Posted at 9:45 AM on July 15, 2011
by Paul Tosto
State Senate DFL Leader Tom Bakk savaged the proposed budget deal between Republican leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton, calling it a "totally irresponsible solution" to the state's finances.
"I don't plan on voting for a borrowing proposal," Bakk said on MPR's Midmorning program.
The deal is essentially the Republican plan for 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.
Bakk gave credit to Dayton for his work to end the state government shutdown. But he was incredulous at the idea of holding back K12 education funds "and saying, 'well the next legislature that gets elected after 2012 will pay you back.'"
Interestingly, Bakk also said that he was not in the room during the final negotiations. He'd been a key player for weeks with Dayton pressing DFL positions. But he told MPR's Kerri Miller that he pulled out "when it looked like it was going to be a borrowing deal."
Bakk, Dayton and other DFLers had pushed for an additional tax on Minnesotans earning more than $1 million a year. Republicans rejected the idea as a potential jobs killer, hurting high income people who create jobs in the state.
Bakk, though, said his research showed that would not have been the case. He said of the 7,700 Minnesota tax filers earning more than $1 million, only about half lived in Minnesota with the rest simply having taxable investments here.
Among the millionaires living in the state, "next to none our business owners," he said. "Business owners reinvest in their business, so they don't have high tax liability. To say that they're 'job killing tax increases,' there is no study, no data to back that up."
While it's likely that few if any legislative Democrats vote for the compromise, Republican leaders say their majorities hold enough votes to pass it.
Click on the play button below to listen to the program:
Governor Dayton is simply too nice a guy. He's spent his whole life working for people who weren't born with his privileges - from teaching in a ghetto school to a long career in public office. When faced with the burden of keeping people out of work - though Republicans felt no such compunctions and haven't in this state for many years - he couldn't let the bleeding continue.
I've wondered during this agonizing year just who were Dayton's friends. Who was supporting and backing him up? Frankly, the DFL movers and shakers have not seemed worth much, certainly not the likes of Vance Opperman who was quick to say he wanted to keep his coffers overflowing. How much did the most vociferous liberals actually help the governor? Bakk and Greiling and all the others who are now kvetching failed to help this good man nearly as much as they should have. Now's the time to stand with him. When the deal is done, they can start truly working to oust these aliens from our state government.