“The bottom line, Members, is that a middle-class job is a middle-class job. What you are doing in your state budget is continuing to squeeze the middle class, and over and over again we’ve asked, “What role in actually solving our challenges, our state deficit, are the richest Minnesotans going to play in your budget deficit?” and we have gotten silence. We should all be in this together, Members. That is all that we are asking for. We need to do cuts. Everybody needs to do their share, but you’ve got to stop squeezing the middle class. You’ve got to stop putting the entire burden of this budget on the middle class in this state.”
-MN House DFL Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen
MN Republicans debated their proposed budget under the cover of night last week, a practice much more frequent this session than in the past. The proposal shifts tax burdens disproportionately onto property owners, which is being advertised as “no new taxes” by MN GOPers. The increased property tax burden would also affect business owners, who Republicans typically favor when it comes to taxes in general, but the GOP proposal overwhelmingly burdens the middle class.
Highlights of the GOP proposal include the following:
- Cuts $21 million statewide.
- Cuts integration aid funding for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth schools.
- Caps funding for special education with no mandate relief.
- Creates tuition vouchers for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth students to attend a private or parochial school using public funds.
- Cuts local government aid to cities and counties.
- Elimination of the Market Value Homestead Credit.
- Raises $1.3 billion property tax increase over the next four years. Renters lose refund eligibility.
- Projected to increase property taxes on rental buildings by 7%-10%.
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Cuts spending by 58% over current levels.
- Cuts training resources to laid-off workers, capital and consulting for businesses looking to expand and incentives for companies looking to startup in Minnesota.
- Cuts $129 million for metro area transit.
- $138 million cut to state’s transportation efforts, including MnDOT.
- Eliminates all appropriations for commuter and passenger rail activity from the General Fund and prohibits MnDOT from expending funds for intercity passenger rail planning.
- Cuts funding for victims of child sex abuse, services for battered women, sexual assault providers, community crime prevention and gang and drug task forces.
- U of M and MnSCU will be cut by over $400 million, the largest cut in state history.
- Returns higher ed funding to 1998 levels while serving tens of thousands more students.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
- Repeals early Medicaid enrollment which Governor Dayton signed via executive order in January.
- Adds over 105,000 Minnesotans to the rolls of the uninsured.
- Repeals bipartisan, cost saving reforms passed in 2008.