Gov. Mark Dayton says a Republican proposal for more than $1.1 billion in tax cuts would shortchange other state priorities.
Dayton reacted to a revised House and Senate blueprint Friday for the next state budget. In an interview on MPR News' Friday politics show, the DFL governor said the tax cut is too steep.
"They've got to own up to it," he said, "if they want to give it all back in taxes, they've got to own up to what that's going to do to education and all of the other things that people depend upon."
Minnesota lawmakers have roughly $1.5 billion in a projected surplus left to divvy up as they devise a two-year budget.
Dayton argued Republicans haven't adequately accounted for growing costs for schools, publicly subsidized health care and other key programs.
Later in the program, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said Republicans were proud of the tax cut, and that it would help a lot of people in Minnesota.
As for spending cuts, he cited health and human services programs as an area that will get less than projected, even though spending will still grow by about $2 billion.
"We have to address that. It's a difficult area to look at," Gazelka said. "It's an area we all have to pay attention to, and if we do that and we're successful there, then there certainly is an opportunity to have significant tax relief."
On another issue, Dayton is keeping his options open on a bill that would limit the ability of cities and counties to set local wage and benefit requirements.
Dayton said the so-called preemption bill is concerning to him, but he knows it's a priority of legislative Republicans.
"We have very different standards of living or costs of living say in rural Minnesota from the cities Minneapolis and St. Paul," the governor said. "To have one minimum wage of say $12.50 an hour or $15 an hour in Minneapolis is very different from Mahnomen County."
Dayton says it's too soon to say whether he would veto the bill to preserve power of cities to craft their own workplace standards. Supporters of the bill say the state needs uniform rules to avoid headaches for employers.