by Jim Boyle
Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, headed out on spring break this past weekend with Gov. Mark Dayton’s updated budget proposal on her mind.
Although the governor pulled the plug March 14 on a controversial sales tax proposal to increase revenue through an expansion of sales tax to new goods and services, as well as a host of business-to-business services, this has done little to settle Kiffmeyer’s nerves on a host of other proposed taxes and fees.
“I want to focus on what will encourage an economic recovery,” she said. “Raising taxes will not.”
The governor’s tax increase plan still counts on his original proposal to create a new 9.85 percent top tier in the income tax, a $0.94 per pack cigarette tax increase, a “snowbird” tax on part-year residents that hits seniors the hardest and corporate tax increases.
“These tax increases are fueling unnecessary spending and counter-productive to economic recovery,” Kiffmeyer stated in a press release.
Next week, DFL leaders are expected to release their budget “targets” that will set the framework for the blizzard of budget and tax bills yet to be voted on in both the Senate and House.
Kiffmeyer said her plan is to go back the Capitol and ask tough questions of her DFL colleagues.
“I am committed to working with all interested parties on holding the line on government spending and creating an environment for job growth,” she said.
Kiffmeyer places a lot of stock in the most recent budget forecast that Republicans had it right living within the state’s means.
The latest projections show a projected deficit of $627 million for the next two-year budget, which is down from a projected budget deficit of $1.1 billion.
“Just to be clear, the ‘deficit’ is a reduction of the increase, not a reduction from the current spending of $35.1 billion,” Kiffmeyer said, noting revenues have actually increased for this next budget cycle by more than $1 billion “That is nearly 2.8 percent more than we are currently spending. I think that is enough of an increase in the next state budget.”
In addition to the projection of $1 billion in new revenue, the governor’s plan calls for $1.8 billion in additional new taxes.