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ST. PAUL – A proposal that begins to address Minnesota’s current $993 million budget deficit has been approved in the Minnesota House of Representatives. State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) said he was disappointed in the way this initial budget deficit proposal was handled.
“The Democrats released this budget proposal with next to no public input and no transparency,” Gunther said. “It’s like they took a page from the playbook of congressional democrats in Washington.”
Gunther was bothered by the approach the House majority is taking with the budget elimination. Health and human services, along with K-12 education, make up roughly two-thirds of state spending. Yet these two areas were not addressed in the approved $300 million spending reduction plan.
“That means they’re either going to cut more than $700 million from classrooms, hospitals, and nursing homes, or they’re going to use bailout money from the federal government and raise taxes to buy down the deficit,” Gunther noted.
State law also requires that the state’s budget needs to be in balance in both the current and the next budget cycle, where the latest projections show Minnesota could face a nearly $6 billion shortfall.
“The people in charge aren’t even trying to chip away at that problem,” Gunther said. “House Republicans offered several amendments to their plan that would have reformed government spending and saved millions, but the majority just shoots them down because they want to play by their own rules. It’s frustrating to be sure, but it’s also the political reality at the State Capitol these days.”
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