Budget Bites: Dayton uses a balanced approach to balance the budget

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[Editor’s note: In an effort to help inform our members about state and federal budget issues, Minnesota Environmental Partnership is working with the Minnesota Budget Project to cross-post updates about the budget.]

This morning, Governor Dayton presented a budget proposal that takes a balanced approach to solving the state’s $6.2 billion deficit through a combination of spending reductions and revenue increases. It seeks to address the needs of Minnesotans struggling in tough times, restore balance to the state’s tax system and improve the state’s fiscal health over the long term.

The major elements of his proposal include:

$950 million in spending reductions. Any balanced approach to solving the state’s budget crisis must include spending reductions. Years of budget cuts have already forced significant cutbacks in state services, so there are no easy choices left. Governor Dayton’s proposal includes $680 million in reductions to health and human services, including cuts to health care eligibility, payments to health care providers, and services for people with disabilities. Some cuts in this area are offset by drawing down federal funding.

Dayton’s proposal also includes a 6 percent cut, or $171 million, to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State College and University system (MnSCU), although the Governor does not make any reductions to state-funded financial aid.

Most other areas of the budget are cut by up to 10 percent.

The proposed reductions will have real consequences for Minnesotans, and we’ll learn more about those impacts in the days ahead. However, they are in stark contrast to the much deeper service cuts that would occur under a cuts-only approach to solving the deficit.

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Minnesota Budget Bites is a blog for the Minnesota Budget Project, an initiative of MEP member group, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

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