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Local Conversation on Minn. State Budget

Posted at: 01/26/2013 5:54 PM
Updated at: 01/26/2013 6:13 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
manderson@wdio.com

Community members and local politicians met at the Copptertop Church in Duluth Saturday to ask their biggest Minnesota budget questions of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans. It was a chance to weigh in on exactly what's important to us here in the Northland in the next state budget.

"We've had a lot of reaction. A lot of people are happy to learn that we are making some increases in education and early childhood education," said Commissioner Frans.

We caught up with Commissioner Frans at The Duluth Grill early Saturday. It's a small business he said will benefit from this proposed budget. They could see a tax cut as well as lower sales tax.

"We are going to add some consumer services and some business services to the tax base, but the overall effect for consumers will be spending less on sales tax than before," Commissioner Frans said.

It's details like how the sales tax rates will change that Commissioner Frans sought to explain during his talk Saturday. Area community members said they were there to learn more about those numbers rolled out in Tuesday's budget proposal will affect their services and their livelihoods here in the Northland.

"All the previous budget cycles for the last eight years, we've been very anxious about them and in fact, have experienced some real cutbacks," said CHUM Executive Director Jim Soderberg.

Gov. Dayton calls this proposal 'the first word, not the final word' so Commissioner Frans said they are open to suggestions, but added it will be tough to come up something better.

"It's a heavy lift to come up with a better plan, but we are willing to listen," said Commissioner Frans.