By Brian Wojtalewicz.
Originally published in The Appleton Press on July 12, 2011.
It is disappointing to hear a few people react to the government shutdown with: “Oh, let’s throw them all out of office!” Are they really saying that Governor Mark Dayton should cave in to the Republican position? Do they really want hundreds of our elderly and disabled people being forced to move into nursing homes, instead of receiving home-based care? Do they really want our property taxes around the state increasing by over $400 million? Are they seriously willing to have tens of thousands of Minnesotans losing health insurance coverage, especially women? Do they want the state government refusing to really, truly balance the state budget by again “borrowing” from the school districts, continuing their financial strangling? These are all in the Republican proposal.
Are they really against Governor Dayton’s position of modestly increasing the tax rate on the 7,700 millionaires who are pulling down the highest incomes in Minnesota? These folks already enjoy a lower tax rate than the rest of us, when the average effect of all income, property and sales taxes are considered. Do they realize that of this 7,700, over half, approximately 4,000, aren’t even Minnesota residents? They are legal residents of other states but still make more than $1 million of their money in Minnesota! Are you really with the Republicans in St. Paul on insisting that there is no way they can’t throw in a little more?
The Republican plan also includes cuts to 129,000 Minnesota children who receive special education help, but would include money vouchers to parents who want to send their children to private schools. Republicans also are insisting on a so-called teacher evaluation program that would cost our school districts additional millions. (Whatever happened to Republican insistence on “cutting government regulations?”).
The Republican proposal would also make deep cuts in our rural, small-town bus services, and makes cuts in funding for prison guards and state crime investigators. I suppose it would surprise no one that the Republican’s include deep cuts to efforts to clean up our polluted waters.
The Republicans would also slash renter refunds to about 85,000 senior and disabled renters, and would force city and county governments to reduce public safety and other local services.
While tens of thousands of state workers, along with tens of thousands of private workers on state road and building contracts, are thrown out of their jobs, Governor Mark Dayton and certain state lawmakers are refusing to take their paychecks. This includes our State Representative, Andrew Falk. Notable to me on their continuing to take their paychecks are nearby Republican State Representatives Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake and Bruce Vogel of Willmar.
No, you won’t be able to convince this native son that our Minnesota Republican party isn’t the champion of greed and callousness.