ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton will travel the state starting this week to make the case for his budget, beginning with a town hall meeting Wednesday in Duluth, his office announced Sunday.
The events are free and open to the public. Additional dates and sites will be announced later. The Duluth event will be held at 6 p.m. in the Public Safety Building at 2030 N. Arlington Ave.
Dayton’s office said in a statement Sunday that the events are an effort to engage Minnesotans about his proposed spending increases on education, economic development and local government aid.
The updated two-year budget plan Dayton released Thursday leans heavily on a new income tax rate levied on the top 2 percent of annual earners to raise an additional $1.1 billion in the next two years from an estimated 54,000 filers. The money would help erase a $627 million budget shortfall, bolster preschool through college education and stock up loan and grant funds for business expansions.
In all, the Democratic governor is seeking more than $1.8 billion in previously proposed new taxes, including a higher cigarette tax and extra burdens on Minnesota companies that can now shield profits they make overseas. But he officially ditched an unpopular sales tax expansion proposal after a new economic forecast trimmed Minnesota’s projected deficit by more than 40 percent from what was expected when he issued his original budget proposal in January.
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