California newspaper runs editorial blasting Gov. Dayton

Dayton got blasted for proposing that part-time Minnesotans pay income taxes.
Dayton got blasted for proposing that part-time Minnesotans pay income taxes.

Gov. Dayton may be popular in Minnesota, but his approval rating is remarkably low in the editorial offices of the Anaheim, California-based Orange County Register.

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That became apparent after the Register published an editorial on Monday blasting Dayton for the "snowbird tax" that's a part of the budget proposal he recently presented to the legislature.

Dayton wants to collect income taxes from part-time Minnesotans who spend more than two months in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

As he told reporters last month, "One of the unfairnesses [is that] that somebody can spend six months and one day out of the state and pay no personal income taxes and come back here and take advantage of all the state has to offer for five months and 29 days."

But the Register argues that "not even high-tax California has the gumption to impose income taxes on the out-of-state earnings of its residents."

From the right-leaning paper's editorial, entitled "'Snowbird' tax won't fly":

There are few state governments as imaginative as California in coming up with questionable new taxes on businesses or residents, but Minnesota comes close...

Gov. Dayton maligns Minnesota's part-time residents as if they are tax scofflaws. But, while those part-timers may not contribute income taxes to St. Paul, they certainly pay property taxes on their Minnesota homes...

As to the governor's insinuation that the so-called snowbirds are free-riders on all the benefits the state offers its lucky residents, another way of looking at it is that part-timers also miss out on the public services their property and sales taxes have helped pay for back in Minnesota while they are wintering in Palm Springs or Palm Beach...

Then there is another unforeseen consequence Gov. Dayton apparently has not considered: If St. Paul hits its snowbirds with punitive taxes, they are not simply going to grin and bear it.

Many, if not most, will either abandon Minnesota entirely, reduce their part-time residency to one month and 29 days, or figure out some artful maneuver to legally (or illegally) avoid the state's snowbird tax.

Gov. Dayton is wrong to demagogue the state's thin-blooded residents who prefer to spend the Minnesota's long, cold winter in warmer climates.

Instead, he should appreciate that they are so fond of the Gopher State, they choose to summer there.

Meanwhile, in St. Paul, legislators -- particularly MNGOPers -- are getting antsy for the governor to formally present his taxing and spending proposals to bill form. The DFL could approve Dayton's budget without any MNGOP votes.

Editors at the Register aren't the first out-of-staters to criticize the political philosophy underpinning Dayton's budget. Wisconsin Republican Rep. Erik Severson recently told reporters he views Dayton's tax-the-wealthy ideas as an economic opportunity for the Land of Cheese.

"I believe it is important to outline the options for businesses in Minnesota by letting them know that here in Wisconsin we value job creators," Severson said. "Gov. Dayton's budget proposal, especially his tax on business-to-business transactions, will put a stress on businesses and reveals that Wisconsin is a better place to do business."

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