What are you (yes, you!) willing to do to help balance Minnesota’s state budget?
At Friday’s 2013 Session Line Up, sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF), Assistant Minority Leader Senator Dave Thompson stated that no one has ever told him “Raise my taxes” or “Cut my government funding.”
While the audience didn’t necessarily agree (breaking into applause when a member of the faith community rose to say that he and others are willing to pay more to better our community), Thompson’s point has some validity: Who is going to step up to solve Minnesota’s structural budget deficit?
Majority Leader Senator Tom Bakk kicked off the morning’s presentations by emphatically stating that fixing the state’s budget problems is the top priority for the upcoming legislative session. He bemoaned the crisis-to-crisis budget shenanigans (e.g., accounting gimmicks, spending shifts, etc.) of the last decade and committed to solving the problem once and for all.
And how will he and his colleagues deliver on that promise? By raising taxes and cutting spending.
Embracing Governor Dayton’s mantra of taxing the wealthy, Bakk affirmed that higher wage earners will pay more. But he didn’t offer up any specifics about spending cuts. And he cited at least one priority — all-day kindergarten — that will certainly cost more.
Also on the Senate DFLers’ priority list are establishing the state health insurance exchange system, raising the minimum wage, and requiring a legislative super majority to bring forward constitutional amendments.
Bakk’s comments were followed by those of Bob Hume, Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Dayton, Speaker of the House Paul Thissen, Deputy Minority Leader Representative Jenifer Loon, and Thompson. Hume confirmed that Governor Dayton is seeking a fairer, more progressive tax system. He also hinted that tobacco taxes will be in the budget presented by the governor on January 22. (For more on Hume’s comments, see Doug Grow’s MinnPost article.)
So, are you ready to do your part for the greater good? Whether or not you want to volunteer for higher taxes or reduced government support, now’s the time to be heard at the state capitol. All the speakers at Friday’s 2013 Session Line Up said their doors are open.
Without your input, it will be difficult for state officials to make the most informed budget decisions. And with your input, we can together create a fiscally sound state now and into the future.
- Wendy Wehr, MCF v.p. of communications and information services