Replay-Emmer Unveils Budget Plan “Part 3″

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer releases his third and final budget plan outlining spending priorities for state government.
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Click here to view press release from the Emmer campaign about his budget.

Emmer Budget Plan, Part 3:
Government Reform

Living within Our Means, Reforming and Prioritizing State Government

Tom Emmer today released his third and final budget plan outlining spending priorities for state government.

“Times are tough for most Minnesotans. People are afraid for their jobs and worry about whether their kids will enjoy the same standard of living they have had themselves,” Emmer said. “We need a fundamentally new direction for state government in order to meet these new challenges and revitalize our state.”

“Minnesotans are living within their means, they are spending less money overall, and they are focusing their spending on essentials. That is exactly the way state government must behave.” Emmer said that in the next biennium state revenues are projected to increase by over 7% to an estimated total of nearly $33 billion. “State government can perform its necessary functions within $33 billion available over the next two years.”

Emmer said that he released the first two parts of his budget plan to highlight his top priorities:

  • Tax relief for hard-pressed Minnesota employers to reinvest and create new jobs.
  • Holding K–12 education harmless from cuts while pursuing reforms to improve student achievement.

“I want the public to know where my priorities are – creating jobs and improving education,” said the small business owner and father of seven. “Senator Dayton and Tom Horner have announced their budget priority: preserving the status quo in government. They are both members of the political class, who think raising taxes on hard-pressed Minnesotans is better than asking government to become more efficient.”

Emmer said that his budget plan is the only one of the three plans which: provides significant tax relief for businesses to hire new workers, balances the budget without raising taxes, funds K–12 education without cuts, and demands reexamination and reform from the rest of state government agencies and programs.

Emmer also noted that his is the only budget plan which offers specific funding targets for all the major spending categories in state government’s budget. “My opponents have criticized me for not putting this out earlier. Timing is not the most important measure of a balanced budget. Honesty is. I have produced a complete, and more importantly, an honest budget plan. Mark Dayton’s so-called ‘budget plan’ does not balance and has major omissions – he promises new spending but has no way to pay for it. Tom Horner’s plan has more detail, but he hides behind ‘redesign teams’ and vague goals to ‘balance’ his budget plan.”

Emmer said that he believes all major spending areas of state government need reform and new spending priorities can be funded within existing budget categories. Some areas of the budget will not see spending reductions, including K–12 education, public safety and the courts. Health and human services will see a $650 million increase in state funding from the previous biennium.

Tom Emmer’s Budget Plan for Reforming Government

1. Hold state spending in FY2012–13 to projected revenues minus job-creation tax relief.

Current state general fund spending (FY2010–11) is $30.7 billion, not including $2.2 billion in additional one-time federal “stimulus” money to soften projected budget cuts. Tom Emmer believes that Minnesotans cannot shoulder the higher tax burdens which Mark Dayton and Tom Horner propose. Emmer also believes that the only correct policy to solve Minnesota’s jobs deficit is to provide employers with tax relief so they reinvest in their businesses and hire new workers.

With state revenue projections expected to grow to $32.9 billion in FY2012–13, Tom Emmer believes we can help employers create new jobs, hold K–12 education funding harmless, and maintain core services with broad reforms without raising taxes.

2. Reprioritize unsustainable, run-away human services spending to focus on the most vulnerable.

Left unchecked, health and human services spending increases will destroy Minnesota’s ability to fund schools, roads, public safety, and other core functions. Health and Human Services is set for a 32% percent increase in FY2012–13. If left unchecked Health and Human Services spending will more than consume current state revenue by 2020.

  • Refocus spending on programs for children and seniors which have been historically underfunded.
  • Work with the legislature to reform programs for adults.
  • Health and Human Services will total $9.6 billion; a $650 million increase in state funding.
3. Reform the relationship between state and local governments.
  • Reform Local Government Aid to focus solely on public safety and critical infrastructure needs. Originally LGA was a means to help property-tax poor local units of government meet critical needs like policing, fire protection, and sewer services. Over several decades, LGA expanded to an often politically targeted subsidy for many local governments – in the process paying for non-critical services. Tom Emmer believes that LGA spending must be held to a level which will meet its original purpose but not more.
  • Give local governments relief from state mandates. Work with the League of Minnesota Cities, Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and Association of Minnesota Counties to identify mandate reforms that will alleviate unnecessary burdens on local units of government.
4. Put state government bureaucracies on a diet.
  • Cut bureaucracies and programs which are not fundamental to state government’s mission.
  • Reduce the government workforce through attrition and early-retirement.
  • Merge agencies to streamline decision making and reduce costs.

Additional budget information is available below as PDFs.