Minnesota's move to raise $2.1 billion in new taxes, largely from the wealthy, to fund government programs puts it among a handful of states controlled by Democrats that are adopting more liberal fiscal policies at a time when many Republican-dominated statehouses are pushing to cut taxes.
The Minnesota tax package, which Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Thursday, aims to raise the revenue largely for expanding early-childhood education programs and freezing tuitions at state universities, as well as closing the state's budget deficit and funding some jobs initiatives and property-tax refunds.
The measure was backed by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which holds control of both legislative chambers and the governor's office in Minnesota for the first time in more than two decades. The legislative session, which ended this week, also saw the passage of measures legalizing same-sex marriage and expanding union-organizing powers over the steady objection of Republican lawmakers.