The Budget Debate: Claims and Reality of the GOP Budget Proposal

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The Claim: Governor Dayton and the Democrats say the wealthiest Minnesotans can afford to pay more taxes….
But if we go down that road, we will simply continue the unsustainable growth of government spending that has led us to where we are today. And then we’ll have to do this same charade next budget. And the budget after that. And after that. And on and on. That’s the reality of the tax-and-spend status quo. That is what has happened in the past 20 years…ever increasing unsustainable government growing ever larger.

This debate is not about what the wealthy can afford. It is about what Minnesotans can afford–today, tomorrow and ten years from now. It is about creating a state where businesses grow and thrive, where families have confidence in our economy and community institutions, and where our children wake up every day to a brighter Minnesota. A state that keeps its workers here instead of seeing them go off to North Dakota. A state that welcomes businesses and their jobs and the value that creates for all of us.

The Claim: GOP budget raises property taxes by $1 billion.
The Reality: Property taxes are dictated by local government, and all but three cities receive the same state aid as 2010. Our budget realigns state government to economic reality and promotes an innovative environment that will help all levels of government become more efficient with existing revenues.

The Claim: GOP would rather protect the wealthy (top 2%) than the middle class.
The Reality: Governor Dayton’s tax increase would hit all of Minnesota—from employees of large companies to small business owners to anyone who makes an online hotel reservation. We are committed to protecting all of Minnesota from an uncompetitive business climate and promoting continued economic recovery.

After the State of Maryland added four new tax brackets on high-income earners in 2008, the state lost $1 billion of its net tax base by residents moving to other states. That’s income that’s now being taxed and is financing services in Virginia, South Carolina and elsewhere. We are standing against tax increases in order to create a fundamentally growth-friendly environment that allows our families and job creators to thrive in the 21st century economy. Adding a “snowbird” tax hurts our large group of senior boomers who stay in Minnesota longer than 60 days and hurts the restaurants, tourism and charitable events. That may be Arizona or Florida’s gain, but hardly good for Minnesota!

The Claim: GOP cuts more than 30,000 jobs.
The Reality: The GOP budget helps grow jobs in Minnesota by providing tax relief for job creators and removing the uncertainty caused by unsustainable spending. When it comes to our 15 percent workforce restructuring, this initiative can largely be achieved through attrition and by leveraging the wave of baby boom-generation retirees. Our budget will help Minnesota lead the economic recovery.

The Claim: GOP more focused on social issues (marriage, photo id, abortion) than budget.
The Reality: Within the first 100 days of session, the GOP passed a budget that reverses unsustainable spending, protects priorities and implements significant reforms across all areas of government. We spent four months on budget issues, pro-growth initiatives like the nuclear moratorium repeal, and reforms like alternative teacher certification. We will continue to drive forward our budget plan for a responsible, sustainable future.

The Claim: GOP cuts nursing homes, senior citizens.
The Reality: The GOP HHS bill increases funding to 69 nursing homes while providing increased flexibility for all. Our budget appropriates more than current spending and allows for more latitude in how that money is used, allowing our senior care providers to best serve our elderly. We protected the nursing homes whereas Gov. Dayton proposal cut their funding.

The Claim: GOP cuts the disabled.
The Reality: Our HHS bill is a $500 million increase from the current biennium. Moreover, the reductions in projected increases to selected grants and programs are a smaller percentage than the overall gap. The GOP budget promotes paths to increased independence for disability waiver recipients by requiring more frequent evaluations and determination of level of need, and is backed by priority-based policy and reform to ensure access, quality and value as we transform to a patient-centered system.

The Claim: GOP cuts education.
The Reality: The GOP budget increases state education funding 3.2% compared to last biennium. Our mission has been “kids first, no excuses, no exceptions.” Our budget includes the funding and the reforms to maximize our state education dollars and empower our students for the 21st century economy.

The Claim: GOP cuts aid to local governments.
The Reality: The GOP budget maintains state aid to local government at 2010 levels for all cities but Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Duluth—three of the largest tax-base cities. For all levels of government, we are implementing policy and pursuing innovation to reduce costs, promote efficiency and realign government to economic reality.

The Claim: GOP cuts transit services.
The Reality: The GOP budget increases funding for local roads by over $100 million. While the budget does include a reduction worth $40 million to certain transit programming, the County Transit Investment Board has the ability to contribute up to $69 million towards public transportation funding.

The Claim: GOP budget shuts down government.
The Reality: Only Governor Dayton can cause a government shutdown. And the Governor was already planning for a shutdown before session was even ended. The GOP passed a complete budget that funds government and makes it sustainable. If we have a government shutdown it will be thanks to a Governor that says $34 billion—$2 billion more than the last budget—is not enough and risks this state over a $1.8 billion tax increase . We know we can do better and better without a tax increase. Our budget is a fiscally responsible approach that funds priorities, promotes reform and sets our state up for a sustainable future.

In Service,
Roger Crawford

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