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Rep. Bob Dettmer Reacts to Gov. Mark Dayton's Budget Proposal

Dettmer discusses Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal.

Editor’s Note: The following is a news release from Rep. Bob Dettmer’s (R-Forest Lake). Dettmer represents the Stillwater area in Minnesota House District 39A.

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Governor Mark Dayton announced his two-year budget proposal on Tuesday which outlines his ideas for taxes and spending for the 2014-2015 biennium.

After announcing his plans to the Minnesota press, Dayton met with key stakeholders and then state lawmakers. Included in the plans are: a new higher income tax rate, a revised and expanded state clothing tax (removing exemptions for clothing and services), and new sales taxes on tobacco and for transit services.

Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) reviewed the budget and thanked Dayton for meeting with GOP lawmakers on Tuesday and listening to their concerns.

“I appreciate the time Gov. Dayton spent with my Republican colleagues and me on Tuesday explaining his budget plan and taking our questions,” Dettmer said. “While I disagree with the approach the Governor is taking to balance the budget, I look forward to a thoughtful and productive discussion about how we can protect the middle class from further tax increases and provide good services to the people of our state.”

The Governor’s complete proposal can be found online through the Minnesota Dept. of Management and Budget (MMB) and calls for nearly $38 billion in total spending during the next biennium, a 7.6% increase over the current two-year budget cycle. The plan also raises taxes on Minnesotans by $3.7 billion while only cutting $225 million in spending. This is the largest tax increase ever proposed by a Minnesota governor.

“It is not in the best interest of Minnesotans to raise taxes during a time of economic recovery and rapidly grow the size of government to levels we cannot sustain,” Dettmer added. “The sales tax expansion and income tax rate increases would hit all Minnesota families and businesses, whether it’s a new winter coat, an oil change, or getting your taxes done; we will all be impacted by these new taxes.”

Gov. Dayton and Rep. Dettmer may be able to work together on education funding formula reform that could benefit school districts in District 39A. On Monday, Jan. 21, Dettmer met with local education leaders in Forest Lake to hear their concerns about the current state aid formula that benefits cities with a higher tax base such as Minneapolis, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Dayton’s plan would increase K-12 education funding overall but delays repaying shifted aid already owed to schools until 2017.

While Dayton’s plan calls for a $500 homeowner property tax rebate, the ratio of spending cuts to new tax revenue is far from even. Dettmer believes there is room to bring more balance to the budget and questions the practice of providing more transit tax funding to the Metropolitan Council.

“If we approve the Governor’s budget as proposed, state government will only cut spending by one dollar for every 15 or 16 dollars we grow,” a ratio he believes to be unbalanced. “I consider the new transit tax to be taxation without representation; it will fund more bus and rail projects by the Met Council – a group of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.”

Dettmer and his colleagues in the Legislature now begin a lengthy process of studying the budget options in various committees and developing a plan that will ultimately move forward later this spring.

Representative Bob Dettmer can be reached by phone at (651) 296-4124. He can also be contacted via e-mail atrep.bob.dettmer@house.mn, or via U.S. Mail at 279 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.

Randy Marsh January 25, 2013 at 05:42 AM
I don't have a big problem with anything he states here, especially with regard to the Met Council. I do get the feeling that Dayton has just thrown out some bigger numbers than he actually wants or expects the legislature to agree with, but he will certainly want to look like he's compromising when the numbers come in a little lower and it will also allow the DFL legislators to save face with their constituency once they pick away at it for a while. I'd like to think Dayton and the democrats are smart enough to realize that just because they can doesn't mean they should. Payback is a bitch, afterall, and two years is not that far away.
Karen M January 25, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Well stated, Representative Dettmer. Thank you for pointing out that these tax increases hurt people like me (struggling middle class) the most. While incomes have remained flat and prices increasing, the last thing we need is to give more of our dwindling resources to St. Paul to spend on growing programs across the board. Thank you for being a voice for us!
Markus January 26, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Only in government does $35 billion-$225 million=38 billion. The readers should be reminded when politicians speak of cuts, they're talking about decreases in planned increases. Rep Dettmer should be lauded for opposing any tax increases and any more power given to the Met Council. Good luck with the "thoughtful and productive discussion" though. Now that the Republicans have marginalized themselves as a party and achieved minority status, why would the Democrats care what they think when they have unilateral power? The difference between Republicans and Democrats is the Democrats take advantage of their power when they have it instead of squandering it like the Republicans did last session. If the Republicans would have focused on real issues rather than constitutional amendment fights and a new Vikings stadium, maybe things would have turned out differently for them (and us). Maybe they should ask Wisconsin Republicans for some advice. Once again because of the follies of the Republicans, we will have to pay more to fund the insatiable moocher class who are hell bent on driving productive citizens out of Minnesota.
Randy Marsh January 26, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Markus, I hope you'll also apply your formula to the mantra conservatives have been pushing about tax breaks for the wealthy and suggesting it actually creates enough jobs to make up the difference. I don't think the evidence is there, either. This was Dayton's opening offer and even with the power to do what they want, I don't believe the DFL will ram this down the throats without several changes.
Susan January 27, 2013 at 02:43 PM
How on earth can the Republicans, with a straight face, rail against this budget proposal because of the tax increases yet completely ignore the tax cuts, especially the corporate tax cut? For years companies have run from Minnesota, taking all their jobs with them, because of the corporate tax rate in this state. This is a good thing for Minnesota jobs (a Republican talking point), yet they remain silent on the issue. Yes, it is definitely too much spending and I want to see it cut, but we also need to look at items that will help our state and it's employers and citizens. Shame on the partisan leaders who only care about their sound bites. Yes, this proposal has items that both sides disagree with AND items that both sides agree with, I don't think it can get much better than that, especially considering that our state government is very one-sided right now.

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