Deficit Numbers makes tax unecessaryPublished 6:18am Monday, March 4, 2013 Updated 8:21am Monday, March 4, 2013
With the state deficit now at only $643 million, Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget that includes a wide array of tax increases is unnecessary.
Dayton has proposed expanding the sales tax to include everything from accounting and legal services to clothing on items over $100. He has also proposed increasing taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.
The fact is, compared to the $4 billion deficits the Legislature has had to solve in previous sessions, the $643 million deficit will require only a minor fix. And while it is important that the state pay back its $801 million debt to schools, considering the debt has been in place for several years, it seems only reasonable it take several years to repay it.
Dayton has also proposed to use the extra tax revenue to increase state spending on everything from nursing homes to schools. Such services are clearly valuable.
However, considering the fragile state of the economy, especially with federal spending cuts looming, it seems raising taxes to pay for such spending would cause more harm than good.
If and when Minnesota can get back to the days of state budget surpluses, major reforms might be appropriate.
Until then, however, Dayton and the Legislature should plug the small deficit and leave everything else alone.