GOP legislators send false letters

Published 10:08 am Friday, June 17, 2011

I am deeply disappointed — but not surprised — by recent inaccurate letters submitted by Republican legislators to local papers across the state. The Republican legislators’ budget that squeezes middle class Minnesotans and small businesses to protect their special interest friends is not something I’d be proud of either.

I actually trust that Minnesotans armed with accurate facts will make the right decision about which budget best represents their priorities.

Here are some important, nonpartisan numbers that every Minnesotan should know about the state budget:

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• Minnesota faces an historic $5 billion budget deficit.

• The first and only Republican budget was set at $34 billion, a small reduction in state spending, not the 6 percent increase Republicans or their TV ads claim.

• Several weeks ago, Gov. Mark Dayton cut his original budget proposal in half, offering a budget that includes a balanced mix of cuts and tax increases on just the top 2 percent of Minnesotans.

As the saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts. The numbers above are facts, backed up by countless nonpartisan sources, including newspaper editorial boards across the state. (see: Star Tribune: The parties’ budget plans, clarified.)

Three separate public polls confirm that most Minnesotans want a balanced approach of cuts and revenues to solve the state budget deficit. And all Minnesotans want their elected leaders to seek compromise.

It’s time for legislative Republicans to put people before politics by telling the truth and seeking real compromise. Gov. Dayton’s compromise budget solution has the right priorities — protecting middle class families from bearing the burden alone by asking the richest few to also do their part to solve our budget deficit. That’s what Minnesotans want, it’s what the DFL legislators support, and now it’s up to the Republicans to get the job done.

Paul Thissen

state representative

DFL House Minority Leader