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Dayton Talks Budget in Virginia

Posted at: 04/16/2013 10:48 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Governor Mark Dayton stopped in Virginia Tuesday night, and over 100 people turned out to talk about his proposed budget.

Before the town hall meeting Dayton said his budget is focused on the middle class and job growth. He said spending $640 million on education in the state will create a skilled workforce.

The meeting was held at the Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. Dayton said spending money at schools like the one in Virginia is important for new jobs.

“By 2020, 80 percent of the jobs in Minnesota will require some amount of post-secondary education, and the community and technical colleges have become a critical component in giving young people the preparation they need for jobs of the future,” Dayton said.

But during the meeting a resident asked why the University of Minnesota pays administrators so well, specifically UMD's former chancellor Kathryn Martin.

Dayton said state law prevents him from addressing the issue directly, but he is working on the issue.

“Severance packages that went not only to the president at the university of Duluth, but also the former president of the university himself were just really way out of line,” Dayton said.

Some also worried about increasing property taxes. Dayton said his proposed rebate didn't have legislative support, but he said putting $120 million in the hands of city and county governments should help.

“That also indirectly, but very definitely helps keep property tax increases down,” Dayton said.

While not tied to the budget, several at the meeting had concerns about the Highway 53 relocation. Dayton said it will take years to get the project ready, and EPA involvement has complicated the process.

There will be a public meeting on that Highway 53 relocation on April 22 in Mountain Iron.