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Saint Paul, Minnesota- House Republicans released budget targets today that double-down on tax cuts that would largely benefit the corporate special interests and the wealthiest Minnesotans. Their plan sends Minnesota to a budget deficit, ignores needed investments to support middle class children and families, and does little to address economic inequities that exist across the state.
“House Republicans have once again made well-connected special interests and the wealthiest few the winners in their budget plan while leaving ordinary Minnesotans behind,” said House DFL Leader Paul Thissen. “This is an irresponsible plan that will plunge our state’s budget back into deficits, while doing very little to level the playing field for Minnesotans who are being squeezed. After failing to deliver for Minnesotans during the 2015 session, it’s disappointing that they’ve offered so little in 2016. This budget is a recipe for gridlock.”
By uncompromisingly sticking to their original tax and transportation proposals, House Republicans would put Minnesota back into deficit. Taken together their proposed spending exceeds $1.4 billion, far beyond the $900 million available for the current biennium, and creating a multi-billion dollar deficit in future years.
“In 2013 Democrats passed a responsibly balanced budget that put an end to a decade of deficits. Before that the legislature had been in crisis mode for a decade, balancing our budgets on the backs of Minnesota children and families,” said Thissen. “But instead of leaving those deficits in the rear view mirror, Speaker Daudt and House Republicans seem intent on putting Minnesota back in the red again. We have recently seen how well Republicans balance their own family budgets, now they want to balance the state budget the same way.”
The House GOP’s budget priorities are notable more for what they leave out than what they include. Despite a $900 million surplus, Republicans have given the higher education committee a $0 target. That means Minnesota students and graduates can expect little to no support to make college more affordable. Republicans also are poised to leave tens of thousands of our earliest learners behind.
“This is a bad budget for our schools, for our kids, and ultimately for our state’s long-term future,” said Thissen. “We should be seizing this opportunity to invest in education at all levels because our economic success in the future will hinge on our ability to offer all of our kids a world-class education.”
House Republicans are again shortchanging Greater Minnesota. They are offering the smallest investment in the state’s infrastructure in well over a decade. Their limited bonding bill misses an opportunity to create jobs in Greater Minnesota and their jobs target means cuts to important initiatives for Greater Minnesota. They again fall short on broadband investment, continuing to invest less each year on broadband than the $20 million initial down payment made in 2014, and far less than is needed to fix the current patchwork of connectivity found across the state. In addition, their plan inadequately provides no money for Local Government Aid, and completely ignores rail safety.
“If House Republicans get their way, the 2016 session will be a repeat of the monumental flop for Greater Minnesota that we saw in 2015,” said Thissen. “Their priorities are concentrated to favor the corporate special interests and the wealthiest few and that means that Greater Minnesota is again getting the short straw from Republicans.”
House Republicans are also ignoring the need to reduce racial and economic inequities in Minnesota. Their tax proposal largely benefits the wealthiest Minnesotans. In addition, their targets and priorities make no mention of the need to address racial inequities in our state.
“Our priority should be building an economy that works for everyone, and that means prioritizing Minnesotans that aren’t yet succeeding in our economy, including the crisis facing” said Thissen. “Republicans need to wake up and listen to Minnesotans instead of catering to the wealthy special interests.”
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