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MN Governor 'Very Likely' To Propose Tax Increase

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says he is "very likely" to propose an income tax increase on Minnesota's top 2 percent earners as part of a plan to cover a projected $1.1 billion deficit in the state's budget. However, he said he was not ready to offer specifics Wednesday since the numbers were just released a few hours earlier by by Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter.  Governor Dayton said fiscally irresponsible budgets from the past two years that used accounting shifts to cover the deficits were responsible for the new deficit. He promised no more "gimmicks" to solve this year's budget problem. 
 
Governor Dayton noted that the wealthiest Minnesotans are paying much less in income taxes than they were 20 years ago. Governor Dayton's statement on the budget deficit: "We're done with the gimmicks, we're done with the games. And I would just point out, and the commissioner can articulate this better than I, but you know, we will see an attempt to compare this year's biennium with last years in terms both of revenue and spending -- and it's not a valid comparison because of the shifts, nor is it a valid comparison with the biennium before. So, some will try to say all of this is a 4.7 percent increase in spending. Well, it's not, its not an accurate comparison. You need that comparison. So the gimmicks have really muddied up the issue for everyone. And they said, the reason that we're still paying off the school shift, which they instituted, and as a result the revenues, the additional revenues that we gain for this biennium will not carry forward into the next biennium, which puts us further behind in the next biennium. Capitol renovations totally avoided. "There is just a lot of avoidance, and a lot of gimmicks, and a lot of unwillingness to take responsibility for the situation that faced them at that moment in time. And we are not going to perpetuate that. We're going to make tough decisions, there will be unpopular decisions, there will be hard decisions, but that's what we're going to do."
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