The Legislature took an important step today to solve our budget
shortfall and I would like to share with you our plan to raise
responsible revenue in order to prevent the closure of hospitals,
nursing homes and deep cuts to our schools.
Throughout the legislative session, we have been debating how best to
solve our $6.4 billion shortfall. The Governor and Legislature have
agreed both cuts and new revenue is needed to solve our shortfall in
order to prevent dramatic and deep cuts. Without new revenue, over $1
billion will be cut from hospitals and nursing homes and $600 million
from our schools. In total, these cuts would cause the loss of over
20,000 Minnesota jobs and the closure of many hospitals and nursing
In our area, that will mean about $50 million will be cut from Regions
Hospital in St. Paul and about $34 million would be cut from the St.
Paul school district.
The Governor has proposed about $1.5 billion in cuts and the House has
proposed $1.6 billion - $100 million more in cuts than the Governor.
The Governor has proposed a revenue plan that raises $1 billion through
borrowing which would be paid back over the next 20 years with $600
million in interest. This revenue plan does not appear to be an option
because it was voted down bipartisanly by the Legislature on a vote of
131 to 2.
To strike a balance, the Legislature offered a plan today that raises
the same amount of revenue the Governor is proposing, but does so
without asking our children to pay for it. Minnesota’s highest earners
would pay a slightly higher income tax rate, tax on alcoholic beverages
would increase by a few cents– the first increase in 22 years, and
credit card companies that charge customers more than 15 percent in
interest will be asked to pay a surcharge. The revenue raised will go
directly towards preventing catastrophic cuts to schools, hospitals and
nursing homes and nothing else - and the income tax provisions will
sunset once our economy recovers.
While it’s never easy voting for any tax increases, the alternative
would be closing hospitals, nursing homes and dramatically cutting our
schools. In my opinion, we must take the difficult but responsible
action to cut spending and raise reasonable revenue in order to prevent
catastrophic cuts to our most important Minnesota values. It’s the
best way to pull Minnesota through this budget crisis without
jeopardizing the future health of our state.
If the Governor disagrees and will not support any new revenue, our
schools, hospitals and nursing homes will be faced with the dramatic
cuts I have listed above. I encourage you to share your thoughts with me
about our plan to raise revenue to preserve our schools, hospitals and
nursing homes and to contact the Governor as well. You can call the
Governor at 651-296-3391.
Posted on Friday, May 8, 2009 by Erin Murphy,