Letter: Disaster relief should be priority

Published 9:00 am Sunday, April 23, 2017

We were all shocked when we experienced a tornado in early March, but just as shocking today is that Peggy Bennett and the Republican leaders in the Legislature are choosing to cut taxes for corporations, the rich and the well-connected instead of providing disaster relief for Minnesota.

As we all know too well, disasters can strike at any time — and when they do, Minnesotans have always come together to provide help to people in need. Thankfully, Gov. Mark Dayton provided disaster assistance funding for Freeborn County already to help with repairs and cleanup. But the fund that allowed Dayton to act quickly is dangerously low and facing a massive shortfall if another disaster strikes and relief is needed — something we’ve seen in previous years.

When the state has a surplus, we shouldn’t force communities impacted by natural disasters to sit and wait weeks to find out if help is on the way. Minnesota has a strong history of coming together to provide relief. But letting the disaster relief fund go bankrupt during a budget surplus is shameful. If Peggy Bennett and Republicans aren’t going to stand up for Minnesota, we should find someone who will.

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Joan Anderson

Albert Lea