ST. PAUL – Minnesota’s $3 billion budget deficit has been eliminated, and state taxpayers have been protected. According to State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Watonwan County) these are the two top highlights during the final week of the 2010 Legislative Session.
“Though we once again waited until the last minute to get the job done, the good news is that the job is done,” Torkelson said. “No one was excited about dealing with another budget deficit this year, and not everyone is excited about how we eliminate the problem, but it’s the best the Democratic majority and Governor Pawlenty could come up with.”
The final budget reduction agreement includes legislative ratification of many of Governor Pawlenty’s 2009 budget unallotments, and a K-12 education payment shift. Torkelson said there will also be an option for the current or next governor to opt-in to the federally-assisted expansion of Medicaid.
Torkelson said the final agreement did not include a tax increase proposal, though House and Senate Democrats approved that maneuver just days earlier with a plan that would have raised income tax rates on the so-called “rich” by $400 million.
“I’m glad taxes are not part of the solution, as many of these increases would have affected small businesses, other job creators, and many farmers in the state,” Torkelson said. “I’m pleased Republicans stood tall against this proposal, and encouraged the legislative majority to tackle this problem without increasing taxes on Minnesotans who are already struggling to make ends meet in this troublesome economy.”