Dayton, GOP spar over tax breaks for veterans

Minnesota Republicans are accusing DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton of being out of touch on veterans issues.

The allegation stems from the video of a campaign appearance this week at the Hibbing VFW. When asked about a proposed tax exemption for military pension, Dayton responded that he thinks people should pay income taxes based on income.

State Republican party chairman Tony Sutton said Dayton's position is outrageous.

"I mean it's bad enough that he wants to kill jobs in this state by increasing taxes. Now he won't even help veterans," he said.

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Dayton says he strongly supports veterans, but he won't consider a tax cut for any group when the state is facing a projected $6 billion budget deficit.

"I'm going to stand on the principle at this point that I'm not going to offer tax cuts in a political campaign to selected groups of people with clear intent of buying their political support," Dayton said.

Dayton said he thinks people should pay their fair share of taxes based on their taxable income.

GOP leaders described the exemption as a "little tax break."

State officials estimate the cost of an exemption for military pensions at about $20 million a year.