While each of those priorities would add to the existing imbalance between projected spending and revenue in Minnesota’s budget, Shunkwiler said he is simply asking the state to make choices about which parts of the budget matter most.
“As someone who is trained as a leader in the Army, I want to make those tough choices,” he said.
Aiming for balance
Securing funding for Mankato’s civic center upgrade and expansion is a top goal for Brynaert. It’s not about bringing a perk home to her district, she said. It’s about making an investment in the state’s overall economic health by supporting a project that will help a vibrant regional center remain prosperous.
Brynaert points to the strong support of the civic center project by business leaders, the civic center’s track record in revitalizing a previously stagnant downtown, and the unique partnership between MSU and the city in sharing the arena.
On other issues — whether it’s addressing a state budget shortfall or streamlining regulations or reforming the tax code — Brynaert talks about seeking balance.
When there’s red ink to be eliminated, the best approach is a mix of spending cuts, revenue increases and use of reserves, she said. When regulations are being re-examined, it’s important to balance the needs of those being regulated with those whose interests are being protected by a law.
And when it comes to taxes, the issue goes beyond whether they’re too high or too low, Brynaert said. There’s also a question of fairness and whether holding the line on one tax is pushing others — like property taxes — higher.
“In a number of areas where the state has pulled back on investing, it’s come down to property taxes (picking up the burden),” she said.
House District 19B includes the bulk of Mankato, although some neighborhoods on the city’s western and northern sides are in Rep. Terry Morrow’s House District 19A. District 19B also includes Skyline, Eagle Lake and part of Mankato Township.