Guest Column: Contrasts are big in DFL and GOP budgets

Published 8:37 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Guest Column by Ken Martin

Ken Martin


Elections are about choices.

Email newsletter signup

Right now, Democrats and Republicans are offering Minnesotans a strikingly different vision for our future. When you look at the budgets that DFL Gov. Tim Walz and Republican President Donald Trump just released, the divide between our plans, our values and our vision is clear. On issue after issue, the DFL is investing in Minnesotans while the Republican Party is attacking what makes Minnesota great.

DFLers know that health care is a right, not a privilege for the wealthy. That’s why Gov. Walz’s budget works to expand access to the care that all Minnesotans deserve. Walz wants to invest in a high-quality public option, ONECare, expand low-cost care options in Greater Minnesota and lower prescription drug prices. These are smart, sensible investments in the health and well-being of folks all across the state.

Compare that to Donald Trump’s budget, which cuts $1 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade. These cuts would mean vulnerable communities in Minnesota, like our seniors and low-income families, may not be able to get the care they need. When so many are struggling to afford health care for themselves and their loved ones, I cannot fathom why our president would make this problem even worse.

The better choice for health care is clear.

When it comes to education, Gov. Walz is making historic investments in our children and the future of our state. DFLers are proud that Minnesota has some of the best schools in the nation. To ensure our educational system continues to be world class, Gov. Walz’s budget invests $733 million in pre-k through 12 schools and $158 million in higher education.

Donald Trump’s budget does the exact opposite. He’s calling for billions in cuts to the Department of Education and a massive increase in school privatization. Funding will be slashed for student loan forgiveness, teacher training, after-school programs and so much more if President Trump gets his way.

Once again, the choice is clear.

Minnesotans take care of one another. That’s why Gov. Walz’s budget calls for expanding affordable housing, increasing assistance for families living in poverty and investing heavily in Greater Minnesota, from health care access to economic development to improving our roads, bridges and broadband. The DFL believes that folks who work hard and play by the rules should be able to get ahead and stay ahead.

The Republicans have a different vision for our future. Donald Trump believes we should live in a winner-take-all society where those with means thrive while the rest of us fall behind. That’s why his budget guts food assistance for low-income families and cuts $25 billion from Social Security over the next decade, both of which would be felt sharply by people all over the state and across the political spectrum.

We all know that talk is cheap, and that’s why these budgets matter. They show what our elected officials are actually willing to spend their limited resources on. It is through those fiscal choices that we see what our elected officials value and who they are going to fight for. These aren’t just budgets, they are blueprints that show us the moral foundations of each party better than almost anything else.

When I look at these two budgets, here’s what I see: Walz and the DFL care deeply about the health, success and well-being of Minnesotans everywhere, and our investments in Minnesota prove it. Donald Trump and his Republican Party are openly attacking everything that makes our state great.

Elections are about choices, and the better choice for the future of Minnesota is clear.

Ken Martin is the DFL Party chairman.