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Oakdale Lawmakers Say Governor’s Budget a 'Step in Right Direction'

Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled his budget proposal Tuesday.

Oakdale's DFL legislators, part of a new majority at the Capitol, say the governor’s proposed budget is a good starting point.

Dayton on Tuesday unveiled a proposed state budget and tax plan that would, among other things, lower Minnesota’s sales tax but broaden it to cover more items such as higher-priced clothing, car repairs and other services. He says it would also eliminate the state’s $1.1 billion budget deficit and balance government spending and revenue over the next two fiscal years.

Sen. Susan Kent, who represents portions of Oakdale, viewed the governor’s proposal as a positive first step, noting in particular lower property taxes and a bump in education funding.

“I appreciate the Governor’s work and leadership as we begin to solve Minnesota’s perpetual budget problems in a sustainable way,” Kent said in a statement. “The Governor has proposed an ambitious budget. It will require further inspection and discussion to ensure the final outcome is in the best interests of our district and state.” 

Rep. JoAnn Ward, who represents parts of Oakdale, said the governor’s proposal is “a good starting point for our work on solving the budget deficit and structurally balancing the budget to prevent future borrowing, shifts and gimmicks.”

Dayton’s proposal calls for an additional $340 million for the state’s education system.

“Minnesota has always been a leader in education and it’s time we invest in our schools again,” Ward said in a statement. “After years of growing class sizes, funding cuts and spending shifts, I look forward to working on ways to improve education, including early childhood education, K-12, college and vocational training.”

Sen. Chuck Wiger, a co-author of a bill to fund all-day kindergarten programs in Minnesota schools, said in a statement that Dayton was taking "bold steps in his education budget proposal." 

"We have a lot of work to do, but I look forward to a bipartisan discussion with the Governor and our colleagues to make the investments that will prepare our students for colleges and careers, and strengthen our state’s workforce," Wiger said in a statement. 

Kent said Minnesota’s current system of generating revenue is unsustainable.

“Our property taxes have been too high and just keep climbing,” she said. “We need to find a more stable revenue stream so we can make the investments we need in education and infrastructure, which are keys to the state’s economic future.” 

Some of the governor’s other proposals, via House Information Services, include:

  • Reducing the corporate tax rate from 9.8 percent to 8.4 percent, dropping Minnesota’s rate from fourth to 12th highest in the nation;
  • raising the cigarette tax 94 cents per pack;
  • extending the sales tax to clothing costing more than $100;
  • increasing local government aid $80 million a year and county program aid $40 million per year; and
  • increasing funding for special education by $125 million.

 

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