Showdown Over Taxes in Minnesota

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A dramatic showdown over taxes has been building in the gubernatorial election in Minnesota. The candidates running in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) primary said they would support tax increases, especially bold stances in a state where the current governor is Tim Pawlenty. After all, presidential hopeful Pawlenty has repeatedly refused to raise taxes.

The victor in the DFL primary is former United States Senator Mark Dayton with 41 percent of the vote. Dayton doesn't mince words when it comes to his views on how to raise necessary funds for the state: "Read my lips, tax the rich. Minnesota’s wealthiest citizens pay only two-thirds of their fair share of state and local taxes. That’s wrong. As Governor, I will raise taxes on the rich of Minnesota, NOT on the rest of Minnesota." In a recent Star Tribune op-ed, Richard Miller, a retired Wells Fargo executive, commented, "Three governors have let what was a very fair tax system become grossly distorted in favor of those among us who are most able to fund the common good. Dayton is the only candidate telling us that the emperor has no clothes. We ought to listen to him before it gets even more embarrassing."

Dayton will face Republican candidate Tom Emmer, a former Representative in the Minnesota House, who strongly supports regressive tax policies. Emmer says "We need to reform our tax structure so it is based on what people consume and not on the wealth they generate." In November Minnesota voters will be offered a rare chance to vote for who they think should contribute more — the wealthy or the poor.

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