnight on a budget deal to end Minnesota’s 15-day government shutdown. It’s an agreement no one seems to like, including Dayton.

Dayton won the election with a very simple promise: Tax the rich. However, it was a campaign promise he did not keep.

Dayton also promised no education cuts, but is now borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from schools to Band-Aid the budget.

Faced with uniform opposition by Republicans, Dayton abandoned those promises to fix the budget.

Now, there’s bipartisan criticism for the deal Dayton made with Republicans — notably from Dayton’s fellow Democrats, who may not even vote for this budget.

Watch more of Pat Kessler’s Reality Check above.

More from Pat Kessler
  • jm

    thanks, dayton, for stepping up to the plate to resolve this shutdown.

  • mettahu

    It’s pretty hard for a governor to keep a promise like that faced with a legislature filled with members of the opposition party. Fortunately, there’s an election coming up, so there may be time yet for him to keep that promise. If the voters decide to fill the legislature with Democrats again, and they manage to pass a bill to tax the richest earners, that will be quite some reality check for some folks. You just never know what will happen.

    • Hadley

      I’m sorry, but Governor Dayton really hurt the democratic cause. It’s going to be another Republican blowout in 2012 and 2014.

      • David J. Conklin

        I’m one independent who will never vote for any GOP candidate precisely because of this affair.

        • Norge

          Which means you were NEVER really an indepenmdent, but in reality a ‘dependent’ probably feeding at the public trough filled by the real taxpayers….any fool can see through your lie as a real indepenmdent was against ANY new taxes and is for smaller government….except for the communist independents.

          • Matt


            Problem with the Republicans is that they do not know how to lower taxes correctly and make government smaller. You can’t just cut everything and say your job is done. You have to do it over time. Massive spending cuts is really bad. Right now the Republicans look greedy and only thinking about themselves. I would vote for a Republican if they can show me they will make changes within reason. Also the RICH should pay their fair percentage share of taxes. I suggest we switch to a flat tax rate system where everyone pays equally.

          • Sean

            @ Norge. Are you so unaware of the election process that you only see two choices on the ballot when you look. . As the GOP keeps moving further right at the exclusion of others do you really think the party will be able to send candidates to office when the other choice is more moderate? Do you understand any of this because I used words longer than5 letters?

        • evl

          Sounds like you’re not so independent after all.

      • Paul Solinger

        You’re delusional. Minnesotans know who the good guys and bad guys were in this fight, and Republicans will lose next year.

        • Norge

          “Republicans will lose next year” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I love the rantings of the liberal bong-suckers!! HAHAHAHAHAH

        • Poor Paul

          Sorry Paul…..

          Check the national polls….

          The Dem’s are NOT doing well throughout the nation!!!

          Obam has the country in worse shape then when he statred ( sure got your “change”) and MN is NO better off right now either!

          So good luck!!!! I MAY be close…..but I doubt the DFL will WIN!

      • jen

        lets hope so.

    • Shirl Mann

      I think the republican’s are in for a rude awakening !!!!There’s too many of the middle class that are unemployeed ,,do you really think their concern is the wealthy’s tax breaks, who the republican’s have already assisted the wealthy to move those jobs overseas. We’re smarter than that.

      • Telle

        Brilliant. So let’s take money from people who have more of it, just because we can.

        • Dave Middle class

          Actually, its let take the same percent of taxes from the rich that John Middle Class Smith is paying….

          • Telle

            Brilliant. So lets make everyone “Equal” by taking More money from people who have more of it, just because we can.

            • Citizen

              Yes, tax the rich more. They are paying historically low taxes. We need to tax them at 94% against like Eisenhower did in order to pay for WWII. I have no sympathy for their (and your) crocodile tears. The rich have gotten incredibly wealthy on the backs of the middle class.

              • barf

                And you’re a loser, who doesn’t have a dime to his name

              • Michael

                Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s (goods).

