Gov. Mark Dayton's budget plan, presented Tuesday, is vastly different from budgets proposed in the past eight years by his predecessor. While Tim Pawlenty never proposed an increase in income taxes, Dayton is proposing $2.8 billion in new taxes on the top five percent of income earners, setting up a new tax bracket for single filers making $130,000 or more, or couples making $150,000 or more. He would also put a three-year surtax on those earning over half a million a year.
Republican lawmakers are, as expected, repulsed by the idea of raising taxes - at least raising income taxes. They never seem to have a concern over the effect the "no tax increase" and the slashing of Local Government Aid to cities has on the property taxes people pay. After all, legislators don't set the property tax levy directly.
Dayton's budget plan proposes fully funding the Local Government Aid to protect the property tax payer. That would be welcome news to local units of government that have scrambled to cut budgets, reduced services and raised tax levies to make up for funds they had been expecting.
We've said it before, this is shaping up to be another bruising budget battle in the State Capitol. Dayton was elected after promising he would balance the budget with more taxes levied on those best able to pay. His budget proposal is a reflection of that. Republicans are as committed as ever to holding the line on income tax. Let the battle begin.