Sparks: Support Dayton’s budget proposal

Published 10:20 am Monday, January 28, 2013

By Sen. Dan Sparks

DFL, Austin

This week marks the start of a long-awaited budget discussion. On Jan. 22, Governor Dayton announced his budget plan for the 2014-2015 biennium. I spent the days following familiarizing myself with the plan and determining what did and did not fit with the priorities of people back home.

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To give you an idea of what the Governor’s proposal looks like, here are a few components I look forward to working on.

First, I am pleased to see Governor Dayton’s plan to correct out-of-control property taxes. For too many years, Minnesota has relied on property taxes to solve its fiscal problems. This reliance has burdened all homeowners. Dayton’s plan however, provides every homeowner a property tax rebate of up to $500. This will reduce the average homestead tax burden 22 percent in 2013 and cut taxes a total of $1.4 billion during the 2014-2015 biennium.

Additionally, the budget makes major investments in education and economic development. Higher education costs are so high nowadays, that attending college is not even an option for some students. The governor’s plan focuses on both early childhood and higher education funding to ensure we invest in our students every step of the way.

From a solid education comes a solid workforce ready to compete in a 21st century global economy. Dayton’s budget provides much needed attention to creating thousands of jobs, strengthening our infrastructure and making Minnesota a more competitive place to do business. As chairman of the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, I look forward to building upon the governor’s proposals and ensuring we keep job-creation and economic development a top priority.

Like many new pieces of legislation, each member will find some part to dislike. What makes this discussion possible though is the foundation Dayton puts forth. During the campaign last year, we promised Minnesotans an honest and thorough conversation about our state’s financial situation. I have seen arguments on both sides and I intend to advocate for a balanced solution that looks at both the revenue and spending side of the equation. What I consider most responsible right now is approaching this budget as a starting point for a longer conversation about our priorities. In the coming weeks, we’ll be holding public hearings on the budget proposals. I am confident through this honest dialogue we can build a sustainable budget for Minne- sota.

I encourage you to read the Governor’s budget proposal and follow our on-going discussion about the fiscal policies best for Minnesota. You can access the budget proposal at the Minnesota Management and Budget website here: To keep track of committee hearings regarding the budget visit This is a great resource for all Senate activities and legislation being considered.

To contact me personally, email: or call 651-296-9248. You can also visit or write me at the Capitol: Room 328, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55155.