                It is not good to want something that is not yours, Mr Citizen. Be satisfied with what you have.

                • Citizen

                  Pretty bogus reply, Michael, since the rich have obviously been coveting the middle class’s possession for quite a while with the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class into their coffers since the 1970’s. Didn’t your “Jesus” overturn the money tables of the rich? Didn’t he preach humility and poverty? That’s the great thing about religion–it contradicts itself every which way. You can find a passage in the Bible to support every last abomination that mankind devises. I’m not impressed. And I’m a pagan, so I would appreciate your spouting off your religiouis tenets toward someone else. You are violating my right to FREEDOM FROM religion.

            • Michael

              Romans 1
              21 Because that, when they (including “Citizen”) knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
              22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

              • Citizen

                Ah, religion, Michael. Blah, blah, blah, Praise Jebus. Blah, blah, blah.

                • Michael

                  Why are you so mad at Jesus?

                • Don't pick on Citizen

                  Guys Citizen is an actual indian/native American. So understand that when you read his replies. I don’t know that much more needs to be said. Take his responses and put them in the outlier category.

              • Dale

                It is not Jesus anyone would be mad at it would be the followers, You read what he said as an attack on Jesus which it was not, He said ill of the followers who lead a life far different than that of Jesus.

                • Citizen

                  Thank you, Dale. I remember reading about the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades. I remember fences in cemeteries right here in Minnesota to separate the Lutheran graves from the Catholic graves! Jesus would be thoroughly appalled at what is said and supported with his Name.

            • Matt

              Maybe if businesses would pay their employees a fair wage. We wouldn’t be so willing to tax the rich more. I am tired of setting $10/hr jobs that require a 4 year degree.

    • Darren

      Here is a promise I will keep if that happens. I will take my business out of this state and hope I can bring most of the employees with. Of course, I only have 100 employees in 8 different small towns in Minnesota.

      Now that is a reality check.

      • Eric

        Please, just leave now and see if your employees will follow.

        • Darren

          I am sure most will, most have been with me over 15 years, most get paid $45,000 a year plus a bonus. I pay all of the benefits. I pay myself $50,000 a year. I am the largest employer in one town. I love Minnesota but my taxes for myself and my business have tripled since I went into business 22 years ago.

          • Citizen

            Good luck, Darren, in Mississippi or Texas or Florida or South Dakota. Don’t let the screen door hit you! Minnesota doesn’t need patriots like you.

            • hetro

              and mn doesn’t need leeches like you.

              • Citizen

                @hetro. I’m a leech? Please back up your insult? As a federal employee I was involved in protecting the U.S. from illegal immigrants and terrorists. With your comment, I must have let one slip by!

                • Arnold

                  Well you didn’t do much if 14 million illegals got in and 3,000 people died in 9/11. I wouldn’t brag about those stats.

                • Citizen

                  Great comment, Arnold. Yeah, I stood at both the northern and southern borders all alone with my gun, using all the broken sensors provided by Boeing Corp. And I alone was supervising the federal contractor who let in the hijackers who created 9/11. By the way, they were Saudi Arabians here legally on student visas. And the Saudi royal family was great friends of the Bush family. Yep, I’m solely responsible for 14 million illegals that were WINKED into the U.S. to work for corporations who illegally employed them. Those “free market women” needs johns, too. Law of supply and demand… And also, with your comment, two must have slipped by!

                • Another one gets by

                  You missed an entire house full on Beech St. in St. Paul.

          • Matt


            So you are saying you’ve made the same amount of money each year but your taxes have tripled?

  • john saint paul

    Then the rich will take their money to South Dakota like Dayton’s family did, oh excuse me Dayton’s trust advisers moved all their money to South Dakota for their best interests. I think we should tax anyone that lives here but takes their money out of state so they don’t pay any taxes on it. now that’s fair. Also tax all products that are not made in the USA, and tax them big.

