Gov. Mark Dayton is offering hints about the budget plan he will release next week. During an appearance on MPR's Midmorning Thursday, Dayton said he'll continue to push for an income tax increase on Minnesota's top earners, but suggested that the tax could be temporary.
Dayton first hinted that the tax hike could be temporary during his State of the State address on Wednesday. At the time, he asked business owners and Minnesota's wealthiest residents to give him two years to turn the state's budget around.
On MPR's Midmorning program Thursday, host Kerri Miller asked if those comments were a signal that the measure would be included in his budget plan.
"That might be one part of it, at the very top," Dayton responded.
When asked about a timeline over when such a surcharge could "blink off," Dayton repeated that he wants two years to fix the budget.
"I hope to do it sooner. And if the conditions improve -- if there were something like that, then we'll be able to deal with that starting next year," Dayton said. "I hope we can get a rapid improvement, but I'm trying to be realistic here."
Dayton declined to give any other specifics about his budget plan, including exactly who would see an income tax hike. He will release his complete budget plan next Tuesday.
During his campaign for governor, Dayton said he would increase income taxes on single filers with taxable annual income of $130,000 or more, and couples who earn $150,000 a year or more after deductions.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said her caucus is opposed to any tax increase, whether it's temporary or permanent.
"Honestly, I've never seen a tax imposed and then blinked off, even when they intend to. They never do," said Koch.
But it has happened. Republican Al Quie imposed a surtax on income when he was governor in the early 1980s. That plan added a 7 percent surcharge on every Minnesotan's income tax. The surcharge increased to 10 percent in 1982. It was repealed in 1984.
But other taxes that were touted as temporary have remained. For example, the sales tax enacted in the late 1960s was also supposed to be temporary, but has stayed on the books ever since.