Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, a DFL candidate for governor, is offering new details of his "tax the rich" proposal.
Dayton has frequently talked on the campaign trail about his proposal to raise income taxes for the wealthiest 10 percent of Minnesotans. He said the change would bring fairness to the tax system and provide the state much-needed revenue.
During a wide-ranging news conference Monday, Dayton said he would propose three new income tax tiers. He also said households with annual income of $150,000 and above would have to pay more.
"You've got three ways you can balance the budget," said Dayton. "You can raise taxes on the richest Minnesotans. You can raise taxes on the rest of Minnesotans, or you can pretend you're going to wave some magic wand and $5 billion to $7 billion is going to disappear from state spending without consequence to anyone, which is the Republican answer right now, which belongs more on the comic page than it does on the front page"...
In another place, he suggests this would raise about a $1 billion.
This tax favoritism for the rich is costing our schools, universities, hospitals and other essential services upwards of $1 billion per year. It may be great for political support and campaign contributions. But it's terrible for Minnesota. It's unfair, and it's wrong.
Then he says he wants to open a state run casino to raise $200 million a year.
Dayton also said Monday he would consider supporting a Twin Cities casino to raise money for Minnesota's ailing budget, but not for a new Vikings stadium. He said a metro-area casino would raise about $200 million a year.
He says such a facility would bring "much needed competition" to Mystic Lake Casino, the only tribally run casino in the Twin Cities. The Prior Lake establishment is owned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
A few observations.
- He would seem to not realize or care that "the rich" are also the people who create jobs which employ lower income folks. So one can expect his proposal to hurt employment and cause businesses to leave the state.
- His casino idea will no doubt alienate the Indian Tribes which have been huge DFL supporters.
- Casinos and gambling actually cost the state money in terms of all the social problems which result.
- Raising taxes on the wealthy would only hit a small portion of the current state deficit. If it's a $5.4 billion deficit that's $1,000 per man, woman and child. I'm curious how much of that deficit he'd be willing to eliminate through spending cuts.
- I have to give him credit for being very up front with his desire to raise taxes rather than being vague and non-committal. Hopefully, his announcement will make people realize that this is probably the tip of the iceberg. There will be a lot more tax increase proposals following this one if it's already a centerpiece of his campaign.