The Governor recently released his budget proposal, offering a starting point for the negotiations to balance Minnesota’s $6.2 billion deficit. He made suggestions on making cuts, streamlining services, investing in priority areas, and bringing in revenue. The legislative majorities now can offer up their comprehensive budget solution so the hard work can begin.
I am very pleased that the Republican majorities stepped up their deadlines for finalizing the state budget. It is good to have the legislative budget counterpoint out earlier, to allow ample time for thorough discussions and public input. I look forward to the release of their budget-balancing proposals in the upcoming weeks.
What’s clear from the Governor’s budget proposal is that there are no easy answers in resolving a shortfall of this magnitude. Even with bringing in much-needed revenue, the Governor’s budget makes some very painful cuts. The budget that the Governor proposed is really not a surprise—it reflects what he told voters he was planning to do as he was running for office—restore fairness. He stood up for the middle-class that have been hit hard by skyrocketing property taxes and protected 95 percent of Minnesota families from tax increases. He also protected a lot of vulnerable populations and the ability of local governments to provide essential services like snowplowing and first responders. Though not perfect, the Governor’s budget is complete, balanced, transparent, and accountable and I applaud him for it.
It’s important to realize that neither the Governor’s nor the Legislature’s first proposals are going to become law. Throughout the legislative process, many proposals will be tossed to the wayside and new ideas will develop. But by sitting down together and compromising, we can put something together that will work for Minnesota.
In another effort to get our state back on track, I also hope that the Republican majorities will consider moving forward with a bonding bill this legislative session. The Governor has issued a plan that would create thousands of jobs across the state by getting to work on shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Our economy not only needs these jobs, but we need the flood mitigation efforts and facility maintenance that will help save costs down the road.
In the weeks and months ahead, I’ll work with both my fellow lawmakers and the executive to assemble a long-term and responsible budget. Serious decisions will have to be made on what we can do to best position our state for future economic success, and I look forward to contributing to this dialogue.
I encourage you to contact me with your questions or comments on any issue. You may call me at (651)-296-0293, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to 125 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.