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Senate budget does not include surcharge

ST. PAUL - Senate Democrats would not go as far as their House colleague in raising taxes in a budget framework they announced this morning.

The House proposal calls for a surcharge on Minnesota’s richest of the rich as well as raising taxes on couples earning more than $250,000 in taxable income a year, the Senate plan apparently only includes the permanent increase, not the surcharge.

The Senate plan does include more extensive property tax relief than the House or Gov. Mark Dayton.

The Senate plan calls for increasing spending $1.4 billion, with $486 million for public school education the biggest boost, followed by $262 million for higher education.

It also would spend $463 million in additional aid to local governments and tax credits to help reduce property taxes.

The plan also would cut $152 million from health and human services programs.

“Our budget is built around some fairly simple priorities that I think reflect those of most Minnesotans,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said. “Investing in our kids’ education is crucial to our state’s future, and property tax relief can’t come soon enough for Minnesota families.”

The outline senators released sets targets for committees that will draw up budget specifics.

Targets released by the Senate today and the House Tuesday mean budget committees can begin to make progress toward writing budgets that are expected to reach the full Senate and House late next month. The two of them and the Dayton budget must be merged and the final two-year budget pass by May 20.

Dayton said he does not support the House surcharge proposal, but said that in general, the three plans are close.

This is the first time in more than two decades that the governor’s office, House and Senate have been controlled by Democrats.

Don Davis, Forum News Service