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Excerpts from Dayton's State of the State

Posted by: under Gov. Mark Dayton, Democrats, State budgets Updated: February 6, 2013 - 7:07 PM

Excerpts: Governor Dayton’s State of the State Address"

We can choose, as others in our positions have before us, to ignore these growing problems, avoid fixing them, and hope they don’t crash down upon us, while we’re in office. Or, we can lead. That is what the people of Minnesota elected us to do. That is what they need us to do.

They need us to lead our state forward. Not back to failed ideologies of the past, now masquerading in new jargon. Not remaining locked into what might have worked in the past; but is faltering now, and will likely fail in the future.

If you’re coming to this State Capitol during the next four months, bring your best ideas and your sincere convictions. Bring your work clothes and your hard hats. If you’re interested in nothing more than throwing rocks and casting blame, send the rest of us a letter … or a postcard.

But if you really want to pitch in, all the way in, even sacrifice a little of your self-interest for everyone’s better interests … welcome. We need you. Your state needs you.

- Governor Mark Dayton


“In the decade after Minnesota’s income tax reductions, our economy fared worse than the nation and most other states. And at both the federal and state levels, big tax cuts followed by serious recessions produced large budget deficits, which threaten our current fiscal strength and future economic prosperity.
The solutions to those deficits were very clear. However, they were also very painful; so they were postponed, then postponed again, and again. Unfortunately, avoiding financial problems usually makes them worse. Fixing them then becomes even harder.”
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“We have repaired much of the fiscal damage we inherited, but we’re not done yet. We face another deficit, projected at $1.1 billion, for the next biennium; and we still owe our schools another $1.1 billion.
My budget for the next biennium would lift us out of this miserable deficit-to-deficit cycle. It would eliminate the $1.1 billion deficit, balance the biennial budget, and begin the following biennium with a projected surplus that would enable us to pay back the remainder of the school shift.”
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“Let me mention one other cause, which is controversial, but consistent with my faith and my principles. And, more importantly, consistent with this country’s founding principles and its Constitution. 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.
Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment, and responsibility. 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. “
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“My proposed budget for the next biennium would spend $1.8 billion less than was forecasted for those two years, when I took office.
Those who criticize my supposed lack of spending reductions evidently do not understand that many of the $2 billion cuts we made two years ago for the current biennium were permanent; and lowered spending by $2.5 billion in the next biennium, before I made my new proposals. “
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“How much lower will we reduce our spending for postsecondary education, either in real dollars or compared to other states? Experts everywhere say that the quality and affordability of higher education is key to our future economic success. Does anyone believe that continuing to reduce our commitment to higher education is the path to a Better Minnesota?
Analyzing other areas of state government spending yields similar results. During the past decade, our state leaders reduced expenditures for many public services, both in real dollars and in comparison to other states. The latest survey places Minnesota 33rd among the states in total expenditures for K-12 education per $1000 of personal income; 37th for health and hospitals; 19th for police protection; and 48th for fighting fires.
Are we better off today after all those reductions in public services? I’d say, “No.” Trying to cut our way to a Better Minnesota is a failed experiment.”
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“In my campaign, I proposed making an even-year legislative session “The Unsession.” Except for responding to a fiscal or other emergency and passing a bonding bill, the session would be devoted to eliminating unnecessary or redundant laws, rules, and regulations; reducing the verbiage in those that remain; shortening the timelines for developing and implementing them; and undoing anything else, which makes government nearly impossible to understand, operate, or support.
I suggest making next year’s legislative session the first “Unsession.” After this session is concluded … on time, in May … I will ask my agency heads and legislative staff to begin making lists, checking them twice, and working with any legislators, other public officials, and citizens, who wish to spearhead these reforms.”
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Few people like paying taxes, even when they’re fair. No one likes paying more taxes, even when necessary to make them fair.
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. Today, more and more hard-working, middle-class Minnesotans believe that the state’s tax structure is unfair to them.
And they’re right.

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