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Letter: Dayton's proposal should get budget process going

To the editor:

The folks of District 10B sent me to St. Paul to help people get back to work, get our small businesses going again and get a handle on government spending.

Gov. Mark Dayton's recently unveiled budget plan seems to go against all three of those areas. He proposes a state record $4 billion in new taxes to increase our spending by 22 percent and make Minnesota the highest income-tax state in the nation. We have a $6.2 billion budget shortfall to erase at a time everyone is tightening their belt.

Yet the governor's plan calls for taxpayers to pay for billions more in government spending.

Gov. Dayton would give Minnesota the nation's highest income-tax bracket through the creation of two new tiers, including one at a whopping 13.95 percent. For perspective, that's nearly 3 percent than the nation's current highest tax. The governor's second new tier is a 10.95 percent bracket for joint/married filers earning $150,000 a year, or singles who earn $85,000.

We expect to have $32 billion in state revenue over the next two years, a 5 percent increase over the current budget cycle. That is what the state is bringing in, and that should be the high end of where we set our budget target. Families and businesses everywhere have been making do with flat or reduced revenue, so government can do just fine with a 5 percent increase. All the tax hikes in the world won't get us back on track until we fix our structural spending flaw and that is where our focus should be.

The good thing is the governor's proposal will help get the budget process going. I am confident that through negotiations we will come away with a plan that will look a whole lot more like what Minnesotans want.

Rep. Mark Murdock