    • M B

      Is that the best you got? Really? All you can do is dredge up the Trust fund argument in hopes you save face?

      You must not be an accountant. I do have accountant friends. Let me explain something to you.

      1) The trust was given to him by his dad, created by his dad, so he had no choice in where it was located.
      2) as a person that had a tiny trust (as in less than 10K) let me inform you of something: It doesn’t matter WHERE the trust is located, it’s still income to MN if you claim here as your state of residence. In fact, my trust ended up paying taxes in TWO states: The state in which IT resided, and the state in which I resided, so I was taxed TWICE on the same money. Should I be screaming about the state taxing me too much then, or do I get to have Republicans say I’m a Minnesota sellout?

  • M B

    The Republicans knew that if they held their breath, stamped their feet like little children and just waited till the state turned collectively purple, then the governor would have to do something, even though he’s been the one that been compromising all along. On top of that, they lace the budget they DO send the Governor with religious refuse just to be able to say they had something they were willing to give up on so they could say they “Compromised”.

    What does that say for the Republicans? I have officially lost all respect for the Republicans. They can bash all they want; call everyone not associated with them “trough feeders”, “social leeches” or whatever other rubber-stamped derogatory muck they want to sling around in hopes of making their position look less greedy and foul, but I hope that the people of Minnesota see this for what it is and vote them all out the next election. I don’t care if it’s Democrats, Independents or even the Greens, just not Republicans. When this little flaming bag of budgetary poo explodes on our doorstep when that “Borrowing” (wasn’t that what the Republicans were so against?) comes due and the Republicans try to rewrite history to blame the Democrats (again), I hope the state remembers who REALLY was to blame.

    • john

      ….and let’s remind everyone that Pawlenty was able to coast on the hard work of his predecessors, particularly those who supported the creation of a solid education system in the state of Minnesota, the benefits of which we enjoy every day but is now in peril because Tim Pawlenty kicked the can down to the next Governor. Shame on him.

      • KeepItReal

        Thanks MB and john. You have shown that you are to stoopid liberals out of touch with reality. I guess you forgot who put bills on Tpaws desk….that’s correct, it was the union-corrupt libs who placed our state in dire straights. Demos and Reps are two power-grubbing institutions only out to keep themselves in power…neither party really cares about the average Minnesotan.

        • jimmy


          to stoopid???????

  • Kirby

    Reality check: The Gov.does not have the powers to “propose budgets”…the purse strings are firmly in the legislature. He simply must sign or veto. This is the Republican’s budget They proposed it. The Gov offered some additional suggestions, which the GOP accepted to get the Gov’s signature….Thought Pat was better than this.

  • tom

    Dayton makes Jesse Ventura look like a genius!!!!

    • the_troll01

      Your not really raising the bar very high, are you?

      • Jem

        don’e need to. dumb as a dust bunny.

        • jimmy

          don’e need to. dumb as a dust bunny.

          I am in awe of your writing skills.

  • willow

    Why dont you all pay 34% of what you earn, thats what the top income earners have to pay, plus sales tax, property tax, and state income tax at the highest level?

    • jimmy


      Show me one top income earner that pays 34% of their gross income in income tax.

  • Brett

    Dayton sold out Minnesota and this will surely give “psycho” Bachmann an edge on the elections

  • the_troll01

    Wouldn’t that just be a kick in the crotch if “Crazy Eyes” Dayton’s fellow dems all voted against this???? HAHAHA!!!!

  • zee the reporter

    I’d love to change the world
    But I don’t know what to do
    So I’ll leave it up to you

    Population keeps on breeding
    Nation bleeding, still more feeding economy
    Life is funny, skies are sunny
    Bees make honey, who needs money, Monopoly

    I’d love to change the world
    But I don’t know what to do
    So I’ll leave it up to you

    World pollution, there’s no solution
    Institution, electrocution
    Just black and white, rich or poor
    Them and us, stop the war

    I’d love to change the world
    But I don’t know what to do
    So I’ll leave it up to you

    • Julie

      …and now Zygi Wilf wants the governor to back a billion dollar stadium.

