House DFL Wants Tax Surcharge

By Don Davis

House Democrats today said they want to not only permanently raise income taxes on wealthy Minnesotans, but also add a temporary surcharge on the richest of the rich to repay schools.

DFL leaders provided no details, but said the surcharge would bring in $854 million needed to repay schools money the state borrowed from them over recent years. House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said the surcharge would disappear in two years.

House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said he was reminded of an old saying: “There is nothing so permanent as a temporary tax.”

The budget outline House Democrats released Tuesday is similar to a budget plan Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled last week. Senate Democrats could release their plan as early as Wednesday.

Democrats control the House, Senate and governor’s office for the first time in more than 20 years.

The House plan calls for a $37.8 billion, two-year budget, with more than $2.4 billion in higher taxes.

Thissen said House committees will decide specifics about the budget, including what specific taxes would increase and how much. However, he said that Dayton’s proposed increase on the 2 percent of Minnesotans who earn the most is likely to be included, as well as the new surcharge.

Daudt, however, said that would hurt since 92 percent of Minnesota businesses pay their income taxes through personal returns.

Thissen said the biggest difference between the House plan and what Dayton proposes is the House wants to repay the $845 million to schools in the next two years.