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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Friday, February 11, 2011
ST. PAUL – In Governor Mark Dayton’s recent State of the State Address, he discussed the need to reform government and create jobs in Minnesota. While State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Nelson Township) said he agrees with these priorities, he disagreed with several other positions presented by Governor Dayton. “I think every lawmaker understands that dealing with the projected budget deficit, will require refining the way state government operates and at the same time improving our job climate – particularly in rural Minnesota,” Torkelson said. “But I thought it was a poor decision to suggest tax increases as a way to solve our budget crisis.” Next week, Governor Dayton will present the Legislature with a balanced budget proposal. During his address, he mentioned the need to increase spending this biennium in areas such as education and transportation, and also feels Minnesota needs to borrow $1 billion in order to fund construction projects across Minnesota. But Torkelson noted that while Dayton wants to increase spending and borrowing, he did not indicate how he wants to pay for his new ideas, nor did he discuss how he plans to eliminate the current $6.2 billion deficit. “Governor Dayton should realize that if he wants to raise income taxes to pay for out-of-control government spending, it will not make it out of the House,” Torkelson said. “Government spending is projected to increase by 27 percent over the next two years, which is simply unsustainable. We need to get a handle on our current state spending problem – not look for ways to spend more.”