Mark Dayton was sworn in Monday as Minnesota’s 40th governor; he’s the first Democrat to hold the post since the 1980s. Dayton said he’s committed to progressive taxation in Minnesota and carrying through on his campaign promise to deal with the state’s budget problems in part by increasing taxes on wealthy Minnesotans, a group he says isn’t paying its fair share.
“I believe we all share the same aspirations for a better Minnesota,” Dayton said in his inauguration speech. “We may disagree on the details, but we never forget that our honest disagreements and our freedom to express them are the essential rights and great strengths of our democracy.”
He said, “My proposed budget solution will be reasonable, balanced and painful, because I see no easy alternative.”
Part of that pain would likely come in the form of a tax increase on Minnesota’s wealthiest, a group that, according to Dayton and state economists, pays a smaller percentage of their income on taxes. He said, “I will make Minnesota’s tax burden more progressive not more regressive.”
“Almost everyone would like to pay less,” he said, adding that it’s “essential that everyone paying taxes knows that everyone is paying their fair share.”
He challenged Republicans to present him a bill that balances the state budget without new taxes and without damage to schools and public safety.
He also urged Minnesotans to do their part for the good of the state by making a commitment to volunteerism. “I invite you to get involved in the betterment of your communities throughout the state. I ask every adult Minnesotan, who is physically able, to volunteer a part of one day, every month.”
Dayton also asked every Minnesota business “to adopt a school and contribute to its improvement.”