The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 22, 2013

Republican restraint produced surplus

Minnesota’s economic experts released our state’s economic projections recently showing a $1.086 billion surplus for fiscal year 2014-15. This figure is subject to change by the February forecast, some of which depends on how secure hard working Minnesotan’s feel about spending for Christmas.

Only 6 percent of the surplus, about $55 million is actually cash in the checkbook. We have 19 more months in this 2-year budget cycle, meaning this projection is clearly at risk going forward.

The past legislative session, Gov. Mark Dayton and Democrats’ budget took an additional $2.3 billion in new taxes and fees (1) from Minnesotans. At the same time spending was up $3 billion over FY2012/13 and the Senate rewarded themselves salary increases (2)(3) and a $90 million new Senate office building (4), complete with a reflecting pool!

Democrats celebrate taking more money for their spending spree, while parents are working two to three jobs to pay for their cost of living and health-care increases due to Obamacare. According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (5), 49 percent of Minnesota’s workforce remains underemployed.

In comparison, the Republican majority’s fiscal year 2012-13 budget produced a surplus of $3.46 billion (6) (Enacted 2011) without raising taxes, but by controlling out-of-control spending. Republicans also passed legislation to pay back the school shift they continued from the former DFL legislature but Dayton vetoed (7) that proposed payback. Keep in mind that the DFL enacted taxes have only been in the budget four months. Yes four months! The DFL is trying to take credit for something when their tax and spending budget has barely gotten out of park, which is absurd!

When a legislature increases spending it also substantially increases our future financial obligations. Government programs never go away voluntarily; they only continue to grow and demand more taxpayer dollars to justify their existence. Obamacare along with MNsure are good examples of this. Rather than work to fixing the problem of a small percentage of folks that didn’t have health insurance and battling the rising cost of health care, government is making matters worse.

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