Republicans cling to the wrong principles.
The Minnesota Republican agenda is clear: pass as many anti-labor/wage reducing bills as possible. Bills that cut construction wages, reduce teacher and public employee pay and benefits, hurt public safety workers, cut wage guarantees for angel investment firms, freeze or reduce minimum wage for all tipped employees no matter the occupation, elimination of equal pay for women laws and cut our hard fought for labor laws while doing nothing to create a single job or help our economy.
Minnesotans deserve better. The terrible “right to work for less” constitutional amendment passed a key committee last week, despite hundreds of teachers, construction workers and labor folks filling the capitol to urge Republicans to vote no. This bill has brought lower wages and unsafe working conditions to other states. But Republicans don’t seem to care. They apparently see it as a means to bring down worker wages while allowing corporations to make even more.
In addition to pushing through anti-labor job bills, Republicans want to cut corporate income taxes, irresponsibly increasing our budget deficit $200 million, cut corporate property taxes and phase out the corporate franchise tax. All without the guarantee of one single job created. These proposals would squeeze schools and local governments even more. If these “help the richest corporations make even more” proposals pass, homeowners, seniors and renters will have to pick up even more of the property tax tab. The Republican agenda continues to favor the wealthy by making sure the rich keep getting richer while the middle class pays more. Minnesotans deserve better. Republicans continue to defend the old failed “trickle down” theory, that if you cut rich people’s taxes just trust them, to create the jobs, they will. That won’t happen and doesn’t work! It never has worked.
Some of the other anti-labor bills introduced by Republicans this year include:
• Numerous bills targeted at teachers and their unions including a two-year wage freeze on all public school employees and legislation to outlaw economic strikes by school employees, restrict when school districts and their employees can negotiate collective bargaining agreements. All these proposals aimed at teachers pay, benefits, and pensions.
• Lower pay for restaurant workers.
• Eliminate equal pay for women.
• Weaken arbitration for employees of local units of government–which includes our police and firefighters.
• Forbid public employers from deducting union dues from members’ paychecks.
• A prevailing wage bill that effectively lowers pay for public construction projects.
• Cut wages by 6 percent for all state and MnSCU employees.
• Elimination of angel investment wage levels for workers
So, what are Democrats doing? We are trying our best to promote bills that are focused on bringing good-paying jobs to Minnesota, building a world-class workforce, and strengthening the middle-class. Senate DFLers have advocated for the Jobs Now Tax Credit and the expansion of FastTRAC, which invests in training Minnesotans for careers that are in high-demand. DFLers have also authored the “Pay Back Our Kids” Act, which would pay back what the state borrowed from our schools by closing overseas tax havens for multi-national corporations. Unfortunately, Republicans have stopped these bills in their tracks or stall them in legislative committees.
Minnesotans deserve better than the anti-labor, anti-worker, anti-family, lower wages proposals the Republican leadership has promoted this session. With time running out, Senate DFLers will do our best to stand up to these terrible anti-worker bills and will remain committed to working toward making the right choices for Minnesota by making people and good paying jobs our priority.