      Doesn’t he know crack kills?The government is going to be coming out of a bad thing (the shutdown) and I think the last thing we need is a government backed stadium.

      Let the owner of the vikings AND all the vikings pay for it themselves and get the rest of the money the way the rest of us have to get money that we don’t have.

      Apply for a loan from the bank.
      We The People of Minnesota got better things to think about than a tax hike for a stadium that most of us will never go into, or even be able to afford to go into.

    • somebody

      GOP rhymes with SLOP. REPUBLICANS rhymes with REPROBLEMS. MONKEYS ride ELEPHANTS. MONKEYS rhymes with DONKEYS.

      • the_troll01

        Poetic genius

  • fkafka

    Pat Kessler is on acid, claiming in reality Dayton has given ( suffered ) so much, It’a the other way around, The Republicans have given up at least as much, but don’t hog the media like Dayton loves to do. We need and can now do a new budget every week – not every four years. Time to catch up.

    • Patrick PatPat Lilja

      You’re funny.

  • Sinclair

    you elect a nut, you get a nutty budget. Why is everyone surprised?

  • Mr. Mustache

    Governor Goofy….You know the guy that looks like the deer in the head lights.
    What more can be said about a 3 time looser….

    • Lori

      You’re the looser.
      Gov Dayton did what he had to do for the working people.
      Republicans only care about the almighty dollar.
      How we treat our children is appalling.
      I wonder how they will treat us when we are old and gray?

      • the_troll01

        “Republicans only care about the Almighty dollar”

        ….and the “Recipient Class” believes they are “entitled” to those almighty dollars!

    • Matt

      Just because someone isn’t good at public speaking doesn’t make them stupid.

      • the_troll01

        Bet you thought exactly the same thing about “W”

  • Darren

    Working people? I have been in business 22 years, my taxes have tripled on both my personal income and business income. I pay my employees well and pay for all of their benefits. Although I only have 100 employees. Governor Dayton has done nothing for my business. He didn’t do anything when he was in Washington and he won’t do anything for me here in Minnesota.

    Thank God the Republicans were fighting for me, maybe this year my taxes won’t go up.

    • Citizen

      I will repeat my comment to you, Darren. You are free to leave Minnesota. You are no patriot to this State with the comments you have made. It is all about you, isn’t it? What has Minnesota done for me? How about provided you with an educated workforce, a beautiful state to live in, good education for your children, decent public services for your home and family. You are a whining ingrate. Please go to another state–you are free to do that in America. I’m sure you can find somewhere with lower taxes and lots of great parks, and a superior education for the workforce–like Texas–NOT!

    • jimmy


      The income tax has not gone up in Minnesota in 22 years as matter of fact they have gone down.

      I think your entire post is a lie.

    • Gordon

      In the last 22 years that would be one year of a Dem. 8 years GOP, 4 years jesse, 8 years GOP, one year Dayton. If your taxes on income tripled your income has grown accordingly. Please give any detail as to what Pawlenty did for you? DO you feel like you need entitlements?

  • Those that care!

    For those that feel it is necessary to bash the Governor, BACK OFF! If it was not for a compromise by Dayton, what would you HYPOCRITES have to complain about? You want the rich to pay more but THEY control the legislator! What is even worse? They know it! I have lived here in Minnesota all of my life, I am willing to do what IS RIGHT to make sure I have contributed to what i believed is what this state needs. But when the few “rich”(those that make a living that is in no way threatened by hard ship) COMPLAIN THAT I PAY FOR THOSE THAT DON’T WORK ! Go to Church!

  • Whitey Fjord

    It amazes me how many whiney liberals there are on the CC and O website. You all keep talking about how the Republicans are going to lose big in the next election. The republicans did EXACTLY what they were voted into office to do. Something Mark Dayton can’t claim. So I’m going to use a line from your anointed one and suggest you go and sit in the back of the bus.

