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Dayton's Tax Plan Stirs Readers' Debate

More than 100 reader comments have been made since governor's plan unveiled last week.

When Gov. Mark Dayton last week unveiled a proposed state budget and tax plan that would, among other things, lower Minnesota's sales tax from 6.875 percent to 5.5 percent, the plan sparked a vigorous debate among Patch readers.

Patch has had more than 100 reader comments on our story that asked people to take our poll, then share their thoughts on Dayton's tax and budget plan. Here's a sampling of some of the comments:

George P. Burdell:  A simplistic response to this comment would then be; Democrats want to clean out our wallets and institute socialisim... which really worked well for the USSR...hmmm.

Brad Koehn: I'll be curious to see if Minnesotans spend enough on clothing worth more than $100 to bring in $2B in revenue. I'm a bit skeptical of that part. The rest looks good.

Rob:  All I know is, my $500 clothing purchase will be five $100 clothing purchases from now on ;-)"

Chris Mau: 'My budget fix would take more than six months, BUT... We should allow the copper mining project up north. The environmental damage can be minimized (still some damage), but the economic impact outweighs that. Second, include a sales tax on all food, clothing, and services and reduce sales tax to 3.5%. Third, increase the gas tax and use that money the gas tax money to build more lanes in the metro area. Trafflic delays are discouraging business growth in the metro area.

Fourth, increase income tax rates to make up any shortfall after the three steps above. State income taxes are DEDUCTABLE, while sales tax isn't. If my state income taxes increase $300, I'm only going to pay $200 because I can deduct those taxes. If I pay the state in sales tax, I'm out the entire $300.

With the additional economic growth and the lower, but broader, tax base, I think I could balance the budget in 18 months (which is pretty good for a married parent)."

Susan: "Whatever you want to call it; extremism, partisan ideology, absolutism, or just plain old stubbornness, more and more Americans are expressing their disapproval. Each party has their idea of the perfect and absolute way the country should be run, thankfully one side will never have it's way entirely."

Eric: "In the end, this (Gov.'s plan) is a net tax increase. The governor is just playing a shell game shuffling things around to try to confuse and hide what it is, more money for greedy government, less for those who earned it."

To see the complete Patch post and all of the readers' comments, cllck on to this link.

To see a Patch story and UpTake video of Dayton's speech, click on this link.

steve d January 28, 2013 at 03:30 PM
How about we quit spending more than we have. Our counties spend a large portion of our county tax dollars on lobbying firms to go to Washington to try to get more tax dollars from the federal government to spend on our counties. Does this make snese to anyone?
Scott Carlson January 28, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Anyone know if Steve is right? Yes, I am guessing that the counties spend a significant amount of money on lobbying or "government relations." But I can't imagine that it amounts to a very large percentage in the total county budget.
Luke January 29, 2013 at 06:00 AM
Ramsey County spent $30,000 and Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority spent $20,000 on lobbying the federal government between 2006 and 2010. State lobbying is a bigger amount ranging from $121,000 in 2005 to $288,000 in 2006. It usually is around $140,000 per year. To put in perspective, the total budget for Ramsey County was $585 million in 2011. That's about .02% of the yearly budget on lobbying. Not a lot of money when you think that 27% of the revenue is from the state or federal government. Much of what the county does is dependent on grants and intergovernmental funds and lobbying is what ensures the money keeps coming. I served on a city commission for years and much of our budget was grants and earmarks. Yes, we spent money and staff time on lobbying but because we needed to. I'm now in college and I regularly engage in "lobbying" for different organizations I work with. Somehow the government needs to now where to spend money.
Mark Daleiden January 29, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Counties use a group called AMC (Associations of MN Counties) This group works to make sure that the laws that are passed do not require the counties to put out more money than they have. There are a lot of mandates the State passes down from Federal laws. Counties do not lobby for more money, just for the money that is needed to fund the mandates. I am currently working on a project to find out exactly how many of those mandates exist. Stay tuned for more info when I have that. One of the items they are lobbying for is call the Magic (Minnesota Accountable Government Innovation and Collaboration) Act. This will allow the counties to provide services to their residents based on what works well in their particular county. Current laws says the way it needs to be implemented is the same in Hennepin County and small rural counties. What works in the big cities does not necessarily work in the rural areas. But at this point counties hands are tied on the way services are provided.
jim January 31, 2013 at 04:45 AM
Just thank a Democrat and those who voted them into office. They will own all of this big tax grab on their own.
Al Anderson January 31, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Mark Thanks for the work involved in obtaining what the state/federal mandates are for Wright County. I would appreciate this information being made available to the Wright County public after you've completed. If possible, would like to get a rough estimate what each of those mandates (funded or unfunded) cost the county taxpayer. Glad you are on the Wright County Board and appreciate your initial efforts.
Daryl Fryxell February 04, 2013 at 10:11 PM
The state, counties and cities have an addiction to spending. That has to end. In addition, there are numerous other unelected and unaccountable governmental bodies that should not even exist, ie. the Met Council and Ramsey County Railroad Authority. Those groups eat tax dollars faster than a cop eats donuts. They need to abolished. NOW. When will see anyone run for office that has the guts to advocate abolishing these unconstitutional power grab agencies?
Daryl Fryxell February 04, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Hey, Mr. Dayton, remember during the so-called "shut down" you declared essential and non-essential functions and employees? Just cancel all non-essential services today. You told us they were non-essential. It wasn't my call. Since you deem them non-essential, just cut them all. You'd be a hero because you could cut everyone's taxes, too. Oh, but you're too stupid and beholden to the government unions to ever take such a common sense approach.

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