Minnesota is grappling with severe unemployment, and an unconscionable budget deficit. As I campaigned to be your senator, I made a commitment to growing jobs in Minnesota and reducing government spending.
The best way to get Minnesota’s economy on the path to prosperity is by growing jobs in the private sector. Raising taxes only prevents job creation. That’s why it’s so imperative that my colleagues in the Legislature and I produce a budget that lives within our means.
We believe that Minnesota has a serious spending problem and the answer to solving the budget deficit is not to raise taxes on working families and job providers, but to help create a business friendly environment that will stimulate the creation of private sector jobs. Our first month in office, we introduced a jobs bill that would reduce the tax burden on job providers and entrepreneurs. We also voted to pass an early action budget bill that took the first step towards closing the budget deficit by one billion dollars.
Unfortunately, Gov. Mark Dayton disagreed with us and vetoed our phase one budget plan.Then last week, he proposed a budget plan that would give Minnesota the highest tax rate in the nation and increase spending. Even DFL Minority Leader, Tom Bakk called Gov. Dayton’s plan, “unrealistic.”
Right now, we have enough money in St. Paul. The $32 billion in projected revenue with taxes at their current level is already a 5 percent increase in spending. And yet, Gov. Dayton’s plan calls for more than 22 percent increase in spending.
The negative impact of Gov. Dayton’s plan is amplified by the fact that neighboring states as well as the majority of states across the U.S. are taking measures to reduce spending and cut taxes. States like Wisconsin have been taking steps to attract job creators by lowering taxes. Democrat governors, including Andrew Cuomo in New York, are proposing common sense budgets that do not include higher taxes. Gov. Dayton is making Minnesota an island of higher taxes, putting Minnesota businesses and job creators at a fundamental disadvantage.
The reforms and reductions proposed by Republicans were just a first step to make sure we balance the budget without increasing the burden on hardworking Minnesotans. I intend to continue to work hard to achieve this realistic and achievable goal.
My colleagues and I are eager to engage in a productive discussion with Gov. Dayton to find common ground, and produce a budget that will grow a healthy economy in the state. However, his tax and spend budget plan does not go far toward achieving that end goal. Economic growth is a bipartisan issue, and we hope Gov. Dayton will work with us to make Minnesota great once again.
SEN. PAUL GAZELKA is a rural Brainerd Republican serving his first term in the state Senate. He previously served one term in the state House.