As the regular 2011 legislative session came to an end on Monday, Senator Ron Latz called on Republican legislators to work with the Governor to find a reasonable solution to the state’s budget crisis.
“We have been here at the Capitol for over four months, seeking an equitable and reasonable solution to fill the state’s budget deficit,” Sen. Latz said. “Gov. Dayton has unilaterally compromised three times on his budget proposal, but Republican legislators have refused to offer even one compromise counteroffer in response. I ask my GOP colleagues—now the majority party—to work with the Governor in a way that will benefit all Minnesotans.”
Sen. Latz noted that the all-cuts budget supported by the Republican majorities in the House and Senate is the “wrong choice for Minnesota.”
“Setting a budget is all about choices,” Sen. Latz noted. “We need to do what is fair for the people of our state and to protect the values that have made Minnesota strong.”
In drawing a line in the sand and refusing to negotiate in good faith with the Governor, the GOP majorities are choosing to protect the wealthiest Minnesotans from paying even one penny more by balancing the state’s budget on the backs of middle-class taxpayers and the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
In particular, Sen. Latz noted that the GOP budget:
o Increases property taxes on homeowners, renters and small businesses by more than $1 billion over the next four years
o Makes dramatic reductions of critical transit services for senior citizens and more than $50 million in cuts to health care services for the elderly
o Slashes special education funding by $56.5 million
o Takes away health care from 140,000 Minnesotans, slashes services for 5,800 seniors and disabled Minnesotans, and eliminates crisis support for 20,000 disabled adults in poverty
o Slashes $411 million—a 14 percent cut—from higher education, the largest in state history
o Cuts supervision for offenders on probation, services that help battered women and crime victims, and eliminates Community Justice grants—the only crime-prevention funding provided by the state.
“It’s time for the Republicans to come to the negotiating table and work with Gov. Dayton on finding a fair and balanced approach to this budget crisis,” Sen. Latz said.
“The Republican approach of repeatedly declaring that ‘there is no compromise’ is not the way Minnesotans want this budget made. Minnesotans deserve better.”