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Dayton says ‘State of State’ will promote budget

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton said he’ll use his State of the State address to explain and defend his budget proposal.

Dayton said his speech will clarify misconceptions about the tax proposals in his budget, which he unveiled last month. He’s due to give his third annual address before the Legislature at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

He’ll frame his budget as a tough but necessary way to solve the state’s $1.1 billion deficit while investing in other priorities like education. He’ll also continue pushing lawmakers to offer alternatives — he said his plan is “the only approach I’ve heard so far.”

The governor wants to use about $2 billion in new revenue from an upper-income tax hike and an expansion of state sales taxes to help erase the deficit. He would also pump new money into public schools and colleges, expand medical assistance and give out $500 property tax rebate checks.

Some of those tax changes have triggered criticism from state business owners and executives. Republicans have suggested that the governor continue with cuts from the last two years of budgeting.

Dayton said that wouldn’t put Minnesota on the right track.

“I think Minnesotans have expressed their view that they don’t want to see us cutting our way to mediocrity and beyond,” Dayton said.