Reporting Holly Wagner
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – In his third “State of the State” address Wednesday night at the State Capitol, Gov. Dayton focused mainly on the budget, but he did throw in one surprise.
He gave his biggest statement yet in support of legalizing gay marriage.
“I want Minnesota to be a state which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you live,” Dayton said.
Dayton stopped short of demanding a gay marriage bill on his desk, but after the speech, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said a bill could start moving at the Capitol in April. Republicans, who lost control of the legislature in November, say gay marriage should take a back seat to the state budget.
And they are not happy with his plans to change taxes.
“Three-and-a-half billion dollars in new taxes is not warranted. These are sales taxes that are going to hit everybody. Taxes on clothing, taxes on lunch meat, taxes on haircuts, taxes on services, these things are going to affect everybody,” said Sen. David Hann. “There’s a local department store that says expect more, pay less. The Governor is talking about pay more, expect less.”
Gov. Dayton defended his budget, saying past state and federal income tax cuts were bad for the economy. His proposal includes income tax hikes on the wealthy and a broader state sales tax to help fund spending on schools, colleges and other programs.