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Dayton says he takes businesses' tax concerns 'very seriously'

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Budget news, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: March 4, 2013 - 10:28 AM

Gov. Mark Dayton said on Monday that he takes businesses tax "concerns very seriously" but it would be unfair to drop his proposed sales tax increase on businesses services but keep in his proposed sales taxes increase on consumer services.

"My goal is to have taxes be fair," the governor said.

Since January, Dayton has heard long and loud complaints about his idea of newly imposing sales taxes to the services businesses sale to each other. Given those and an improved state economic forecast, Dayton said he would reconsider his total tax proposal.

But, in a Minnesota Public Radio interview, the governor made no promises that he would drop that part of his plan.

Dayton, who will release a new budget plan next week, suggested a scenario which could involve dropping some increases in his tax proposal in exchange for cutting out his proposed $500 property tax rebate for homeowners. The budget he outlined in January would bring in $2 billion more for state coffers through sales tax increases and give homeowners nearly $1.5 billion in rebates.

"Give me a few days and I think you will see something different coming out in my revised proposal," Dayton said.

The governor also said that it would not be right to drop the idea of extending sales taxes to business to business services but leave in place the plan to extend sales taxes to consumer services.

"Turns out that most business people, who were advocating broadening the base...they want to tax consumers but they don't want to pay taxes themselves. I just think that's unfair but that's the reality," Dayton said. "If we have to do away with both (sales tax on business services and consumer services) then we've got a very different budget situation."

A Star Tribune Minnesota poll released on Sunday found that Minnesotans were split on the ideas of extending sales taxes to consumer services and clothing but against the idea of extending sales taxes on the services businesses sell to each other.

Dayton also said he was not interested in hiking taxes on alcohol.

"I don't support any increased taxes on alcohol. There's no increased taxes in my budget on alcohol consumption or the production of it," the governor said.

A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found that 61 percent of Minnesotans said they would support increased alcohol taxes in exchange for dropping other taxes.

In the poll increasing income tax on the wealthy was found to be slightly less popular with support from 54 percent of Minnesotans.

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