Gubernatorial Race Heats Up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

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The three candidates vying to be the Democratic candidate for Minnesota Governor are former Senator Mark Dayton, former Congressman Matt Entenza, and current House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. The candidates aren't likely to go negative during the primary, but the myriad of fiscal issues facing the state are anything but positive.

As the Minnesota Budget Project (MBP) reports in an analysis released just last week, the 2010 legislative session ended with "many opportunities lost." Elected officials didn't use a balanced approach to solving the state's budget shortfall, instead relying on spending cuts and various stop-gap measures that did not include revenue-raisers. They certainly did no favors for future lawmakers. MBP writes, "Because of heavy reliance on one-time spending cuts and timing shifts, these budget decisions did not make progress on reducing the future budget shortfall, leaving a profoundly difficult problem for the next legislature and governor to tackle next year. "

Voters will go to the polls on August 10 and it appears that all three of the Democratic candidates believe that new revenue will be necessary in order to deal with the state's budget. This is, of course, welcome news for Minnesotans compared to the "no new taxes" rhetoric of current Governor Tim Pawlenty.

If Dayton, Kelliher, or Entenza are elected in November they will be forced to address many issues. But the one that perhaps looms largest is the state's fiscal future. All three candidates have their own proposals.

Dayton has said, "I would raise $4 billion by making the richest Minnesotans, the [top] 10 percent, pay their fair share of taxes." Kelliher also wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, but is looking to only raise about $600 million from taxing the best off. Entenza critiques Dayton's tax increase by saying that the proposal is too strong, "I think some of the business consequences of that are something we don't want to look at." However, he does hint at supporting some type of temporary tax surcharge and taxing internet sales.

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