Letter: It’s time for state budget stability

To the Editor:

The November budget forecast shows that while Minnesota continues its slow economic recovery, we still face a stubborn budget shortfall. Along with Gov. Dayton and a new DFL House and Senate majority, as your representative I look forward to tackling these budget problems head-on when the 2013 Legislature convenes in January. The time for shifts, gimmicks and borrowing — Band-aid approaches used over the past decade to paper over real, built-in problems — is over.

The forecast projects a deficit of $1.1 billion for the 2014-2015 budget cycle. The good news is that better-than-expected revenue collections have allowed the state to pay back about half of the money borrowed from schools last year to balance the budget. While this partial payback is a positive, we still owe our schools $1.1 billion, and must address challenges like growing class sizes. We must ensure future legislatures do not balance the budget on the backs of our children.

This underscores the necessity to end Minnesota’s 10-year fiscal rollercoaster ride and squarely address our structural budget problems with a balanced mix of cuts and fair revenue increases. Middle-class Minnesotans should not be expected to carry an unfair share of the budget burden. By asking all Minnesotans to contribute fairly, we can stop the unending cycle of budget deficits and restore stability to the revenue system.

I am supportive of a budget that represents Minnesota values of fairness and sets us on a path to budget stability. Please contact me at [email protected] or 651-296-3709.

Debra Hilstrom
Brooklyn Center

Hilstrom is the DFL state representative for House District 40B, which includes all of Brooklyn Center and part of Brooklyn Park.