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State Representative Paul Thissen

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Posted: Mar 19 2013 2:10PM
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House DFL Majority Announces Budget Framework with Historic Investments in Education


House plan structurally balances budget and fully pays back school shift while making strategic investments in education, middle class tax relief and jobs

Saint Paul, Minnesota – Minnesota House DFLers announced their framework for the state budget today, which calls for historic investment in education - including a plan to fully pay back Minnesota’s schools for the first time since the Great Recession began. The House DFL budget targets call for a structurally balanced budget without gimmicks as well as new investments in priorities that will position Minnesota for future economic growth and success. The proposed budget:

  • Closes the state’s $627 million deficit in the FY 14-15 budget cycle using new revenue, spending cuts and reforms and provides for structural balance in FY 16-17.
  • Fully pays back the $854 million IOU to Minnesota schools for the first time since 2007, utilizing a temporary income tax surcharge on only the very wealthiest Minnesotans.
  • Invests $1 billion in priorities to strengthen Minnesota’s economic future, including $700 million for early childhood education through post-secondary education, $250 million in middle class property tax relief, and another $46 million in job creation.

Speaker Paul Thissen said the House budget targets reflect the priorities Minnesotans share by moving our state forward and rejecting the status quo, which caused recurring budget deficits and tightened the squeeze on middle class families.

“We want to make 2013 the education session because paying back our schools and investing in our kids will pave the way for future economic success,” said Thissen. “Minnesota has been locked in a cycle of deficits for a decade. Squaring our budget and investing in education and the middle class is the key to finally move Minnesota forward.”

In the last biennium, the legislature borrowed a record $2.4 billion from Minnesota schools. Under this budget framework Minnesota schools would be fully paid back this budget cycle through a temporary income tax surcharge on Minnesotans who earn more than $500,000 per year (less than 1% of all Minnesotans). The surcharge would blink-off once Minnesota schools are paid off, which would occur in two years or sooner.

“The old way of balancing deficits on the backs of the middle class and our children is over,” said House Majority Leader Erin Murphy. “We heard from Minnesotans loud and clear last year that they wanted us to pay back our schools and this is a fair and responsible way to make our schools whole. If the very wealthiest Minnesotans had paid a little bit more over the past decade we wouldn’t owe our kids this money in the first place.”

The House budget targets calls for $150 million in cost saving measures within health and human services. House Majority Leader Erin Murphy said that achieving those cuts and reforms won’t be easy, but it reflects the need for the state to find cost-savings in this growing area of our state budget.

“The changing demographics of our state tell us that we must find a way through efficiencies, reforms and cuts to bend the cost curve in health care while doing everything we can to protect our seniors and Minnesotans with disabilities,” said Murphy. “This will not be an easy task, but balancing our state budget never is.”

Speaker Thissen said he looked forward to working with the Governor and Senate to pass a budget that prepares Minnesota for a stronger future.

“We share the Governor’s priorities in terms of investing in education, job creation and property tax relief,” said Thissen. “There may be some differences in how we get there, but we are excited to work with the Governor to build the first budget in more than a decade that is structurally sound and sets the stage for a prosperous future for Minnesota.”

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