This letter originally appeared in the Brooklyn Park Sun-Post on March 12, 2013.
To the editor:
Last November, Minnesotans rejected the previous legislature’s all-cuts approach to balancing our state budget. My DFL House colleagues and I understand that Minnesotans expect us to find a balanced approach to the budget.
Though Minnesota’s economy has begun to recover from 2007-08 recession, we need to support job creation to encourage continued growth. Job creators aren’t the ultra-wealthy or multinational business conglomerates – they are working Minnesotans.
We should support initiatives that improve public infrastructure, support the development of clean energy jobs, expand collective bargaining rights and increase the minimum wage. These will spur the creation of new jobs and improve the incomes of many Minnesotans.
We also can lower the cost of living for Minnesota families by making smart new investments in areas such as education, mass transit, increased childcare access and affordable healthcare.
Doing these things will help Minnesota families afford the economic necessities that will spur growth in Minnesota’s economy and improve the quality of life across our state. This approach also would help reverse the ever-declining purchasing power of middle-class families.
To pay for these investments, we’re asking the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans to pay a little more. My Republican colleagues will tell you any tax increase on the wealthy hurts the “job creators,” but as I’ve argued, that’s not accurate. Instead, we should help middle-class Minnesotans catch-up, which better supports economic growth.
The American economy comes down to buying and selling. Right now, working Minnesotans don’t have the resources to keep our state’s economy growing. Minnesotans understand that fact, which is why they aren’t buying the tired Republican “job creators” line anymore.
Based on that knowledge and the Minnesota Management and Budget Department’s recent economic forecast, my DFL colleagues and I are crafting a state budget that reflects our top priority: middle class families.