Letter: GOP compromising, not DaytonIf your boss offered you a 6 percent raise over the next two years, you would likely jump at the opportunity to accept it. Yet in the eyes of Gov. Mark Dayton, a 6 percent revenue increase is not enough to fund state government over the next two years.
By: Dist. 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, Worthington Daily Globe
If your boss offered you a 6 percent raise over the next two years, you would likely jump at the opportunity to accept it. Yet in the eyes of Gov. Mark Dayton, a 6 percent revenue increase is not enough to fund state government over the next two years.
I’ve received a few e-mails lately from folks who’ve bought into a handful of media reports that suggest the Legislature refuses to compromise with Gov. Dayton on a budget deal.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Minnesota’s previous budget was $31 billion. Many members of the legislative majority knew we would face a mammoth budget deficit this session, and campaigned on the promise to force government to live within its means and not spend any more than we are currently spending on government programs.
Meanwhile, when Gov. Dayton outlined his budget priorities, he suggested we enact a multi-billion tax increase in order to craft a $37 billion budget.
Since then, we’ve learned that Minnesota is expected to collect roughly $34 billion without needing to raise anyone’s taxes.
The Minnesota House majority then made a bold move towards compromise with the governor. Rather than sticking to our initial position of spending no more than the previous $31 billion budget, we decided to meet Governor Dayton halfway and propose a $3 billion increase in spending for a total budget of $34 billion. To majority lawmakers, this move made sense as we could move to the middle of both proposals without having to raise anyone’s taxes in the process.
Gov. Dayton responded by lowering his budget target to roughly $35.8 billion, and insisting the Legislature enact a nearly $2 billion tax increase on Minnesotans in order to fund his 15 percent increase in government spending.
This week, the House debated his tax increase proposal and shot it down on a bipartisan basis by a 73-60 vote. The votes in the House to raise taxes simply aren’t there. Now the governor is asking us to meet him halfway between our budget proposals so we can end session on time.
The Legislature is already there. Our definition of halfway is our previous proposal of $31 billion and his previous proposal of $37 billion, leaving $34 billion. The governor’s definition is between our new $34 billion and his new $3.58 billion.
Under our offer, we will be spending $3 billion more this biennium than last biennium — that’s $3 billion in new revenue folks — or an increase of 6 percent. To me, a 6 percent increase in new revenue and spending when many lawmakers campaigned on none is a compromise.
District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton
R-Mountain LakeMore from around the web