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“I was a tough conversion on that,” said Dayton, noting the tax fairness issue. “But there’s a social purpose,” in getting people to quit.
Many Minnesotans in the northern part of the state strongly support Dayton’s proposed tax on high earners, which has polled strongly for years.
At least part of the reason for the strong support is that his tax hike on high earners is limited to a fraction of the population. About 42,800 joint filers would pay on net income above $250,000. Fewer than 10,000 single filers would be subjected to the higher rate.
“I am in the middle class, so that idea doesn’t bother me one bit,” said Betty Weske, an 80-year-old retiree from Moose Lake. She also likes Dayton’s proposal to boost the tax on cigarettes.
“Who likes smoking anymore?” Weske asked Wednesday.
But some of those struggling in the blue-collar reaches of northern Minnesota oppose the tobacco tax hike.
“All of us close to minimum wage are right on the edge,” said Jeff Dianoski, a mechanic and pack-a-day smoker from Detroit Lakes. “If they raise the tax a little bit, I can’t take that. I am going to have to quit. They should find the money somewhere else.”
Joyce DeJoy voted for Dayton, but said she doesn’t support tax hikes until Dayton convinces Minnesotans that every fold of fat has been trimmed.
“So, he has a little bit of selling to do on the budget,” she said.
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