I’d like to respond to the ECM Editorial Board’s opinion piece “As session nears end, it’s all about spending and taxes” dated May 5, 2019.
The editorial mentions that it was “encouraging to learn that everyone [they] spoke with shared similar legislative priorities” but that there were also “distinct differences between the two political parties.” The ECM Editorial Board is spot on.
House DFLers have crafted a state budget working from a framework of values. Our shared values as Minnesotans bring us together and serve as a guide for how we move forward — and how we make our state work better for all of us.
Trickle-down economics and tax cuts for the wealthy have exploded income inequality, with large corporations and the wealthy owning increasing amounts of our economy. This is bad for our economy and bad for our state. The House DFL budget restores tax fairness by closing loopholes used by multinational corporations to shelter profits in tax havens from places like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Our working families, seniors, and small businesses shouldn’t have to pay more to make up for lost dollars that belong in Minnesota.
While some communities have the financial ability to build great public schools through referendums and bigger operating levies, other communities do not. The House DFL budget invests in our students with an increase to the per-pupil formula by 3% in 2020, and another 2% in 2021. The Senate GOP budget barely makes a dent in addressing larger class sizes, special education underfunding, and teacher layoffs with their 0.5% increase over the next two years. All of our kids deserve a world-class education and inaction now will inevitably lead to devastating cuts that hurt future opportunities.
Deep cuts to health care proposed by Senate Republicans are also unacceptable. All Minnesotans deserve access to the quality, affordable health care they need. The House DFL proposes bold initiatives within our health and human services budget to make this a reality. Our plan will ensure Minnesotans can access the medications they count on by prohibiting prescription drug price gouging, increasing transparency, and making changes to pharmacy benefit manager licensing. Our budget also enables Minnesotans to access an emergency supply of insulin if they can’t afford to fill their prescription. These are not radical proposals. Senate Republicans’ solution is to cut essential care for doctor visits and dental care for over half a million Minnesotans.
Let’s be honest about the choices in front of us. We can continue down the path of tax cuts for corporations, leading to more teacher layoffs, people losing health care and basic economic security. Or we can invest in our state by investing in our people. That's why the House DFL budget invests in schools, health care, and communities. Our state is stronger when Minnesotans have the resources they need to stay healthy, grow, learn, and prosper.
State Rep. Andrew Carlson represents House District 50B, which includes east Bloomington. Carlson can be reached at 651-296-4218 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.