    • Kirby

      So republicans were voted in to borrow from the future and make the economy worse in 2 years to temporarily fix the problem now? Not the kind of legislator I would vote for.

  • Common Sense up North

    Ever notice that it’s the Republicans that resort to name calling? Let’s see…”Governor Goofy, nut, Crazy Eyes, stoopid liberals.” That’s just in this article today.
    They can’t make a good conversation or argument without name calling. What does that say about them?
    Something to think about come election time again. Clean house with a good bar of soap… in their mouths too.

  • Sinclair

    Some might remember Daytons slogan when he ran for senator “I will put social security in a lock box”. How did that promise pan out?

  • Captain America

    I am not a Dayton fan but I commend him for coming to agreement on the budget. The people of Minnesota have spoken in the last election and do not want higher taxes which would damper economic growth. As an example New Jersey has twice the population and spends less than MN, our spending needs to be reigned in. Reform is needed to cull social programs that are being abused by cheats. Cut corporate taxes to spur growth, and reform the system of taxation to a flat tax or a comparable system. MN is one of the most business unfriendly states in the union and will lose more jobs if we continue our ways. Grow the number of workers and we will prosper. None of us has ever been hired by a poor person, create more rich people and we will all prosper. Free markets and liberty for all is the path to prosperity.

    • Citizen

      @Captain America. I apologize to everyone in advance for even replying to your post. Rather than a long diatribe refuting what you have stated, I will say that your entire post is one big lie. You are a free market promoter, and even the conservatives abandoned the free market according to John Kenneth Galbraith. But, I simply can’t help myself regarding comment on government programs that are abused. The Secure Border Initiative of placing technology and sensors along the U.S. border with Mexico cost the taxpayers of the U.S. $3 billion and the sensors and tech gadgets DON’T WORK! That’s right, DON’T WORK and NEVER WILL WORK. $3 billion down the drain paid to Boeing. Still a government contractor. Sort of makes all the welfare fraud argument look pretty puny compared to corporate America’s fraud on the taxpayers. Check out your facts about Minnesota. You insult this beautiful state and its citizens. You should be ashamed.

    • frozenrunner

      In New Jersey the state pays less towards education than Minnesota does. They have one of the highest property tax rates in the nation. The latest Forbes ratings puts New Jersey as 40th best state for business. Look at their unemployment rate compared to other regional states and you will see it is higher. Go drive through there and you will find the only good roads are toll roads.. Yes their budget is lower. The state is also a pit. So you want this state to be a pit go get your New Jersey buddies here

  • Citizen

    @Captain America. Please don’t compare us to New Jersey. Who in their right mind would want to live in that high-density of human population state? With its slums and toxic waste dumps? And I’m pretty sure the taxes are higher there, too. And Chris Christie took a state helicopter to fly to his son’s soccer or baseball game or whatever, and had a limo (at taxpayers’ expense) drive him the 300 feet to the stands from the helicopter. Do you support that kind of fiscal austerity for the Minnesota state governor? Didn’t think so….

  • middle of the road

    We have the trifecta going on folks. First he resigns from the senate and is voted the worst senator ever, then as governor he reins over the longest shut down ever, and lastly the states football team will leave as he tries to save face with the extremist democrats. Yeah, only two years into his term and I am afraid of what will happen in the next two years.


      First off your name is a lie
      Dayton never resigned from the Senate
      Dayton took the oath of office jan 2011 so how can it be 2 years

      • OH..AHH....too funny

        Do you even know what a trifecta is IM*JUST*F*STUPID ?

        But your name fits you perfect!

        • IM*JUST*F*STUPID

          A trifecta of lies. But you too can wear the name.

