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Minnesota Legislature

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

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Monday, March 14, 2011
ST. PAUL – State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Nelson Township) said a House Republican balanced budget proposal that was unveiled recently eliminates the projected $5.1 billion deficit without raising taxes, funds priorities and reduces overall government spending. “We were elected to right the size of Minnesota’s government and to live within our means,” Torkelson said. “This budget target reflects these goals.” Last week’s state economic forecast showed an improved economic outlook short term, however forecast spending increases outpace revenue three to one. The House Republican budget reduces state agency spending, limits the growth of state spending to current revenue projections and cuts $3.6 billion in future spending. The plan also maintains K-12 classroom funding and funding to veterans, public safety, nursing homes and the courts. Torkelson said the proposal also focuses on reforming the way government operates. Several provisions in the plan reduce the size and cost of state government, close unnecessary government operations, improve our revenue collection process, eliminate fraudulent Medicaid payments, consolidate legislative back-office and administrative functions, and reform welfare. “If we don’t change the way government conducts business, state spending will continue to spiral out of control,” Torkelson said. “We have the tools and the political environment necessary to reform government, rebuild public trust and transform this state for a strong economic future, and now is the time to make that happen.”