End of session report from Rep. Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara

The 2011 Legislative Session has ended, and unfortunately, our projected $5.1 billion budget deficit has not been eliminated.

The Legislature began the year promising residents that state government should live within its means no different than folks are doing at home and at work. Governor Dayton promise everyone he wanted to raise taxes on Minnesotans.

To date, both sides have kept their promise.

At the beginning of the year, the Legislature proposed a nearly $32 billion budget, which is what Minnesota spent in the previous budget. Governor Dayton responded with a budget including a multi-billion dollar tax increase.

Several weeks ago, the Legislature responded with a compromise move to the middle of both proposals by passing a balanced budget of $34 billion that does not raise taxes.

In response, Governor Dayton then moved his proposed budget down to $35.8 billion and insisted the Legislature pass a $1.8 billion tax increase on Minnesotans. By a vote of 73-60, the Minnesota House opposed his new proposal, but that hasn’t stopped the Governor from criticizing the Legislature for not compromising further and for refusing to raise taxes on Minnesotans.

I expect Governor Dayton will call a special session in the next few weeks to address this issue. Like my colleagues, I’m ready to keep working hard and find a permanent solution to this problem. I won’t be taking per diem during this special session.

But I’m hopeful Governor Dayton recognizes that the Legislature has made a significant compromise offer. Not only would a budget of this size provide $2 billion in new revenue for state government programs, but it could happen without needing to raise anyone’s taxes.

As always, keep in touch. Feel free to call or email.

Representative Denny McNamara

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