(Photo courtesy of Pioneer Press: David Montgomery)
Back in October, we jumped all over the Dayton Administration when Commerce Chair Mike Rothman released the MNsure rate figures that hid the true rate increase of the failed program. The Administration chose not to use weighted averaging to accurately account for the rate increase, an obvious deception to keep the public from criticizing the program before the upcoming election.
Now GOP leadership is stooping to the same level as the Dayton Administration.
In a press conference last Tuesday, Kurt Daudt announced the Minnesota House Republican budget targets, arguing that government shouldn’t grow faster than family budgets. They proposed a spending increase of 1.7% bringing the general funds budget to $39.949, something that we faulted them for as soon as it was released. However, we’ve learned the number is even bigger than what was presented to us in their official press release.
According to several media outlets, the GOP budget plan is being scored at a grand total of $42.6 Billion (only $300 million less than Dayton’s budget). This amount uses a budgeting technique that counts tax cuts as a government expenditure. We feel this is an inappropriate accounting technique, so if we remove the $2 Billion in proposed tax cuts, that still leaves us with $40.6 Billion. So how do we get to that figure from $39.949 stated at the press conference?
First of all, the GOP took out $300 million in general funds revenue and put it in a separate fund called a “transportation stability fund”. Although we agree with the tactic of segregating transportation funds, they removed this figure when calculating their overall spending increase proposal.
Secondly, there is $319 million in unallocated funds. Since this amount was not included in the tax cut figures, one would assume the money will be spent on a government program. It’s extremely dishonest for Daudt to not count this amount in his proposal as well.
Finally, the plan also would increase the amount of funds allocated to the State Reserves account by $100 million. This account is used in case there are future budget deficits. In other words, this account represents future spending and should have been included in the overall calculation.
When all is said and done, the total GOP budget is over $40.6 Billion or a 3.5% increase. Kurt Daudt’s press conference was deceptive and dishonest. Our question for him is: how many family budgets have increased by 3.5% this past year?
A budget proposal is a chance for the majority party to show the kind of government they think we should have. So according to Kurt Daudt, government should be even bigger than the government that existed under complete DFL control. Even more concerning to us is the fact that the general funds budget in the 2010-11 Biennium was $30 Billion. That means with the GOP proposal, state government would be 36% larger than it was only 6 years ago.
For more on this subject, please tune into our Living Free podcast.