ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to raise income taxes on the state’s top earners caused an outbreak of political scuffling at the Capitol Thursday, with Republicans bringing the plan to House and Senate votes that the Democratic governor blasted as political game-playing.

The income tax increase, which would bring in an estimated $2.4 billion and which Dayton has proposed to help eliminate a $5 billion state budget shortfall, failed unanimously in the House of Representatives and mustered only a single vote in the Senate. Republicans voted no because they say income tax increases would damage job growth and the state’s economy; Democrats voted no at the urging of Dayton himself, who said his proposal is not finalized and deserves public testimony and committee debate.

Republicans said they wanted floor debates on Dayton’s plan because the legislative session is passing quickly and that it was important to debate a plan that would create a fourth income tax bracket on top earners. Republicans control both legislative chambers, making approval of Dayton’s proposal very unlikely.

Dayton, who campaigned on raising income taxes on the wealthy, has proposed eliminating an estimated $2.4 billion of the budget shortfall by increasing taxes from the current 7.85 percent to 10.95 percent for single filers who make above $85,000 and couples who make more than $150,000.

Republicans have not yet proposed their own plan to eliminate the projected $5 billion gap between state revenue and spending obligations, which Democrats charged made their criticism of Dayton’s plan hypocritical. But the party united in opposition to Dayton’s favored approach, arguing it would be terrible for Minnesota businesses.

“This would be a terrible mistake,” said Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen. “You can’t tax your way out of economic recession.”

The Senate voted 63-1 against Dayton’s proposals, with only Democratic Sen. David Tomassoni voting in favor. The House voted against it unanimously, 131-0. But that was after Dayton sent a letter to Senate and House Democratic leaders urging them to vote no and to decline to participate in what he called “juvenile political theater.”

“I’m starting to feel like back when I was teaching 9th graders.” Dayton told reporters Thursday. “Recess is over. Time to stop playing games. Time to get to work.”

Republicans have vowed to eliminate the shortfall without tax increases and solely by cuts to and limits on state spending. They say their budget proposal should be ready by March 25.

“The governor has put forward a proposal to solve this problem with huge tax increases,” said House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood. “We are going to put forward a proposal to solve it by funding our priorities within our means.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (37)
  1. Jon says:

    You have to cut spending AND raise taxes. No way around it morons.

  2. shamoo says:

    so hows that working for you dayton boy.????

  3. fitswell says:

    Dayton what a joke!!!!

  4. oldgentleman says:

    Wisconsin gave us a template for a cuts-only budget. The Republicans need to decide whether solving the shortfall by cuts 1/3 in Education, 1/3 in Human Services and 1/3 to undo all the good the Democrats did under Pawlenty will do the trick in Minnesota. At least here, it will get vetoed.

  5. Dave says:

    “Raise Taxes On The Rich”. It’s broken record. For 100 years it is the first thing any Democratic Candidate learns to say, and in 100 years it has never worked. The Rich move their money, hide their money, but very seldom pay more taxes. California based their tax system on taxing the rich. So the rich left the state. Today they are a whole lot short on rich to tax and deep in debt. Wake up, if you should succeed in taxing the rich, they will only pass it on to you in increased costs at the store.

    1. Overtaxed middle class guy says:

      The rich left the state?? For where?? South Dakota?? Methinks you are a tad delusional, Dave.

      1. SW MN guy says:

        Check out the SD cities of Brandon, Sioux Falls, Brookings and Watertown on the southwest border of Minnesota. They are prospering with a great many former Minnesota companies that now call South Dakota their home. Listen to South Dakota radio ads running on Minnesota radio including twin cities stations. They are openly poking fun at Minnesota and urging businesses to move to a business friendly state.

    2. Mike says:

      Raising taxes worked for the first two Republican caused depressions.

      1. william says:

        More than 2 Republican caused depression since 1860.

    3. Bo Diddly says:

      “Cut taxes” its all the pea brained republicans hear since they were raised from birth from their just as dumb parents… They also hear other things like the world is only 3000 years old and the baby jealous is gonna’ come back and rescue them.

      So silly those republicans.

      Its funny watching them being played by big boys like the Koch brothers, et al…

  6. Brad says:

    Well thank god for that, I was worried that I wouldn’t have to avoid the potholes in my neighborhood anymore. Good thinkg I still get to drive on my neighbor’s yard like a good and proper MN’n.

    But seriously, for those making over $100k per year (likely not a single reader/poster for this story), is 3 lousy cents per dollar over $85k really too much to give up to keep MN the state we love and call home? Didn’t think so, enjoy Winnipeg!

    1. Hmm says:

      The same can be said for people making even $20,000 a year. Who is going to miss an extra quarter per paycheck if we just raised taxes across the board. A quarter is found on the street every day but at the state level it would be a huge amount.

