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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Dettmer (R)

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

(ST. PAUL) Governor Mark Dayton announced his two-year budget proposal on Tuesday which outlines his ideas for taxes and spending for the 2014-2015 biennium. After announcing his plans to the Minnesota press, Dayton met with key stakeholders and then state lawmakers. Included in the plans are: a new higher income tax rate, a revised and expanded state clothing tax (removing exemptions for clothing and services), and new sales taxes on tobacco and for transit services. Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) reviewed the budget and thanked Dayton for meeting with GOP lawmakers on Tuesday and listening to their concerns.

“I appreciate the time Gov. Dayton spent with my Republican colleagues and me on Tuesday explaining his budget plan and taking our questions,” Dettmer said. “While I disagree with the approach the Governor is taking to balance the budget, I look forward to a thoughtful and productive discussion about how we can protect the middle class from further tax increases and provide good services to the people of our state.”

The Governor’s complete proposal can be found online through the Minnesota Dept. of Management and Budget (MMB) and calls for nearly $38 billion in total spending during the next biennium, a 7.6% increase over the current two-year budget cycle. The plan also raises taxes on Minnesotans by $3.7 billion while only cutting $225 million in spending. This is the largest tax increase ever proposed by a Minnesota governor.

“It is not in the best interest of Minnesotans to raise taxes during a time of economic recovery and rapidly grow the size of government to levels we cannot sustain,” Dettmer added. “The sales tax expansion and income tax rate increases would hit all Minnesota families and businesses, whether it’s a new winter coat, an oil change, or getting your taxes done; we will all be impacted by these new taxes.”

Gov. Dayton and Rep. Dettmer may be able to work together on education funding formula reform that could benefit school districts in District 39A. On Monday, Jan. 21, Dettmer met with local education leaders in Forest Lake to hear their concerns about the current state aid formula that benefits cities with a higher tax base such as Minneapolis, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Dayton’s plan would increase K-12 education funding overall but delays repaying shifted aid already owed to schools until 2017.

While Dayton’s plan calls for a $500 homeowner property tax rebate, the ratio of spending cuts to new tax revenue is far from even. Dettmer believes there is room to bring more balance to the budget and questions the practice of providing more transit tax funding to the Metropolitan Council.

“If we approve the Governor’s budget as proposed, state government will only cut spending by one dollar for every 15 or 16 dollars we grow,” a ratio he believes to be unbalanced. “I consider the new transit tax to be taxation without representation; it will fund more bus and rail projects by the Met Council – a group of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.”

Dettmer and his colleagues in the Legislature now begin a lengthy process of studying the budget options in various committees and developing a plan that will ultimately move forward later this spring.

Representative Bob Dettmer can be reached by phone at (651) 296-4124. He can also be contacted via e-mail at, or via U.S. Mail at 279 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.