We're expecting the candidates for governor to react to Minnesota's bad budget news
The first news release is from former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton. We'll post the others in the space as they come in.
Here's Dayton's statement:
Continuing State Deficits Caused by Failed State Leadership
DFL Gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton said today, "Minnesota's new budget deficit is further evidence that our state is in crisis. Partly, it is caused by the national economic crisis, which President Obama inherited. However, Minnesota's crisis is also the result of failed state policies.
"Our state's economy used to perform better than the rest of the country during both good and bad economic times. Yet, in recent years, Minnesota has consistently ranked in the bottom ten states in employment growth. Over 220,000 Minnesotans are unemployed today. More than 100,000 of them lost their jobs this year. These economic failures have turned previous fiscal challenges into the current, continuing state budget crises.
"Governor Pawlenty attacked last summer's deficit unfairly. I would solve this one fairly, by raising taxes on the wealthiest 10% of Minnesotans, who the Governor's own Revenue Department reports are paying only 3/4ths of their proportionate share of state and local taxes.
"It is imperative that Governor Pawlenty place the best interests of the people of Minnesota ahead of his own Presidential ambitions. He can show leadership and political courage by doing what is necessary an right: raise taxes on the rich."
Statement from Democrat Matt Entenza:
"Today's announcement about Minnesota's budget deficit was not unexpected - difficult to hear, but not unexpected. The truth is we'll never be able to fix our budget problem until we fix our economy problem. We can't tax our way out of this nor cut our way out of it; we must grow our way out of it. That's why my main focus is on growing Minnesota's economy. I believe Minnesota can become the Silicon Valley of clean energy. We should be installing and manufacturing thousands of new wind turbines, pushing energy conservation and leading in the next generation of biomass. Doing this will create thousands of new jobs and economic opportunity in every corner of Minnesota."
Statement from Democrat Paul Thissen:
What I find most troubling about the budget forecast is the story it tells about what is happening outside the walls of the state Capitol. Thousands of Minnesota families are just not making it and that is what we need to keep our eye on as elected leaders.
We have ignored the bottom line of Minnesota families for too long. As we now move to rebuilding our state, we need to learn that lesson and prioritize basic economic security issues.
Now is a time for action.If I were governor, I would call the legislature into special session immediately because the longer we wait, the worse the pain will be for Minnesota families.
Statement from DFLer Steve Kelley:
Under Tim Pawlenty's leadership, Minnesota's budget forecasts have been in the hole ten times. Pawlenty has sacrificed our long-term economic stability for short-term gimmicks.
Our state budget is how we live our values. It puts 290,000 Minnesotans to work. Teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, and thousands more depend on a balanced state budget to provide for their families. Another round of unallotment will undoubtedly mean layoffs, greater unemployment, and more struggling families. Minnesotans ought to demand an accounting of the jobs that will be lost from unallotment or any budget solution.
This forecast is an indictment of the Minnesota Republican economic philosophy. It's time to restore fiscal responsibility and long-term economic prosperity to our state.
Statement from DFLer Margaret Anderson Kelliher:
Today economists delivered a grim financial forecast - we face yet another budget deficit. This on-going budget crisis must be resolved. It is time for Minnesota to break this cycle. We need a Governor who will level with Minnesotans. We need a Governor who does not rely on cu ts alone to balance the budget. Solving our current economic shortfall and creating economic security will take a balanced approach and require the right mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.
Today's budget forecast is a reminder that Governor Pawlenty's unallotment did not balance Minnesota's two-year budget. It was a quick political fix that solved nothing. Governor Pawlenty, Rep. Seifert and the House Republicans chose politics over the best interest of Minnesotans. I will be a very different kind of Governor.
The next session is going to be a challenge. Focused on his national ambitions, Governor Pawlenty appears determined to keep his "no new taxes" pledge regardless of the toll it takes on the people of Minnesota. However, our challenges can become new opportunities. With bold new leadership in 2011 and beyond, we can take the opportunity to reform the way Minnesota does business by implementing an economic development plan that will create jobs and improve our economy, balance our budget, and invest in education and health care.
To make these opportunities a reality, Minnesota needs a proven leader. The next Governor will have only twelve weeks from the day she is elected to propose a full budget, with progressive tax reform. Minnesota needs a leader who has stood up and fought for what is best for our state---someone who understands the difficulties Minnesotans face, and who will bring people together to create long term solutions and secure our future.
I have a track record of bringing people together to solve problems and resolve issues. I've taken on the partisan forces in state government and won. After the 35W bridge collapse, Governor Pawlenty told me he would never sign a transportation reform bill. I knew what I needed to do: I brought together a broad coalition that worked together to make Minnesota's roads and bridges safer, and we overrode the governor's veto.