      1. Brad says:

        Your assertion that 25 cents to a person making $20k is the same as 3 cents to someone making $85k is both laughable and frightening. If Rush and Jason truly have you thinking like this, there really is no hope for you.

      2. Matt says:


        Should those making over $100K come over to your house and mow your lawn once a week because they make more than you? How it is “fair” which is what I thought the Left was all about, to punish someone for being successful.

        Personally I think we should strip out the deductions and flatten the tax rate. If you make $100K and we have a 5% take rate you pay $5K if you make $20K then you pay $1000. Simple and fair. Then if we have a deficit you have a simple choice to raise taxes across the board or not at all.

  7. Val Jackson says:

    Where’s your budget plan, GOP? Can’t wait to find out how you close the $5 billion gap without generating new revenue. Until you release your numbers, it might be helpful to keep the criticism to a minimum!

    1. Middle class guy says:

      True that, Val!!!

    2. Matt says:

      Don’t you remember Dayton veto’d the GOP’s plan to cut $1B from the budget. It’s pretty easy to just spend spend spend, it’s much more difficult to actually solve a problem

      1. Ralph says:

        How does no funding solve taking of the elderly and disabled that are on money from the state? Go to a small town nursing home and ask the staff how much they get paid. Ask the administrator if they are breaking even. How does no funding solve the problems of mandated education with no funding, Go visit a special ed class, see what they do. How does no funding solve paying for the acute care that is mandated to be done by a hospital with no funding? 25% of the budget of safety net hospitals are charity care. Our bills could be smaller. Please Matt, come up with the answers. Your ilk likes to complain about the taxes but does not appear to know where the money goes or have a solution.

      2. Wesly says:

        The republicans haven’t offered a solution to solve the mandated problems

    3. SW MN guy says:

      Cut, cut, cut— It is coming Val!

  8. WHAT????? says:

    Don’t tell them to stop with the trash talking. It will be soooooo much more fun to be able to do the “I told you so” when the time comes if they keep talking like they know what is going on now. I say let the slander fly as there are no new ideas or complaints that people have posted for the GOP side. Keep the guns oiled and Fox news on and keep it coming, this is making me laugh.

  9. Kevin says:

    I love his bobble eyes…I swear to God he looks like the Mel Brooks polititian on blazing saddles…..cracks me up

  10. John H says:

    I see the liberal CBS doesn’t like to here the truth, they wouldn’t let my comment through.

    1. Fred says:

      Is truth the same as what is on the cover of the Enquirer?

  11. John H says:

    I think we should tax the heck out of CBS.

  12. Stephan Walker says:

    Stop coddling the the recipiants of social services. This is the #1 waste of my taxes. Make em get off the wefare role and do something, anything, maybe fill a pot hole for food stamps.

    1. Markie says:

      How much you pay in taxes? Bet not much, LOL!

      You sound like a true genius!

    2. LoveItOrLeaveIt says:

      So the 85 yo Grandma should be filling potholes? WOW1 Just WOW!!!

  13. John H says:

    heres another Idea how about tax the Dayton family’s money in South Dakota.

    1. Stephan Walker says:

      Why would Dayton have $$ in South Dakota and try to place laws in Minnesota in regard to $$…? I have think about his plan…

  14. HELPER says:

    Scott Walker was expelled from college for cheating. He doesn’t even have a college degree!

    Explains lots of things!

  15. Tom says:

    Imagine that. I wonder what their budget plan will be? It won’t be a shocker i know that..

  16. RIII says:

    They should raise taxes on Union members.

  17. LoveItOrLeaveIt says:

    Typical Republicans! Say “NO” to every suggestion that doesn’t come from them — but — have no plans of their own! The Republicans in Washington haven’t come up with their plan to cut the 100B that they campaigned on, either. Why shouldn’t we be surprised when Republicans fall short at the State level, too??!!

    1. Matt says:

      EVERY SINGLE DEMOCRAT EXCEPT 1 also voted against it.

  18. Matt says:

    Dayton wants to increase general fund spending by 23%? how is that a reasonable solution? If we kept spending flat like the rest of the private world we wouldn’t even have a budget deficit to deal with.

    Minnesota needs to cut, Colorado which is roughly the same size as MN spends 33% less annually to run the state. WI which has a higher population has a lower budget and Governor Walker is being ripped on for cutting their spending.

    Fortunately even those on the left see how bad of an idea this is, when you only get 1 vote in your favor you might be a little off base.

    1. Lib in Eagan says:

      If you took just a little more time to learn the specifics of the politics involved in adding this amendment to an existing tax reform bill, you would know why the democrats voted no. Still no budget from GOP, but they obviously have the time to play these games! Get to work… we’re waiting!

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