Senate DFL Caucus Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, issued the following statement today:
“Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are engaging in the politics of distraction.
Republicans have passed a budget that raises taxes on every homeowner and renter in the state, while the Governor’s plan protects the pocketbooks of 95% of Minnesotans.
They’ve passed a budget that will take away health care for 200,000 Minnesotans.
They’ve passed a budget that will eliminate the jobs of tens of thousands of hard working, middle-class Minnesotans.
They’ve passed a budget that cuts funding for special education, devastates our colleges and universities, and criminalizes critical scientific research.
They’ve passed a budget that doesn’t even balance; that uses phony numbers and accounting gimmicks to mask the very devastating impacts of their all-cuts budget approach.
So what do they do? They engage in the politics of distraction.
They lie. They say Democrats are sitting on the sidelines. They say we’re not engaging in budget discussions.
That’s just not true.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve stood up for middle-class Minnesotans and fought against the Republican’s plan to raise property taxes, cut education, kill jobs, and hurt our economic competitiveness. Republicans have refused to listen.
Have we offered alternatives? Of course we have.
During debates on the Legislature’s major budget bills, our caucus offered 66 amendments to improve the Republican’s proposal. Republicans were so interested in working with us on the budget that they voted down 45 of those amendments, and used parliamentary tricks to avoid votes on another 11.
It’s time to get serious and end the politics of distraction.
The heart of this budget debate is quite simple: Gov. Dayton and Legislative Democrats want to protect middle-class taxpayers and invest in a better future and a better economy for our state.
Republicans, on the other hand, want to continue the failed policies of Tim Pawlenty at the expense of middle-class Minnesotans. They have yet to identify a single way their budget will ask the wealthiest in our state to participate in this budget crisis. They have yet to identify a single way they plan to compromise with the Governor in order to complete our work on time.
Until they are able to answer those questions, I’d suggest Republican leadership set aside the distractions and get to work.”