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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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A Budget Deal Worth Fighting For

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Late in the night of Friday, July 8, legislative leaders and the Governor finally came to a budget agreement, ending the partial shutdown of state government. Make no mistake: the shutdown was unnecessary and wasteful. I have already begun to work with other lawmakers to figure out how to keep shutdown from ever happening again. At the same time, I feel very strongly that the deal that emerged was worth fighting for. Democrats' top priority this session was to stop the fiscal bleeding at our schools. This was our one non-negotiable item. Because of our insistence, schools will get the funding they need to stop the cuts and prevent more teacher layoffs. This was a win for Minnesota's kids. The Governor's original proposal was to balance the budget by cutting 40,000 working Minnesotans off health care. While the human cost to these cuts is evident, they also would have come at great expense to taxpayers. The uninsured are forced to seek emergency care when they are gravely ill, and we all end up paying with higher insurance premiums and property taxes. Once again, because of our insistence, 40,000 people kept their health insurance. It's important to "get the job done" at the Legislature, but it's even more important to get the job done right. In the fight for quality education and affordable health care this session, Minnesotans were the real winners. Sincerely, Mike Nelson State Representative, District 46A