Don’t protect the rich to fix budget

Published 9:31 am Monday, June 6, 2011

The richest Minnesotans pay at a lower tax rate than middle class folks. In order to balance the state budget the Republican Party wants to cut Department of Health and Human Services funding for low-income families in regard to health, food, housing and education. (The average age of homeless people in Minnesota is 7 years.) Republicans are working against the equalization of the tax rate for the top 2 percent, so favoring the wealthiest among us.

All of my old Sunday School teachers would have been critical of this plainly political position. I believe one would have called the Republican priority un-Christian.  (She always called it like she saw it.)

To protest protecting the rich at the expense of poor, I thought about having a bumper sticker made, blue and white, that said “The other party has no (heart shape).” But I can see someone retorting, “The other party has no brains.” Fair enough. So I recalled what several surveys have found most Minnesotans want: The two parties to work together in really compromising and fixing the budget crisis. So the bumper sticker now will say: Work together. Fix the budget. But not on the backs of the poor.

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As a retired educator, I would be impacted by a state government shutdown. But if that is what it takes for real compromise to happen, so be it. Minnesotans, who do not ignore the ethical issue in this conflict, share in my polite but firm request. Neither party should feel “entitled” right now. Both should be working their butts off, not for hypothetical constituents who could become outnumbered, but for all of the people, including homeless children.

Dan Gartrell