Hamilton: New budget represents compromiseIt is unfortunate that our state employees and our citizens were forced into this process. During a shutdown, nobody wins. But if there is any positive out of this process, it is that for the first time in my legislative career we have enacted true and meaningful reform that will save Minnesotans billions of dollars in the future and streamline our government.
By: Dist. 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, Worthington Daily Globe
On July 20, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a new, two-year budget approved by the Minnesota Legislature that ended our state’s government shutdown. I’m happy the shutdown is over.
It is unfortunate that our state employees and our citizens were forced into this process. During a shutdown, nobody wins. But if there is any positive out of this process, it is that for the first time in my legislative career we have enacted true and meaningful reform that will save Minnesotans billions of dollars in the future and streamline our government.
Under the plan, projected spending from Minnesota’s General Fund was trimmed from $39 billion to just over $34 billion, which is what the state is projected to collect over this budget cycle.
In order to force government to live within its means, the Legislature compromised with Gov. Mark Dayton and agreed to spend more than $1 billion in one-time funding from other revenue sources.
But as part of the agreement, more than $3 billion was cut from state government, Minnesota’s General Fund is forced to live within its means, job-killing tax increases are avoided, and many long-proposed, money-saving reforms were finally enacted into law.
For example, I was able to convince leadership to secure $1.8 million for low rate nursing homes this budget cycle, something I’ve fought hard for every year since being elected to the Minnesota House. Rural schools will also see additional funding, and Local Government Aid will be funded at 2010 levels.
But with the agreement comes disappointment. I was troubled by the negative partisan tone taken by all sides during the debate, and accepts his share of the blame.
Early in session, it was clear we needed to take a partisan tone in order to get Gov. Dayton to take us seriously about the need to reduce spending, reform government and live within our means. It was uncomfortable, but sadly necessary in order to move forward. That said, throughout this session I’ve had a solid working relationship with the governor, and I’m pleased we were able to meet on a workable budget solution.
Though some of the provisions contained in the budget are not ideal, this agreement is certainly better than a continued shutdown.