Republicans work to undo two years of DFL progress in two days
In the span of two days, the Republican majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives proposed to erase two years of progress for working families secured by Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL legislators.
“In a 48-hour time period, House Republicans put Minnesotans on notice that they are recycling their failed policies of the past,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “This is a far cry from Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL legislators plans to invest in children, students and families for long-term success.”
House Republicans finally acknowledge that Gov. Dayton is correct and that Minnesota is facing a multi-billion dollar, multi-year fix for our deteriorating roads and bridges, yet they still haven’t figured out how to honestly pay to get the job done.
“Reminiscent of years past, Republicans want to shift money around to meet financial obligations,” Martin said. “They want to take money from the general fund to pay for roads and bridges, all so they can maintain a rigid ideological approach to governing.
“The two largest areas of the general fund pay for educating our children and caring for our most vulnerable students. The Republicans are pitting street repairs against students and safe bridges against seniors. This isn’t a game where the Republicans get to pick who the winners are. Unfortunately under the Republican proposals all of Minnesota would end up losing.”
Later the same day, House Republicans passed a tip penalty bill to repeal last year’s minimum wage legislation for workers who earn tips. A tip penalty would set a new, lower minimum wage and eliminate indexing for workers who earn tips.
“Why is it that the Republicans always try to balance budgets on the backs of the hardest working people in our state?” Martin said. “The minimum wage is set to be a floor and tips are rewards for good service and shouldn’t be used as an excuse for employers to pay servers less. This proposal is a direct blow to families’ economic security because 70 percent of servers are women, many who care for family members.”
Republicans rounded out the two-day assault on working Minnesotans with a budget proposal that recycles failed policies from the past. Rather than using the state’s budget surplus, which was created by more Minnesotans working at higher wages than at any other time, to ensure all Minnesotans are taking part in the economy recovery, Republicans slash care for the disabled and seniors; pit University of Minnesota (U of M) and Minnesota State College and University (MnSCU) students against each other; and cut economic development programs aimed at creating jobs in rural communities. Republicans said they want to see $2 billion in tax cuts, but they did not specify who would benefit from their plan.
“We don’t have to skip to the last chapter of the book to know how this story ends; tax cuts do not build economic prosperity,” Martin said. “What will move Minnesota forward is Gov. Dayton’s proposals to provide free pre-school for all 4-year-olds to ensure they get a great start to their education; freezing college tuition for both U of M and MnSCU students; and expanding the Child Care Tax Credit for working families.”
In the coming days, the DFL majority in the Minnesota Senate will provide its budget targets which will highlight a sharp contrast between the House and Senate plans with an honest budget from DFL leaders.
“Luckily for Minnesotans, the Senate plan should align more with Gov. Dayton’s vision on how to build an even better Minnesota for all,” Martin said. “While the GOP sticks to failed policies of the past to protect special interests, Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators remain committed to preparing for the state’s future economic success for working families.”
Ellen M. Perrault