House Speaker Kurt Daudt wrote an opinion article for the Star Tribune last week that highlighted the Republican-led House’s budget proposal, but Daudt leaves out the most important information about the GOP’s plans.
The Republican budget consists of crippling cuts at a time when we have a $1.9 billion surplus, including slashing funding for education, a transportation plan that resembles Swiss cheese, and kicking 100,000 low-income Minnesotans off of affordable healthcare.
Some of Daudt’s statements from the Strib article are particularly questionable given what he claims the House’s goals are, and what they actually proposed in their budget.
Daudt’s statement: “A core function of state government [is] roads and bridges.”
Daudt claims that funding roads and bridges is an essential part of what state government is meant to do; however, the GOP’s transportation plan provides only 13 percent of what’s needed to fix our system, which amounts to only 3.75 bridges in Greater Minnesota. Republicans claim their proposal is an attempt at a long-term plan for transportation needs in the state, but MnDOT estimates that we need about $6 billion now in order to properly maintain safe roads and bridges. Much of their funding for transportation comes from “realigning resources,” which is a fancy way to say “shifts and gimmicks.”
Daudt’s statement: “The House Republican budget increases funding for K-12 education.”
The House plan increases funding by a mere 0.6 percent. Educators in Greater Minnesota are expected to be especially at a loss from this Republican proposal.
Daudt’s statement: “Government spending should not grow faster than family budgets.”
From the House’s budget, this statement could be true, but “business and wealthy tax cuts” need to be inserted as exceptions for things that are allowed to grow faster than family budgets for it to be entirely true. GOP legislators want to implement more than $2.3 billion in tax cuts, which is more than the available surplus. Their proposal also cuts healthcare by $1 billion. Plus, Republican legislators want to eliminate corporate property taxes completely, which would cost us billions while hurting small businesses in the process.
What Daudt proposes in the Strib article sounds nice, but it doesn’t meet up with reality. Republicans claim their budget would provide relief to college students, but they nearly guaranteed tuition increases for thousands of students with their Higher Education bill.
Minnesota needs a budget that allows for real growth that applies to our students, roads and bridges, and low-wage workers who need affordable healthcare.
The House Republican budget seems to be a quick-fix band-aid applied to a problem that requires much more than that.
Daudt’s article stresses that we need to “start considering how the decisions we make today will affect our children and grandchildren ten years from now.”
Giving them a working infrastructure of roads without potholes and bridges that are safe to drive across is a great way to do that. Increasing education funding so they have access to better resources and educators who work hard for their success is an invaluable investment in our future. Making sure low-wage workers can afford to take themselves and their children to the doctor when they’re sick is one way to make a decision that helps people ten years from now.
Why doesn’t the Republican House budget work for working families instead of big corporations?
Minnesotans and our children deserve that.