In the 2010 election, we have the chance to work together again and ensure that Minnesota has the Governor it deserves. It will take another broad, strong and diverse coalition and I need you to be part of that effort.
Please join me in this campaign. Become part of the coalition by visiting my website and signing up as a Grassroots Endorser. You can also sign up to join our team of amazing volunteers and pledge to caucus for me on February 2, 2010. I also hope you will consider m aking a financial investment in the campaign - your contribution of $50, $100 or $250 will help build a people-powered campaign to identify caucus attendees and allow me to bring the message about my candidacy to Minnesotans in every corner of our state.
Here's a statement from Democrat Tom Rukavina:
"The bad news in the budget forecast yesterday was not unexpected for most of us. When you try to deceive the public with Enron accounting gimmicks, it eventually catches up to you. It caught up to Tim Pawlenty and now all of us have to pull together to fix this nightmare.
We have used up all the available pots of money like tobacco settlements, health care accounts, workers compensation surpluses and special funds to try and keep Pawlenty's dishonest "no new tax" pledge. As a result of this, we now have to resort to stealing reserve money from college students, passing property tax increases, shifting school payments, and issuing 10,000 seat belt violations in a two week period to raise money.
The bottom line is that the middle class gets hammered again. I am running for governor to put an end to all this and bring sanity back to state budgeting.
We need to stop the gimmicks and get back to a balanced budget by raising taxes fairly through income taxes based on ability to pay. We have the biggest debt per capita in the country. People are losing their jobs and homes and our Governor is going on vacation in South America.
We need a jobs program that gets people back to work so they can prosper and help put our economy back on track. I have a proven track record of creating jobs, putting more money in working people's pockets. Raising taxes in a fair manner that doesn't cripple the middle class should be our goal.
I want to be your Governor because I love this state and I am disgusted that in his eight years as governor and four years as majority leader, Tim Pawlenty has taken this state from having a $6 billion surplus to having an $8 billion deficit. He has jeopardized the future of our kids in exchange for his political future.
Hey, maybe Minnesota is better off with him out of state 29 times since June while he is running for President. I've never liked one-way tickets, but it may be a good investment for our state if Tim Pawlenty gets one for his trip to South America."
Statement from Republican Tom Emmer:
Rep. Tom Emmer, Republican candidate for governor, spoke out Wednesday on the state's projected $1.2 billion deficit. Emmer has offered legislation which would require the legislature to balance the state budget before any new spending is proposed.
"My bill, First Things First, would require the legislature to address any budget shortfall before any new spending is added to the taxpayers' burden." Emmer said, "This bill would force the big spenders in St. Paul to focus on fixing the problem before they add to it."
Emmer expressed hope that in the next legislative session the majority party would be more willing to take his common sense proposal seriously.
"I authored the same bill last session and the Democrat leadership wouldn't even allow a vote on it. With business and family budgets at a breaking point, it only makes sense that we pass this bill into law this time around."
At a time when Minnesotans are struggling, Rep. Emmer believes that to stimulate the economy and encourage job creation, the state government should act responsibly and not overburden Minnesotans and job creators.
"We will get out of this recession faster if Minnesota's people and businesses are allowed to flourish. It is a mistake to think that government can lead the way with big government, Obama-style pork programs."
Emmer stressed that creating an environment where business and free enterprise can flourish will solve the budget crisis by encouraging the creation of desperately needed private-sector jobs.
"This deficit puts into focus the importance of electing a governor who is serious about reigning in the growth of state government spending and fostering the expansion of private enterprise," said Emmer.
"We got into debt by driving away jobs and the businesses through high taxes and stifling regulations. Minnesota needs a governor who understands that freedom and private enterprise are the engines that drive Minnesota, not a bloated state government."
These are some interesting comments from the gubernatorial candidates. Entenza's idea is good, but it would probably take some time to implement. How many years would it take to reap any benefits from creating this "Silicon Valley of clean energy?" It's definitely something that should be done, but keep in mind that MN needs help now. Hopefully the new governor will have a plan to fix the crisis in the first year that he or she takes office.
Thissen should be commended for wanting to call a special session of the legislature. Then what? Will he go in with fresh ideas to present? What are those ideas? Can he be more specific?
Kelley, too, needs to give specific answers. What will he do, exactly, to fix the budget crisis should he be elected governor? Does he have a plan?
Kelliher keeps saying that she's a proven leader, but I keep hearing that she didn't do so well in the last two legislative sessions. I'm sorry to disappoint her, but I cannot support her.
Dayton is the only candidate who responded so far who has a definite plan that will bring in new revenue in the quickest amount of time. Dayton also has the necessary experience in government to know how to fix the crisis that Minnesota is in.
I agree about Mark Dayton. He has my support so far. Unfortunately, his apparent discomfort with public speaking can get in the way of people seeing what a smart and good guy he is.