By State Rep. Dean Urdahl
The results are in from a legislative survey I recently distributed in District 18B. Local citizens indicate they are already stretched thin in today’s economy and want our state government to resist new taxes while getting its spending in line.
Minnesota faces a $6.4 billion deficit and 74 percent of the respondents say the best way to balance our budget is by reducing spending; only 2 percent of the participants indicate raising taxes is the best way to eliminate the deficit while 23 percent prefer a combination of tax increases and reduced spending.
Most respondents – 70 percent – do not favor raising taxes to account for additional K-12 spending. An even wider majority of 74 percent do not want our state sales tax to include food and clothing even if it means lowering the overall 6.5-percent rate.
As for higher education, a 58-percent majority would like to see Minnesota’s public colleges and universities offer 25 percent of their classes online by 2015.
The other tax question on the survey pertains to state-run health care. Participants indicate at a 70-percent rate Minnesota should not raise taxes to provide more people with state-run programs.
Also regarding health care, 65 percent favor allowing Minnesotans to access insurance coverage from out-of-state companies instead of increasing spending for state-run coverage like MinnesotaCare.
The Senate recently passed a bill to repeal a moratorium on new planning or building of new nuclear facilities in Minnesota (ours is the only state in America with such a rule in place). A total of 74 percent of survey participants support repealing that ban as we consider our energy needs of the future.
Expect many of these same topics to be in the headlines the next month or so as we head into the home stretch of this legislative session. We are scheduled to adjourn May 18 and our biggest challenges remain. The input from this survey will be a very helpful tool as I work to represent the people of District 18B.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a full breakdown of the survey results. I also welcome e-mails from those who may have missed out on the survey but would like to comment on the issues.
Dean Urdahl represents District 18B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes most of Meeker County and a portion of Wright County. This is Urdahl’s fourth term in the Legislature after being elected in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.