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Sen. Westrom responds to the governor's budget proposal

Governor Mark Dayton released his budget proposal this week which calls for $37.9 billion in state spending for FY 2014-15. Compared to the $35.2 billion budget in FY 2012-13, this is a 7.6 percent increase in spending and an 11.9 percent increase in taxes.

The Governor's budget proposed $225 million in cuts, but also has $3.7 billion in new taxes. His tax proposal is the largest tax increase ever proposed by a Minnesota governor.

Included in the proposal is funding for all-day kindergarten, $52 per pupil on formula, $159 million for special education, and $80 million for the college state grant program. Nevertheless, the Governor's budget fails to pay back the $1.1 billion already promised to schools - which ironically was strongly campaigned for by his party last fall. Also, homeowners will receive a $500 property tax rebate and there will be a two-year freeze on state-wide business property taxes.

In addition, $2.1 billion of new sales taxes is proposed on goods and consumer services which are paid by the middle class. There will be a new sales tax on personal care services like haircuts, clothing over $100 per item, legal accounting, and auto repair services. Cigarettes will see a $.94 per pack additional tax and Minnesota's snowbirds will be subject to a pro-rata income tax based on the number of days they are present in the state.

In these tough economic times for families, Governor Dayton is proposing tax increases on all Minnesota taxpayers. This budget is $16 in tax increases for every $1 in spending reductions. This proposal puts government on autopilot and there are no demands for accountability or reform.

Dayton is taking money out of the hands of families for increased government spending that we do not need. We must be responsible with the taxpayer's dollar. The Governor, Senate and House need to collaborate on the budget this legislative session and find a better solution for the State of Minnesota.

Senator Westrom encourages and appreciates citizen input. He can be reached by telephone at (651) 296-3826 or (855) 407-7386, by mail at 107 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, or via e-mail at