Gov. Dayton mulls tweaks to budget proposal after new outlook

Published 10:18 am Tuesday, March 5, 2013

By Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio News

After insisting that Minnesota needs to implement higher income taxes on the wealthy, a broader-based sales tax and a tax on business services, Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that the state’s improved financial picture will allow him to go back to the drawing board and perhaps curtail some of his proposals.

State officials announced last week that the projected budget deficit lawmakers must solve this session has shrunk 40 percent to $627 million, down from the November estimate of $1.1 billion.

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Appearing on the MPR News program The Daily Circuit on Monday, the governor said the $463 million improvement could provide an opportunity for modifications in his budget, which relies on more than $1 billion in higher income taxes for the state’s top earners and more than $2 billion from expanded sales taxes.

However, Dayton stuck to his assertions of recent months that his proposals would make businesses and the wealthy pay more of their “fair share” of taxes and ensure that average Minnesotans pay less. The governor said he hasn’t done a good enough job selling his tax plan, which includes a $500 property tax rebate.

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