Letter: Education hearing ignored many factsRecently, this newspaper wrote a story about three Twin Cities lawmakers traveling to southwestern Minnesota to discuss education funding and their belief that Legislative Republicans are unwilling to compromise with Governor Dayton on a budget deal.
By: Dist. 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, Worthington Daily Globe
Recently, this newspaper wrote a story about three Twin Cities lawmakers traveling to southwestern Minnesota to discuss education funding and their belief that Legislative Republicans are unwilling to compromise with Governor Dayton on a budget deal.
It’s interesting that these are the same Twin Cities lawmakers who consistently advocate for the flawed education formula that unfairly funds rural Minnesota schools.
As was rightfully noted by meeting attendee Linden Olson, “If we had the Republicans here we would hear a different thing. I think that this is symptomatic of what is wrong with the legislature.”
Truer words have never been spoken, Mr. Olson.
Neither I nor Rep. Rod Hamilton received an invitation to this legislative education discussion, which is why you received a one-sided report. I’m sure it was simply an oversight, Rep. Hamilton and I are always eager to meet with constituents and to have honest dialogue.
At a time when Minnesota faces a $5.1 billion budget deficit, Republicans proposed an increase in education funding of more than $500 million this session. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed that proposal. Since then, the Legislature has made two compromise offers where we agreed to meet the governor’s education target number, meaning an additional $80 million for our schools.
For Worthington, the next two years could see an increase above and beyond the base increase by over $68,000. For other districts, it would be: Fulda $92,800; Round Lake $43,818; Brewster $97,440; Adrian $123,765; and Luverne $37,728.
Gov. Dayton dismissed our compromise of meeting his education target, and has not made one counteroffer to end this budget stalemate.
All the governor would have to do is call us into special session and we could complete the education portion of the budget without delay.
This has nothing to do with raising taxes. The governor had his wish list on education, and we are able to meet his priority without raising taxes.
Let’s be clear, the last thing I want is a government shutdown. But it appears we have a governor that is bound and determined to make this happen.
Since declaring on May 16 he wanted to spend $35.8 billion on government programs over the next two years — almost a $4 billion increase — Gov. Dayton has not made one attempt at compromise.
He’s not made one counteroffer. He’s not moved one inch.
Meanwhile, the Legislature has given the governor two compromise proposals and has bent over backwards to meet his funding goals on education — points I would have made had I known about the partisan education meeting in Worthington.