Today, the House unveiled a plan to erase our state's $5 billion shortfall and set spending for the next two years ... without raising taxes.
These budget targets are geared toward bringing Minnesota in line with economic reality, helping us live within our available revenue by setting priorities and enacting government reform. I am pleased this package provides middle-class tax relief and also protects funding for classrooms, nursing homes, courts and veterans.
The budget plans reduce state agency funding by 15 percent, require 15-percent reduction in state government by 2015 and freeze public employee salaries for two years. These are tough decisions and that I know people will be impacted. There will be some shared sacrifice here, but we just can't afford to continue down our current path which has our state increasing spending by 29 percent in the next two years.
This proposal makes the structural changes we need to put long-term reforms in motion. Some initiatives being considered in committees are welfare reform, health care reform, early graduation incentives in education, a sunset commission to retire obsolete government functions and consolidation of various state entities. The goal is to improve service and save money through more efficient delivery methods. We'd all like to see a system which emphasizes better service, less waste and reduced bureaucracy.
House committees will continue working through various segments of the budget to iron out the details. I will pass along more information as it becomes available.