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House minority leader: DFL’ers hurting economy

Published 10:10am Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said Monday he thinks the DFL budget proposal presented last week will hurt the state’s economy and essentially tax job creators.

In addition to Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to increase taxes on the top 2 percent of Minnesotans, the House DFL budget proposed a temporary tax surcharge on the top 1 percent of the state, or people making $500,000 or more. The surcharge would go to pay off the state’s $800 million debt to schools.

“We think that’s the wrong move right now,” said Daudt, R-Crown. “It makes Minnesota less competitive.”

Daudt and Reps. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, and Peggy Scott, R-Andover, stopped at the Tribune Monday to talk about the budget and other state issues during what is a week-long break from the Legislature.

House DFL Majority Leader Erin Murphy and District 27A Rep. Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, are slated to stop by the Tribune today.

Daudt said the DFL budget proposal would hurt Minnesota businesses who file taxes through their owners’ personal income returns.

“People who will struggle from it are hard-working Minnesota families,” he said.

Instead, he said, legislators need to continue to let the economy grow and naturally recover.

“Just have more patience and we’ll get there,” Daudt said.

He also noted that often temporary surcharges end up being permanent.

The discussion comes as the Legislature seeks ways to overcome an estimated $627 million state deficit.

 

Gun control

Daudt, Woodard and Scott said they don’t think there are enough votes to make any major changes to gun control in the state.

Daudt said gun control issues divide legislators and he thinks the state should instead be focused on issues that can bring the Legislature together.

Woodard said he thinks the gun control discussion is being driven by Democrats from the metropolitan area, so much so that the issue has become less partisan and more about rural versus metro differences. He said rural DFL legislators often differ from urban ones on the issue of guns.

Scott said the emails she receives are 100 to 2 against restricting gun rights.

 

Transportation

Daudt said roads and bridges are one of the core functions of state government, and in the last six to eight years, the state has gone away from making them a priority.

Instead it has focused too much of its money on projects such as transit that are more metro focused.

“We think the priorities are misplaced,” Daudt said.

 

Local government aid

Daudt said he thinks with the Legislature freezing local government aid at 2010 levels, the answer to helping local governments will come with cutting some of the unfunded mandates.

That way city and county leaders will know what to expect of local government aid in the future.

 

Compromise

Scott said she thinks DFL leaders are overreaching with their priorities this session.

“I’m eager to make a case with Minnesotans on why we think our policies are better,” Daudt said.

He said since the DFL has gained control of the Legislature, he does not think they leaders have showed they are willing to compromise.

 

Same-sex marriage

Daudt said a referendum on the issue would divide Minnesota at a time when other matters were more pressing.