The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 14, 2012

Woodard campaigning in new territory against Wolf

(Continued)

LE SUEUR —

Lawmakers also need to focus more on government efficiency, changes the Republican majority has already gotten under way, Woodard said.

“We’re not doing things the same way, we’re doing them smarter,” he said. “And those are the kinds of reforms we need to continue to push.”

Wolf’s approach

Wolf said the Republican budget plan, largely accepted by Dayton to end the shutdown, disproportionately hurt middle-class and lower-income Minnesotans while protecting the top 2 percent of earners.

“The last budget solution was an all-bruises budget,” Wolf said. “... Who did they ask to take the lumps here? It was our families and it was our children.”

He points to the elimination of the market value homestead credit, a reduction in the renters credit, cuts to higher education and cuts to early childhood education.

“Asking our children to sacrifice,” Wolf said. “Pricing more and more of our middle-class families out of the opportunity for a college education.”

Wolf said he would support Dayton’s general approach of asking wealthier Minnesotans to pay more, although he said the new budget cycle will change how much they should be asked to pay.

“If you’re going to ask our middle-class families and our working families to make a sacrifice, you should ask something from those more fortunate,” he said.

Wolf, like Woodard, wants to use any new revenue first for putting an end to the borrowing from schools. But easing the burden of property taxes is also crucial.

“The school shift repayment and property tax relief, those are going to be my priorities,” he said.

Wolf discounts Republican warnings that Democratic control of the Legislature, combined with Dayton in the governor’s office, means huge tax increases for Minnesotans. Republicans essentially borrowed — from schools and from future tobacco company payments owed the state — to fix most of the deficit, he said.

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