GOP critics of Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed budget held a mock birthday party Friday for the DFL governor's one-month-old plan.
Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, the Assistant Minority Leader in the Senate, lit a candle on a cupcake and said it symbolized "Minnesota's economy on Republican policies -- it's glowing and growing."
"Governor Dayton's tax bill," she added, blowing out the candle. " That's what we can expect, from what we're hearing from the business community."
The DFL governor's proposed budget includes lower sales-tax rate but an expansion of the tax to services that are currently untaxed, including business-to-business services such as legal work. The net impact is an additional $2.1 billion in new revenue for the state. In return, the governor proposes a $500-per-homeowner sales tax rebate and other initiatives to reduce pressure on local property taxes.
"Governor Dayton doesn't appear to be getting the message," Benson said, citing procedural votes this week in which GOP members sought to register opposition to the tax proposals.
Responding to proposals to limit gun violence, now under discussion in the Legislature, Benson said, "It's not time for us to be changing Minnesota's gun laws -- it's time to focus on growing our economy."
Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, Assistant Minority Leader of the House, said local governments will have to pay more for services under the proposal, and that may increase property taxes.
"At a time when midwestern states, and really states across the nation, are cutting taxes and encouraging economic growth, the governor decided to double down on an already overburdened Minnesota taxpayer," he said.
Photo of Sen. Benson provided by Senate GOP Caucus