For the first time since the primary, the remaining top three candidates will debate. That’s live tonight at 7 pm statewide on public television’s Almanac. One element we will reveal to you ahead of time is a comparison of the candidates spending and budget balancing in our “Budget Slap Shot” exercise.
You can see Republican Tom Emmer’s health and human services spending came in the lowest at 22%. Democrat Mark Dayton followed at 27%. Independent Tom Horner led with 33%. On K-12 education they were all in the 30% range. Transportation varies depending if they were willing to consider “all funds” as we did or just dedicated funds. Emmer combined K-12 department spending with higher ed. The other category that really stands out is Emmer’s huge number of 10% for veterans spending. Dayton and Horner’s 1% here reflects the reality of current spending. At the time Emmer did our hockey-themed budget drill, he was trying to corner Dayton on veterans issues and emphasis the importance of his plan including a tax break for vets.
BUDGET SLAP SHOT Emmer Dayton Horner
HHS 22 27 33
K-12 Education 30 36 32
Transportation 9 10 3
Higher Ed * 7 9
Local Govt Aids 5 8 8
Public Safety 8 4 5
Environment 4 1 2
Bonding Debt 5 3 3
Economic Dev. 4 1 2
State Govt 3 2 2
Ag VETS 10 1 1
(*candidate combined Higher Ed department spending with K-12)
Now to the big surprise for the candidates when we forced them to deal with a 10% budget shortfall by cutting and/or raising revenues. Emmer picked all cuts (or reforms) and after a lot of arm twisting he specified his areas to redesign. Dayton picked just a few revenue sources, mostly relying on income tax increases. Horner spread out his revenue sources and wants to cut business taxes.
EMMER REDESIGN :
-5% HHS, -2% BONDING DEBT, -1% ECON DEV, -1% LGA, -1% STATE GOVT
+7% INCOME TAX, +2% FED $, +1% CORP LOOPHOLES
+%4 SALES TAX, +1% CIG TAX, +1% INCOME TAX, +1% CORP LOOPHOLES, +1% FED $, +1% FEES, +1% GAMBLING