GOP All-Cuts Budget Targets Called “Fake”, “Silly” and Lacking Fiscal Discipline

2011 Legislative Session

“Despite their rhetoric of ‘no new taxes’, Republicans are proposing huge tax increases on every homeowner and renter in the state,” DFL Senator John Marty said today at a joint news conference with Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk. “But corporations don’t have to worry. At the same time that Republicans are increasing taxes for homeowners, they are proposing to eliminate the state property tax for corporations. The Republican bill subsidizes a huge corporate tax break through tax increases on working families. This trade-off may please the Chamber of Commerce, but there is no fairness for the working families struggling through these difficult economic times.”

Meanwhile, over in the junior chamber, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen points out that the transportation bill violates a pledge made by Republicans on the campaign trail not to raise revenue. He says the bill contains a number of fees: $2 for becoming an organ donor, $1.50 for motor vehicle transactions, $15 for getting a permit to move a dock or a boat lift, a $1.75 “technology surcharge” for licensing and registration. Thissen also complains about the bill taking local sales tax money that was set aside for light rail and express busses and moves it into the general fund to pay for other transportation cuts.

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Representative Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley/St. Louis Park) says the budget Republicans are offering is counting on savings that cannot be guaranteed. He says the proper way to do this is to expect no savings until it is proven you can get it. The State Government Finance Bill says the the state will bring in $170 Million more in revenue. Winker implies that there is no guarantee it will work and then state commissioners will be faced with making the choices of what to cut instead of the legislature making those cuts. He says doing it this way is “throwing out fiscal discipline.”

Representative Nora Slawik (DFL-Oakdale) likens the Republican Government Reform Bill to a “Christmas Tree. It has every kind of reform in it all at once … which isn’t effective: Zero based budgeting, Federal offset, tax analytics, salary freeze, reclassifying jobs, performance appropriations bonds, performance pay, the savvy program, early retirement, we can’t do it all. So I think it isn’t realistic, it isn’t responsible and it’s phony.”

Finally, Representative Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley/St. Louis Park) says the Republican budget is “making up numbers” to meet “fake budget targets” that are “silly and ridiculous and doesn’t have any kind of basis in reality for how to fund state government operations.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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