- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - More people filed in Minnesota’s top income tax bracket than expected in 2013, despite warnings from critics that a tax increase would drive high earners out of the state.

The state’s Department of Revenue reports the newly formed income tier saw 6,230 more filers than expected, totaling 60,630.

A law passed in 2013 by the DFL-controlled legislature created the new bracket and raised taxes for individuals making $150,000 or more and couples making $250,000 or more.

Gov. Mark Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1Ao3pwX ) that the numbers show fears the rich would flee the state because of the tax increase were unfounded.

“It will never settle the issue,” Dayton said. “Everyone’s always got a friend or a neighbor who is anecdotally doing something, but when the objective facts don’t support their argument, you start to wonder if they are ever going to change their minds.”

But Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, said adding the fourth income tax bracket still hurts Minnesota.

“Had we not gone to the fourth tier, how many more earners would be earning more in Minnesota, staying in Minnesota,” said Davids, who chairs the House Tax Committee. “How much bigger could the numbers be?”

Davids recently held a committee hearing on a bill to cut back on the tax increase, but says he won’t spend much effort on the bill with likely opposition from Dayton.

There were 716 fewer filers in the new top income tax bracket in 2013 than there would have been if it had existed in 2012. But revenue officials say they expected a decline due to a sharp nationwide drop in capital gains income.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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