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State Representative Melissa Hortman

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Posted: 2005-03-29 00:00:00
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Column/LTE

Vote in House a step backwards for education


Dear Editor,
I cast a vote today in favor of the Dorman/Greiling Amendment because the residents of my district clearly asked me to get the job done for education. I was told there is a difference between saying you support education and really doing so. I was encouraged to "go to the mat" for education. I listened and have done as they asked.
The budget numbers proposed by the Governor and House Republicans includes $441 million in property tax increases, plus the assumption that we will raise $200 million more by adding additional casino gambling in the state. The Dorman/Greiling Amendment I supported is more responsible and would have given the Legislature the tools it needs to do a better job of funding education. This amendment would have allowed the Legislature the opportunity to fund K-12 even if the casino bills fail, or if residents in the State of Minnesota reject more property taxes.
In 2001 Minnesota moved away from relying too heavily on the property tax to fund our schools. We said there was a better way. We said the property tax was a regressive tax and that there was no correlation between the taxpayer's ability to pay and the tax itself. We said the state should provide a more even level of funding - so that kids in property poor districts would not be disadvantaged compared to kids in property rich districts.
But today in the Minnesota House, we moved back toward raising money for schools on the backs of property taxpayers. That is the wrong direction for the kids and taxpayers in Minnesota.

Melissa Hortman
State Representative, District 47B
Coon Rapids/Brooklyn Park

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