The Governor and legislature are at loggerheads over fixing the state budget.
Public opinion, however, clearly favors a balanced approach that preserves critical education services, public safety and health care with a mix of new revenue and spending cuts. In a recent Minnesota Poll, 63 percent of respondents supported a combination of revenue increases and spending cuts, and in a Public Policy Polling survey released June 1, a similar percentage supported a tax increase on the wealthiest two percent of Minnesotans over a cuts-only budget solution.
Newspaper editorials from across the state are supporting a balanced approach to meeting our state’s needs, noting the damage that a cuts-only approach would do to critical services and Minnesota’s economic future. Many also note that the legislature’s budget would simply shift more responsibilities to local governments and local property taxes. Just some examples include:
[W]hen times get tough, businesses and households don’t merely cut costs. They also look for ways to increase their income. We believe Minnesota should do the same. – Rochester Post-Bulletin, May 31
Property taxes on businesses and homeowners will rise. The cost of doing business will not only impact jobs, but also create an uncompetitive tax structure in outstate Minnesota. The stakes for outstate Minnesota have never been higher. – Mankato Free Press, May 24
The ‘no new taxes’ claim rings hollow. At best, it passes the buck (literally) to local jurisdictions…[I]t’s mystifying as to why Republicans are so wedded to no new taxes and a ‘cuts-only’ budget plan. From 2010 Election Day results to the latest polls, nothing points to a majority of Minnesotans approving of that strategy. – St. Cloud Times, May 18
[P]roposed GOP cuts in health care and income support for the poorest adults would push costs onto county balance sheets. The state’s three largest counties – Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis – would almost certainly see substantial property tax increases as a result. Other counties and regional hub cities would also be pinched by the GOP bills, and can be expected to respond by both cutting services and bumping up property taxes. – Star Tribune, June 2
A state that once invested heavily in education has seen its K-12 school funding slip to the bottom third among states. Higher education budgets have been gutted, forcing tuition costs for our young people to the highest levels in the nation for public colleges and universities…Governor Mark Dayton promised to stop the bleeding and return to a balanced approach to the state budget, that included a mix of spending cuts and tax increases on the wealthiest Minnesotans. Polls show clear majorities of Minnesotans support that approach. – Timberjay, May 27
There is scant evidence to prove that raising the tax rate on the highest earners drives wealth away. Companies locate in places like Minnesota for a variety of reasons, including workforce, quality of life and services available from entities like the government…It’s time for everyone to pay their fair share. – Winona Daily News, May 28
[W]e must seek to find a just framework for a budget that does not rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. Those of us who are able must be willing to make shared sacrifices, including the raising of adequate revenues to pay our bills. – Archbishop John Neinstedt, Catholic Spirit
Now it’s your turn. As budget negotiations continue to come down to the wire and threaten a government shutdown, this is a critical time to join the public dialogue and raise awareness about what is at stake. Fire up your computer and send a letter to the editor expressing your concerns about proposed budget cuts and your support for a balanced approach, including new revenue, that maintains critical investments in Minnesota’s economic vitality and quality of life. Contact Leah Gardner for assistance and letter-writing tips.