Job losses cost the state in income, sales taxes

Published 6:49 pm Saturday, January 3, 2009

On Jan. 6 the Minnesota Legislature will convene for the 2009 legislative session. The overarching job of this session will be to craft a responsible solution to a large state budget deficit while at the same time laying the groundwork for a prosperous economic future. There are no easy answers or quick fixes, but I am confident that if we work together in an open bipartisan manner, we can craft solutions that will pave the way to a stronger Minnesota.

Every two years, the state Legislature creates a state budget for the upcoming biennium (2010-11). The creation of a balanced state budget will be very challenging due to the negative impact the national economic recession has placed on Minnesota’s economy. Our state economists are projecting a $5 billion state budget deficit. In assessing how best to balance our state budget we must go into the upcoming session with open minds, considering every idea from both political parties about how best to balance our state budget.

In whatever solutions or ideas we contemplate, job protection and job creation must be at the forefront of our minds. Over the past 12 months over 30,000 Minnesotans have lost their jobs and our state economists have projected that number may double in 2009. These job losses not only take a toll on families and communities, but also on taxpayers. Every job that is lost costs the state in less revenue (from sales and income taxes that would have been paid) and increased expenditures (for unemployment benefits and other forms of public assistance). Unless the solution to our budget problem addresses our jobs problem, we won’t have a solution that is in the best interest of Minnesota’s economic future.

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The main way to reduce the state deficit is to increase the number of good paying jobs by making Minnesota friendlier to businesses and corporations. There has been significant discussion of federal legislation that would spend up to $100 billion to create infrastructure jobs throughout the United States. At the state level, we should look to prioritize our existing budget to emphasize programs that create and sustain good paying jobs. We should also focus efforts to create green jobs in emerging renewable energy technologies.

As we consider various options to balance the budget, we must pay careful attention to both the short and long-term impact of our actions. This isn’t just a two-year budget problem. In fact, the method in which we balance our budget this year will affect the economic direction of our state and the quality of life for Minnesotans for many years to come. We need to ensure that legislative choices we make have a positive effect on families, businesses, our economy and the overall quality of life for Minnesotans.

We need to seize the opportunity before us to craft a budget that puts Minnesota on the right track for a stronger economic future. That means reforming and modernizing our existing state budget. This means keeping education at every level a top priority and it means making sure Minnesota businesses are ready to create green jobs in emerging technologies that will fuel our economy for decades to come.

District 27A has a reputation for collaboration between the public and private sectors. Cities, counties, townships, school districts and health care facilities have a history of working closely with their state legislators. I truly appreciate your personal input. More than ever, I encourage you to get involved in the legislative discussion as we work together to create a balanced solution for our current challenges. I encourage all of you to contact me with your thoughts, comments, and ideas.

The House of Representatives Web site ( also has a link you can click on to offer suggestions on how we can best solve our budget deficit.

It continues to be an incredible honor to represent you, and I look forward to working with you in the coming months. Please feel free to contact me at the following:

(507) 438-9086 cell

(507) 437-1403 home

Robin Brown, DFL-Moscow Township, is the state representative for District 27A.