Joyce Hagen, of Woodbury, writes to the Woodbury Bulletin of the need for shared responsibility as the state tackles the economic crisis and fix the budget deficit.
I would like to be one voice for the elderly and people with disabilities.
I have a great respect for the Minnesota Senate’s approach to solving the state’s .6 billion deficit.
I have spoken to many representatives, including Rep. Julie Bunn, and could not be more proud that she is my representative. She clearly understands the hard decisions that need to be done and has the knowledge and passion to know that as Minnesotans we all need to make sacrifices.
According to the governor’s purposed budget, K-12 education will not share in the funding cuts — placing a disproportionate burden on health and human services cuts — totaling .4 billion.
We all know that education has some strong advocates, with the unions as well as teachers and parents. Who will speak up for the elderly and the disabled?
It is apparent that the governor wants to balance the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable population that do not have the voice to speak for themselves. I am here to say we all need to share in the responsibility and work together to continue to make Minnesota a state we are proud to live in.
Governor Pawlenty’s budget continues to rely on accounting shifts and bonds to reduce the deficit to the tune of over 2 billion dollars. But the state can’t afford more of the same budget gimmicks–these only push the problem back a few years, at which point we’ll have to address them again.
The budget plan that the governor has proposed includes a deficit of approximately billion, even after nearly billion in federal stimulus funding is included. The governor proposes to address that deficit by issuing bonds, which will supposedly be repaid through future proceeds from the state’s tobacco settlement. With interest, the bonds will require payment of a total of .7 billion over 20 years.
Minnesota has the opportunity, and the capacity, to solve the myriad of problems we face, but as Joyce said, the solution will require shared sacrifice and shared responsibility.
One thing’s for sure: we can’t allow the Governor to balance the budget on our most vulnerable populations. Earlier this week, the Star Tribune reported that more and more people across Minnesota are slipping through the "public" safety net, a net which has grown thin because of budget cuts over the last six year.
State data tell the story. The number of people getting subsidized medical coverage through MinnesotaCare has fallen by 25 percent, even though the number of uninsured Minnesotans is rising. The share of jobless workers who receive unemployment benefits is dropping, even as the job market suffers its worst recession since 1982.
To get our state back on track, we need a comprehensive budget, balancing-solution which focuses on the priorities: creating good-paying jobs, providing universal access to health care, a fair tax structure, and keeping families in their homes.
But Governor Pawlenty’s plan focuses on different priorities (like Iowa).
Sign the petition asking Governor Pawlenty to support a budget which will build a successful Minnesota for the future, not hurt those in the most need of help.