This week, the Senate Republican majority passed their “first-round” of budget cuts, totaling $1 billion. State Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, was concerned that along with only addressing one-sixth of Minnesota’s $6.2 billion budget deficit, these cuts will fall especially hard upon middle-class families.
“Gov. Dayton, like Gov. Pawlenty always did before him, asked the Legislature to pass a complete budget—this makes sense,” said Sen. Sieben. “We need to take a long-term and responsible approach to balancing the budget. Rather than fast-tracking this piecemeal approach, I wish the Republican majority would slow down and offer a full budget solution to the public.”
The Republican proposal includes significant cuts to state aid and credits to local governments. Estimates show that this proposal would cut the remaining $351,000 of Hastings’ local government aid (LGA), in addition to a $78,000 cut to their market value home credit (MVHC). The City of South St. Paul would lose $654,000 in LGA and $337,000 in MVHC. Newport would receive a $191,000 LGA cut and an $80,000 MVHC cut. St. Paul Park’s LGA would be cut by $121,000 and their MVHC by $60,000.
“I’m concerned about the impact these cuts in local government aid will have on middle-class families,” said Sen. Sieben. “The Department of Revenue estimates that for every dollar cut in state aid, 67 cents is levied back in property taxes on home and small business owners. With this bill’s $487 million cut in aid that means at least a $300 million property tax increases on everyday Minnesotans.”
The Republicans also propose a $185 million cut to higher education. Over the past ten years, tuition has doubled at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses.
“Further cuts to higher education are going to make tuition continue to skyrocket and put a college degree out of reach for many Minnesota families,” said Sen. Sieben. “Cuts to workforce development will jeopardize our state’s ability to attract new businesses.”
The bill also cuts $46 million from health care safety net programs.
“The health care programs that were cut provide service to Minnesota’s elderly, disabled, and children,” said Sen. Sieben. “Experts testified that these cuts could reduce our ability to respond to child maltreatment concerns within 24 hours and limit kids’ mental health treatment and medications.”
“This bill will result in hundreds of thousands cut from veterans’ services, and millions taken away from both the Minnesota National Guard, and public safety. I doubt Minnesotans want to see reductions in these priority areas; especially without having a full budget picture of additional cuts that will come to balance the budget.”
For more information, contact Sen. Sieben’s Capitol Office at (651) 297-8060.