Republican budget proposal does not ‘protect local taxpayers’

Dear Editor:

It has been asserted that the budget bills passed by the MN House and MN Senate, and vetoed by the Governor, were a fair and balanced approach for the next biennium.

Speaker of the House, Kurt Zellers, has stated in various letters to the editors of local newspapers that the Republican Budget Proposal “protect(s) local tax payers,” and allows “Minnesotans to keep more of their hard earned money.” However, the Republican Budget Proposal does not “protect local taxpayers” from increases in their property taxes.

According to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune analysis of the Republican Budget Proposal, property taxes will increase by $1.2 billion. Property taxes in our area are projected to increase by up to 27.4 percent based on the Republican Budget. Property taxes will also be raised on 308,000 renters, including 85,000 seniors and disabled.

Under the same Republican Budget the University of Minnesota is facing a 19 percent cut in state funding. In addition, thousands of course offerings are being cut in the Minnesota Colleges and Universities system. Saint Cloud State University has recently eliminated over 30 programs and majors.

The Republican Budget Proposal would cut $48 million in special education. 123,000 students needing federally mandated special education services would be affected.

5,800 seniors would lose services under the Republican Budget Proposal, and 1250 people will lose their home care, and be forced into nursing homes.

Greater MN would lose 101,000 transit service hours.

All of this to protect the richest 2 percent of Minnesotans (only 45,000 people) from a tax increase.

I am living within my means, as are many in this area, but any further increase in property taxes on my home that has lost 25 percent of its value in the last five years may bust my budget.

To Representatives Daudt, Crawford, and Barrett, and Senator Nienow, please talk to the Republican leadership in the MN legislature and encourage them to work with Governor Dayton to compromise on the budget.

The clock is ticking and we are watching and waiting to see what happens.

Patricia Thul, Cambridge