Minnesota's deficit projection shrinks by $1.2B so Dayton backs off taxing the rich

If you're making more than $500,000 a year, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Mark Dayton says he's not going to make your already tough economic situation any worse by requiring you to pay a little more in taxes.

That bit of relief comes thanks to news from Minnesota's Management and Budget office, which declared today that the projected state deficit had fallen to $5 billion from $6.2 billion.

Not only that, but the state will end its current fiscal year in June with a $663 million surplus instead of a projected $400 million, because Dayton accesssed federal money tagged for health care expenses for poor adults - money that Tim Pawlenty refused.

A Metro Transit fare hike may be abandoned.
A Metro Transit fare hike may be abandoned.

Besides sparing the wealthiest Minnesotans a surtax, the numbers also mean that Dayton will amend his recently-presented budget in order to:

  • Reduce about $200 million in proposed cuts to the Department of Human Services for seniors' long -term care including nursing homes and home health care, Minnesota Care, and community action grants.
  • Restore the funding for metro and rural transit to eliminate any state-imposed need for fare increases.
  • Increase the research and development credit to promote Minnesota job growth.

But Dayton's priorities are at odds with Republicans in the Legislature who will oppose any tax hikes on the wealthy, and who want to run a scythe through state spending. They have yet to submit a budget of their own. It's scheduled for late March.


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