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SCHULTZ: It is not just social issues in this state. Minnesota`s Democratically controlled legislature, the Democrats have controlled the legislature, and, of course, they have the governor`s chair with Mark Dayton. They are taking this state in a direction of where majority of people in the state want to go, unlike Washington and nationally.
If you compare Minnesota to what Walker is doing in Wisconsin, it`s like night and day. Here in the state of Minnesota, workers rights to collectively bargained, they`re being protected. In fact, Minnesota has even passed laws allowing child care workers to unionize.
In Wisconsin, we all know Scott Walker has relentlessly attacked workers rights to organize. Minnesota has raised taxes on the top 2 percent to balance their budget. The Democrats have delivered their first balanced budget in over 10 years. They also passed a cigarette tax.
Over in Wisconsin, Republicans just rammed through a $650 million income tax cut for the wealthiest residents in that state. Minnesota is using new tax revenue to fund public education. Where do you hear that?
The state legislature has approved $485 billion increase for school spending over the next two years. Minnesota has been a model for education for years. Pawlenty came in, made a bunch of cuts, these communities are being put right back in where the communities want them.
Meanwhile, Walker across the river is pushing voucher programs and has cut $800 million from Wisconsin public education. Nobody voted for that. That came out of nowhere.
Here in Minnesota, same-sex couples can get married. Scott Walker, of course, supports a ban on same-sex marriage. In Minnesota, you don`t have to worry about being arrested for peacefully protesting.
In the state of Wisconsin, they have passed a law requiring a permit to protest with more than 20 people. What is the message there? Don`t even gather in a crowd or you could get popped by the cops. I thought voices is what we wanted to hear in our democracy.
Republicans have used it to arrest some of Wisconsin`s nicest senior citizens. Now, isn`t this a hell of a picture for law enforcement? There`s some really good PR going on right there, isn`t there?
And I`d like to point out that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty left this state with $6.2 billion budget deficit. That`s what the Republicans did in the majority in the state not too long ago. The party of fiscal responsibility, they couldn`t get the job done here in Minnesota. When Governor Mark Dayton took over, he raised taxes on income earners, the top income earners in the state, and they finally balanced the state`s budget. And also, they cut property taxes in the process.
And there`s one more thing that I think has to be profoundly pointed out, Obamacare. It is going to be fully implemented in the state of Minnesota, whereas in Wisconsin, it is being rejected.
So you might wonder, how in the world can life be so different when it is just a stone`s throw across the river? Let me give you a hint, folks. It`s the Republicans. It`s the majority. The states around Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, they`ve cornered in on Minnesota. But Minnesota`s progressive, all of these states I just mentioned are being run exactly the way the Republicans want to see their government run and it`s failing.
Now, you can make the argument that North Dakota is through the roof. You take oil out of North Dakota and you`ve got a cow patch economy, I guarantee you.
But when you talk about not implementing Obamacare, not investing in education, going after worker`s rights, stopping people from protesting because there might be 21 people or 22 people because the number isn`t correct, does that sound like America? Does that sound like where communities want to go?
Since when do people go to the polls in this country saying we want it cut everything because we want to be sure that we balance the budget. And, oh, by the way, the big conversation about income inequality in this country has been addressed in this state. I don`t think there are any wealthy people in the state of Minnesota that are going to simply tip over because they`ve got to pay a little bit more to get services right for the communities across the state.
It`s called investment in community. It is still alive. And if you are a liberal and if you are politically exhausted, I want you to pay attention to this story and all of the states around Minnesota because those states are being run like the Washingtonites. This state is being run by the people, where the majority counts and elections matter, and people`s voices aren`t circumvented.
The Democrats told residents if they got control of the legislature and the governor`s chair, that they would move this state forward and that`s exactly what they are doing. So, don`t give up on hope.
The president talks a lot about hope and change. Hope and change is alive in this state, and good things are happening for people. And I`m remiss if I didn`t mention the child care help that is go to be to kindergartners coming in this state. It`s very important. What is that, though? Oh, yes, that`s investing in the future.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think about this. Tonight`s question, do you wish your state was more like Minnesota? Text A for yes, text B for no to 67622. You can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you results later on in the show.
Could not have a better guest on this subject than the man we have here tonight, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.
Governor, congratulations on a great job. You have done exactly what you said you were going to do. I think it`s progressive and it is what the people want.
But, Governor, answer this, is this what the residents of Minnesota want? Are you following the majority?
GOV. MARK DAYTON (D), MINNESOTA: Well, we had an election last fall. We went from Republican legislature, elected in 2010, to Democratic legislature elected two years later because we offered a sensible path forward with raising taxes as you said on the wealthiest Minnesotans, closing tax loopholes for large corporations and putting money into education whereas Republicans wanted to cut more and cut more and raise property taxes.
And people in Minnesota said clearly, we want to go on a different path from the previous two years.
SCHULTZ: What message does this send to the rest of the country, Governor? Your thoughts on that.
DAYTON: I found Republicans who controlled the Minnesota legislature in 2011-12 were extreme ideologues for whom compromise was a bad word, intransigence was a conservative virtue, who have a very rigid view of how the country should be. They really don`t like government. They detest government. They don`t want government to succeed, as you pointed out with such thing as Obamacare.
People said, no, we want a balanced approach. We wanted to cut spending, which we`ve done in the previous two years, but we also want to make our taxes less regressive. We want the wealthy to pay their fair share and we want to invest in the future of our state which is education.
Governor, you raised taxes on high income earners and also smokers. Why was this a good idea?
DAYTON: Well, our tax system, state and local, is regressive in the Minnesota. The very wealthiest Minnesotans pay about 75 percent of their income in state and local taxes compared to the middle class. So we wanted to even that up and shift reliance off of the property tax which also doubled in Minnesota for the last decade. It looks like property taxes will go down in Minnesota this next year for the first time in over a decade.
The cigarette tax, you know, I was torn about that one. I opposed it in the past because it is very regressive. But the purpose was really, hopefully, to lose revenue, we wanted to prevent young people from taking up smoking and hope that it will give incentive for people who are smoking
now to quit.
So it was for medical purpose rather than tax policy.
SCHULTZ: Governor, from what I can see is that everything the legislature and you have done in the state is exactly where the country is. All of these things are pulling in the majority: implement Obamacare, protect workers, invest in education, close the gap on income inequality, get more revenue from wealthiest, close corporate tax holes.
In the meantime, you have Scott Walker running aren`t country bragging about how he is running Wisconsin. I want a very candid opinion from you. Should Democratic governor talks more about this model in Minnesota and give people hope that this is what can happen when a progressive legislature gets together and follows the will of the people?
DAYTON: Well, Minnesota has gone to such an extreme and slashing funding for public education? We cut higher education by 14 percent in 2011 facing the deficit you described. So Minnesota really gone to the extreme right and I think people want to have much more sensible course of action. A lot of Democratic governors are already on that track. And 2010 was a bad year for Democrats.
And I barely won and as you said, states around went for Republican governors and stronger Republican legislators. We had an election in 2012. And, after redistricting, people in Minnesota has a chance to take another look at things and elected a Democratic legislature. Personally, in the 2010 redistricting following the census, they were able to lock in a lot of Republican districts. And it is tough to get Washington out of gridlock that it`s in now.
SCHULTZ: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, thanks for being candid with us here on THE ED SHOW tonight. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
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