For more information contact: DJ Danielson 651-296-8879
There are just under three weeks left in the legislative session before our constitutionally required date of adjournment, May 22. This is a pivotal stage of the session that will determine whether or not we will finish on time and produce results that improve opportunities for all Minnesotans. For my part, I’m committed to passing a state budget that prioritizes the things that make our state such a wonderful place to live: world class schools, quality health care, jobs that support families and a transportation system we can depend upon. Indeed, the state budget represents a clear question of priorities, and I believe that given our $1.65 billion budget surplus, we should be able to collaborate on compromises we can all be proud of.
Unfortunately, the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate have presented an entirely different vision for Minnesota than one that invests in our schools, improves health care, grows jobs and delivers necessary infrastructure fixes. Despite a $1.65 billion surplus, Republicans are pushing a state budget that: (i) underfunds our public schools at all levels, eliminating voluntary pre-K, not keeping up with inflation for E-12 students, and forcing tuition increases at our colleges and universities; (ii) exacerbates our health care outcomes by making it more difficult to afford quality coverage; (iii) denies parental and sick leave for hundreds of thousands of Minnesota employees; and (iv) prevents any sustainable, long-term improvements to our transportation system. What’s worse, House and Senate Republican majorities are currently in the process of negotiating their final agreement on budget bills, which was largely put together behind closed doors and without any public input whatsoever.
In my judgment, it makes no sense to move backwards on things that make Minnesota such a great state – especially in a time of a surplus. Sadly, the reality is that the Republican majorities’ insistence on an over-sized tax cut bill wipes out too much of the surplus and hampers our ability to make key investments in other areas. To be clear, I believe that we must cut taxes – but tax cuts should be done responsibly, targeted fairly, and in a manner that won’t return Minnesota to consistent budget deficits in future years. To that end, I advocate for tax cuts directed at working families, small businesses, seniors, and those with student loan debt. Instead, the proposals advanced by the House and Senate Republican majorities mainly benefit the wealthiest 1% of Minnesotans, along with the largest corporations, some of which are not even located in our state, health insurance companies (whose profits continue to skyrocket at our expense), and well-funded, well-connected special interests like tobacco companies!
Since I grew up in our community, I understand that our top quality public schools are one of - if not the main reason people choose to live in Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland. This sentiment has been reinforced countless times over the past three years serving you at the legislature from constituents either visiting me at the Capitol or out in our community. I’ve heard from students, educators and parents alike all session about how important these resources are to ensure the next generation of Minnesotans has the skills and knowledge to compete in a global economy.
With the Republican majorities’ budget proposals that don’t even cover inflationary expenses, we will experience larger class sizes, teachers and other education personnel let go, and key support services cut. That is not acceptable in our community and it should not be acceptable anywhere in Minnesota. All students must have an opportunity to achieve success in the classroom; a budget that won’t allow for that to happen is unconscionable and something I cannot support.
With Governor Dayton in office, and Republicans majorities in both the House and Senate, compromise will be required to finish this important work. My House DFL colleagues and I are at the table and ready to work toward this resolution, but it will take willingness from both sides to work together in a manner that’s accountable to the public, and will produce a result that increases opportunities for Minnesotans in a fiscally responsible fashion.
I hope you will feel free to keep in touch with me about your own viewpoints, and share any comments or concerns you have as the session moves forward. It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.
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