Gov. Mark Dayton made an impassioned defense of his budget proposal and vision for Minnesota in his State of the State address Wednesday, blasting critics who don't offer solutions.The problem with his prescription for what ails us, e.g. a weak economy and social, family breakdown, is it isn't what the patient needs. In fact, it will exacerbate our problems. Higher taxes are ultimately paid for by families either directly through higher sales taxes or indirectly through higher prices passed on by businesses. Higher income taxes discourages the wealthy, many of whom are business owners, to expand their businesses and hence create jobs. And it will motivate some wealthy individuals to leave the state.
"Trying to cut our way to a better Minnesota is a failed experiment," Dayton said. "If you're interested in nothing more than throwing rocks and casting blame, send the rest of us a letter or a postcard."
Dayton spent much of his nearly hourlong address defending a budget proposal that would usher in the biggest tax overhaul in a generation but is also proving to be a harsh test for the new DFL leaders in both chambers.
Dayton's new budget proposal would wipe out a $1.1 billion deficit, provide direct property tax rebates for homeowners and boost money for education. To pay for that, Dayton wants to raise income taxes on the wealthy and dramatically expand the sales tax to include higher-end clothing and many services, including business-to-business transactions.
The new sales tax proposals, particularly the taxes on business-to-business transactions, are triggering strong opposition. If legislators reject that portion of the proposal, it would blow a sizable hole in Dayton's budget and prevent him from paying for many of his most prized initiatives.
"No one likes paying more taxes, even when necessary to make them fair," Dayton said. "But when taxes are unfair, and remain unfair, not only do the people who are forced to pay more rightfully resent it, but they also lose faith in their elected officials who won't change it."
Speaking to a rare joint session of the Legislature, Dayton reaffirmed his support for legalizing same-sex marriage but stopped short of calling on legislators to pass a bill this year.
"I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex," Dayton said. "I want Minnesota to be a state which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love."
More government is called for to take over the responsibilities of parents to raise and educate their children, e.g. all day kindergarten and so forth.
And redefining marriage won't stem the tide of family breakdown but will only accelerate it.
This isn't what the patient ordered.