DFL spending targets due this weekby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — DFL legislative leaders say they plan to release their spending targets for the next two-year budget this week.
The figures will give the public the first glimpse of how much money the House and Senate want to spend on schools, health care and other state services. Committee chairs will then use those targets to start crafting their respective budgets.
Last week, Gov. Dayton released a revised budget plan that proposes increasing income taxes on top earners and raising the cigarette tax. DFL leaders say they agree in general terms with Dayton's outline, but will differ on some things.
"At least the House and Senate and the governor are going to be in a very similar ballpark, said DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen.
Republicans are warning that Democrats may want to raise taxes by more than the $1.8 billion in Dayton's plan.
"There are many other tax increases that are being debated right now but what they have not told us is how much taxes the Legislature is going to increase," said GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt.
Democrats say tax hikes are needed to erase a $627 million budget deficit and increase spending for education and economic development. Republicans say the deficit can be erased without tax hikes but have declined to offer specifics.