  • HooDatIS?

    the govenor isnt the problem he is trying to fix the problem u idiots
    im so sick of these republicans and the “rich”, we need a solution or a good compromise
    poor suffer while the rich prosper

    • OMG

      And you sir are an idiot.

    • go away!

      HOODATLS is just a spammer who has nothing to say other than place their link to some bull site…..

      Go away hoo! go play with your gang bang friends…..

  • Captain America

    Great to hear from you again, Citizen.

    My love is for our freedom, our state and our prosperity – tax and spend has never worked and never will. The next election will tell all.

    Have a good day.

  • Citizen

    @Captain America. You are in denial. Let’s remember our bet here. I bet the Democrats will win in a landslide (which will not necessarily make me happy since Obama has now raised $86 million dollars which is more than all the GOP candidates combined–he’s a better Rethuglican than they are!). Tax and spend has always worked–check out the history of the Eisenhower administration. If you are truly a Rethuglican, you understand that you have to pay for the wars you start. Bush never paid for them like Eisenhower did–by taxing the rich at 94%. Instead, Bush lowered taxes (fiscally irresponsible) and then used accounting tricks (I wonder where Pawlenty learned his?) to not include the cost of the wars in the budget–which, by the way, Obama inherited. Prosperity was a hall mark of the Eisenhower era–remember taxes on the rich at 94%. Read your history, Captain America.

    • Captain America

      It will be fun to see who wins in 2012, If a decent candidate is put forth by the Republicans and Obama continues to hinder our economy with regulation and proposed tax increases along with the high unemployment he will go down to defeat.

      Remember Reagan who even though he raised the payroll tax lowered the Corp tax rate and the individual tax rate and started an economic boom that created 20 million jobs that lasted into the Clinton years. Bush lowered tax rates and created 8 million jobs. Stimulate business and you will have prosperity.

      You tax at the higher rates as Eisenhower and you will get declining revenue as the rich will switch their income to areas of tax free bonds etc and there will be less investment in the economy.

      If Obama continues on with his idea of stimulus he will put us into a depression and it was proven by the actions of FDR in the great depression.

      We differ in our opinions but I’m sure we will chat after the election after the victor is chosen.

      Have a great day,

    • Norge

      While you were checking out the Eisenhower administration did you notice that employment skyrocketed after he deported 6.4 million illegal aliens who were taking up jobs and NOT paying taxes? Funny how you don’t have to ‘raise taxes’ just raise the tax-base…then you have money to spend in a balanced budget. Tax and spend in the liberal world means taking other-peoples earnings and still spend more then you have on public-trough feeders to they remain loyal voters. And thats a reality check for YOU!

    • Your OLD Citizen

      Only a DFL’er would cite the “Eisenhower era”.

      Proof DFL political views are out dated and based on “old” theories.

      Sorry Citizen, go use your CANE (did you catch that play on words? You’re OLD!) and point at Gen X and yell “get off my lawn”.

      • Citizen

        @Your OLD Citizen. Great movie. You missed the point, didn’t you.

  • Kirby

    What we need to do is reverse the effective tax rate of the middle class and the rich. Instead of the middle class paying 12.3% of their income and millionaires paying 10.3%…reverse it. Give the middle class the lower rate and you will see recovery, as it is the middle class that always drives recovery in this county. Why do republicans hate the middle class so much?

    • Free riders is not a motorcycle club

      @Kirby I don’t get this. If I pay 100% for a car because I worked hard and sacrificed to afford it but only you drive it and you didn’t sacrifice at all when given the choicee, how is that fair? In other words you pay no taxes but receive all the non essential services and I and my income class pay for 100% of the taxes and utilize none of the non essential services, how is that fair? We all came up in the same system but you sunk to the bottom due to lazyness and I rose to the top due to non-lazyness. I believe that is called a free ride. Free riders are and should be viewed as the what I step in at the dog park on the bottom of my shoe. Until the stigma is replace on the lazy class of folks, I’m not seeing how this gets resolved.

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