Minnesota District 16B Rep. Paul Torkelson and District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms will host a joint town hall meeting today (March 27 ) beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Sleepy Eye Community Center.

State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said Governor Dayton’s revised budget plan for Minnesota is too expensive for state government and too costly for Minnesota’s taxpayers.

Lawmakers must eliminate a $627 million deficit before session ends in May, but Dayton’s new budget plan raises taxes by $1.8 billion and grows government by more than $3 billion. Torkelson added the revision contains no reform and abandons the Republican priority to stop wasteful spending and forcing state government to live within its means.

“I am often asked what my plan is to solve our current budget deficit,” Torkelson said. “My plan is already up and running as it is the approach we used to deal with last year’s much larger budget shortfall – and my plan is working.”

While Dayton targets personal incomes, cigarettes and snowbirds for the bulk of his tax hikes, Torkelson noted that he also wants to collect more in corporate taxes and business property taxes, meaning Minnesota’s employers will be paying more to expand state government.

“Governor Dayton’s tax increase on small businesses would force them to select among bad choices: raising prices for consumers, cutting back on staff, not hiring, or shutting down altogether,” Torkelson said. “None of these options are good for our economy. Remember, if we would continue to live within our means and not raise taxes and radically increase state government spending, we are on pace to have a $782 million budget surplus during our next budget cycle. If Governor Dayton and the Democratic legislative leadership choose to tax and spend their way out of this deficit, our positive economic progress will almost certainly disappear.”