By Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen
It really disappoints me to see Gov. Dayton misrepresent the facts as we attempt to find a budget solution at the Capitol. The Legislature’s compromise came months ago.
Minnesota is spending $30.2 billion for the current biennium – or $32.5 billion if you include one-time stimulus money from Washington – and I supported keeping our spending flat for the upcoming two-year cycle. It is the fiscally responsible thing to do as we try to emerge from a recession. Besides, our families and businesses have made ends meet with level – or even reduced – incomes in recent years and the state should adjust, too.
Then we received new budget information in February, indicating our state's revenue will rise to $34 billion during the upcoming biennium. The House offered to compromise on the budget by increasing spending to that $34 billion mark. I remain averse to unsustainable spending increases and growing government, but I can reluctantly live with the adjusted plan because it still fits within our means.
Meantime, the governor proposed spending $37 billion and raising our taxes by billions to cover his extra spending. The last thing we should be doing is raising taxes during the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, but that is what he wants to do.
Just to be clear: The House originally wanted to keep spending flat into the next biennium but compromised to $34 billion in February. The governor proposed $37 billion and still is at $37 billion.
And Dayton accuses the Legislature of not compromising? We already have moved and now it is time for Dayton to stop the rhetoric and offer a spending compromise of his own.