Senate DFL Caucus Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, released the following statement today regarding the passage of the major Senate Republican budget bills:
“Republicans are simply being dishonest with the people of Minnesota.
Republicans promised to pass a budget that does not raise taxes. Then they proceeded to pass a budget that will drive up property taxes on homeowners and renters by $644 million over the next three years.
Republicans promised to focus on growing jobs and rebuilding the economy. But their budget will put tens of thousands of middle-class Minnesotans out of work, including teachers, nurses, snowplow drivers, and police officers. Their budget will also hurt our long-term economic competitiveness by dismantling our higher education system and raising the cost of tuition for families trying to send their kids to college.
Republicans promised to protect the most vulnerable Minnesotans. But their budget takes away health care from 200,000 Minnesotans, slashes funding to nursing homes and hospitals, and eliminates rental assistance for families, veterans, and people with disabilities.
Republicans promised to be fiscally-responsible. But their budget empties the state’s budget reserves, leaving us unprepared to take on unexpected challenges, like flooding or other natural disasters.
Republicans promised to pass a budget that “lives within our means.” But it’s clear they haven’t kept that promise. Their budget relies on the same types of fee increases and budget shifts we saw under the “no new taxes” era of Tim Pawlenty. It raises fees by $35 million on individuals and businesses. It includes more than $300 million in funding shifts and accounting gimmicks, even going so far as to steal money from the firefighter training fund.
Worst of all, it books over $800 million in phony money that we already know will never materialize. You can’t just make up numbers and then say you have a balanced budget.
Why are Republicans being dishonest to Minnesotans? They are attempting to cover up the very simple truth at the heart of this budget debate.
Right now, Minnesota has an unfair tax system that penalizes the middle-class and rewards the rich. Republicans are so committed to protecting that unfair tax system, that they’re willing to sacrifice our schools, our economy, and the pocketbooks of middle-class families to do so.
Not once have Republicans been able to identify a single way the wealthiest Minnesotans will be asked to participate in this budget challenge under their plan. Yet we know, conclusively, that their budget will squeeze middle-class families, and hurt seniors, children, and vulnerable members of our society.”