[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.]
On Thursday, the House and Senate released their budget “targets” for resolving the state’s $5.0 billion budget deficit for FY 2012-13. The targets set the amount each finance committee must cut (or increase) within their area of the budget.
The House, Senate and Governor are all proposing to continue the shift in school aid payments, which will save the state $1.4 billion in FY 2012-13. That still leaves a $3.6 billion deficit for the biennium. However, it is there that the visions part company. While Governor Dayton presented a balanced approach which uses both revenues and spending cuts to resolve the state’s remaining deficit, the House and Senate are pursuing an “all cuts” approach that will deeply impact services throughout Minnesota.
This all-cuts approach will be asking many Minnesotans already struggling in the recession to bear the cost of balancing the state’s budget. Those likely to be impacted include unemployed workers needing retraining, low-income seniors counting on their Renters’ Credit, individuals with disabilities who want to live in their home instead of an institution, families who are seeking affordable housing, working parents who need child care, and many others. The cuts only approach will also put Minnesota’s future economic success at risk. The proposed cuts in higher education will likely mean it will be much harder for Minnesotans to get more training and advanced degrees. As a result, our current workers will find it harder to transition to new careers and our future workers will find it more challenging to prepare for the careers of tomorrow.