Posted at 12:14 PM on July 15, 2011
by Paul Tosto
Gov. Mark Dayton says he feels good about the budget deal he and Republican legislative leaders have agreed on and that if staffers finish the detail work by tonight, a special session could happen Monday to pass budget bills and end the state government shutdown.
Facing callers on MPR's Midday program, he said he decided to agree to the Republican no-taxes position with conditions after traveling to parts of Minnesota and hearing stories of people suffering because of the shutdown.
Even people who supported his position to tax millionaires told him, "we want this (shutdown) to end," he said.
"I didn't give in" to Republicans, he said, adding he got the higher level of spending he sought, got GOP leaders to agree to a $500 million bonding bill and to take social policy issues out of the budget debate. "My position came out very well."
The deal is essentially the Republican plan from two weeks ago with no new income taxes that closes the budget gap by withholding money from schools, about $2.1 billion, and borrowing against future revenues from the state tobacco settlement fund. It also contains several Dayton conditions, including a bonding bill of at least $500 million and no across-the-board cuts of state workers.
Earlier in the day, Senate DFL leader Tom Bakk blasted the deal for borrowing money and deferring billions to education to close the budget gap and said he would not be voting for it.
Dayton said he didn't like it either but it was preferable to an "all-cuts budget."
Borrowing, he said, isn't a responsible way to fund government. And while he agreed to the deal in negotiation, Dayton said he wouldn't vote for it either.
"Property taxes will go up in most of the state and that's the Republicans responsibility as well," he said.
Dayton said he would continue to raise the issue of raising taxes on Minnesota's top earners.
He said he also expects the issue of increasing gambling in the state to help fund government would also continue to come up in the future. Slot machines at the state's two horse racing tracks were considered but it was unclear if the votes were there and it faced a potential court challenge, Dayton added.
Dayton said he'd continue to seek higher taxes on the highest income earners "as long as I'm drawing breath...It's an essential part of making this society fairer."
He also said that the education spending bill will contain some kind of evaluation effort for teachers and principals but didn't elaborate.
Click on the play button below to hear Dayton's entire interview
The key question is who was harmed in this deal. Holding money back from our children's education appears to cause great harm to our most precious natural resource. For what? For the protection of a fair tax increase to the 7700 Minnesotans making over $1 million dollars, the vast majority accumulating wealth from investments, NOT from businesses, as purported by the Republicans.
All spiritual traditions stress moderation and compassion and warn against hoarding, greed, fear and ignoring the need to care for the less fortunate.
This was not a "just" deal and I'm deeply saddened by the harm that will come from this makeshift, short sighted band aid fix. The shut down was disruptive and painful for many, but it was a wake up call for many who claim we don't need government to care for one another. The Five Remembrances say we all will experience aging, sickness, the loss of our material possessions and relationships, and the surrender of our bodies. What we leave will be the results of our actions. I doubt there will be many who claim justice was done by stealing from our children so the extremely wealthy could become more wealthy.
Randy Johnson is correct (post previous to this one). We are borrowing against our children's schools and educations. How many parents already supply kleenex, reams of paper, and markers to our school rooms because the teachers are taking these supply costs our of their own pockets, or begging parents to help! I already pay the state with my taxes and property taxes to make available resources the schools need.
We hear all the time about how the kids in the US are not competing academicaly with other countries, and how does this move us closer to being able to compete. I am offeded as a state employee and parent and grandparent that the Democrats are willing to accept this proposal. The Republicans should also be embarrased about the added financial pressure they are placing on our school boards.
I commend Mark Dayton for the outstanding
leadership he displayed to end the shut down. We all know the deal is far from perfect.
No one likes it.
However this is the best he could get from the my way or the highway GOP
It is up to the people of Minnesota come next election to furnish a governing body that cares more about the quality of life in our state than the wallets of the select few.
And then with Dayton a more sustainable frame work can be reached