Letter: Reader says Hamilton's letter didn't have its facts straightIn Rep. Rod Hamilton’s July 6, 2011, letter, he argued that Gov. Dayton is solely responsible for the government shutdown and absolved the state house Republicans of any responsibility.
By: Debra Hogenson, Brewster, Worthington Daily Globe
In Rep. Rod Hamilton’s July 6, 2011, letter, he argued that Gov. Dayton is solely responsible for the government shutdown and absolved the state house Republicans of any responsibility. Rep. Hamilton is the GOP House whip, and it would serve his needs to transfer responsibility from his party to others. However, it would have been better if he had limited his arguments to the facts.
In his letter, Rep. Hamilton stated that in the last budget cycle, “Minnesota spent $32 billion.” But in February 2011, the House Fiscal Staff informed the state legislature that $34.370 billion was spent. Rep. Hamilton was given the correct budget figures. (These figures can be verified on Minnesota Public Radio’s Political Polygraph website.)
The budget proposed by Rep. Hamilton, Speaker Kurt Zellers, and Majority Leader Matt Dean would have required deep cuts to our schools, nursing homes and services for the disabled. The GOP leadership may say otherwise, but the facts are that spending cannot be reduced to $34 billion without significant cuts.
Rep. Hamilton’s letter mentioned that he and the Legislature made three budget compromise offers. Unfortunately the offers were faux proposals, filled with financial shifts and gimmicks that merely transferred the growing budget crisis into the next cycle.
Minnesotans are weary of the chronic budget fights. We want a long-term, financially stable solution. But we also understand that problem will not be easily resolved. The legislature and voters are ideologically divided on the best approach to take. Principled compromise is needed. The place to start is limiting conversations to facts and negotiating in good faith. I am disappointed in Rep. Hamilton and hope he will set aside his political gamesmanship and get down to the real business of Minnesota.