The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 22, 2013

Area legislators’ reaction to Dayton's proposal largely partisan



“As long as the governor is at the helm, that will not get lost,” Sheran said after she and other legislative DFLers met with Dayton. “No more doing operations of the state on a credit card. ... The governor simply will not support anything that comes to his desk that violates that principle.”

Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Lake Hanska, was preparing to join fellow Republicans in a meeting with Dayton Tuesday night to hear details of the budget plan.

Torkelson said he could potentially support Dayton’s proposal to extend the state’s sales tax to Internet purchases.

“Of all the sales tax changes, that’s the one I find least unpleasant,” said Torkelson, saying that the tax is owed, but not collected, and would give Main Street retailers a more level playing field with on-line retailers.

But the other tax hikes — a cigarette tax increase, a higher income tax rate on incomes over $150,000 and married couple incomes above $250,000, sales taxes extended to services and to clothing items priced at $100 or more — are likely to face strong opposition from Republicans, according to Torkelson. He was also surprised the governor didn’t do more to simply the state’s exceedingly complex tax system as part of the proposed tax reform.

And while Republicans don’t have the numbers to block legislation in the House or Senate, he expects Democrats will ultimately balk at many of the tax increases.

“Frankly, I don’t think the Democratic majorities are going to be able to swallow them wholesale,” he said. “... We’ll see what we end up with in the end.”

The governor’s office, however, is already on offense in persuading regions of the state that the tax package and spending priorities would be a net positive for the vast majority of Minnesotans.

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