When first elected several years back, he was the first democratic governor of his northern state in years, a millionaire who just beat a Republican opponent by a narrow margin. And how has it turned out? Well he is “[the] most liberal governor in the country in terms of his willingness to raise taxes and to spend.” according to one University political scientist.
Huh? The northern governor isn’t Vermont’s erstwhile “liberal” Democrat Peter Shumlin, but Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Mark Dayton.
Governor Dayton is getting glowing reviews on helping to substantially improve the Minnesota economy. In fact, this northern state was rated one of the better growing economies in the country. An increase in minimum wage is scheduled next year and bills improving workplace protections for women and guaranteed equal pay legislation were enacted. Spending on public education was increased along with a tuition freeze at public universities and two-year colleges and increased unionization.
And part of how he did it was by raising taxes on the wealthiest. In fact taxes were raised 2 percent on couples making at least $250,000 per year. Thus did Minnesota become the fifth-highest taxed state in the nation. The earth did not open up and swallow Minnesota, and — oh, by the way — there was no exodus of high earners.
So what befell Minnesota? Well…
Since 2011, Minnesota has been doing quite well for itself. The state has created more than 170,000 jobs, according to the Huffington Post. Its unemployment rate stands at 3.6% — the fifth-lowest in the country, and far below the nationwide rate of 5.7% — and the state government boasts a budget surplus of $1 billion. Forbes considers Minnesota one of the top 10 in the country for business.
Dayton said of his tax raise on high earners “politically it was the right thing to do.”
Shumlin says he wants to take a “balanced way” to a balanced budget, and
“…That means real cuts. That means finding efficiencies … And I recommended a small amount in revenue,”
The proposed plan includes his proposal for another heavy round of “real cuts” — $30 million in cuts to services, salaries and benefits of state workers, for starters.
Sadly, Shumlin is sounding more like Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker than Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton. And he’s downright obtuse on raising taxes on the well off. Not exactly the “very model of a northern liberal Governor.”