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Minnesota House GOP Borrows from Peter to Pay Paul

Kurt DaudtGOP lawmakers unveiled a $7 billion, 10-year roads plan with no gas tax hike.

They would pay for their proposal with:

  • “Re-dedicating” existing sales tax on auto parts, rental vehicles, vehicle leasing. This means shifting money from the general fund to pay for road and bridge repairs. The two largest areas of the general fund are education and health care. . .so Republicans are pitting road and bridges against children and seniors.
  • highway bonds
  • general bonding
  • “realigning resources” at the Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • $228 million from the state’s budget surplus.

Any funding that isn’t dedicated per the constitution to Minnesota roads and bridges is funding that cannot be relied on to continue from one year to the next because it is money that is almost certain to entirely disappear or be significantly reduced – this is a budget gimmick.

The GOP proposal also includes far less money for transit projects than Gov. Dayton’s proposal. While the proposed metro sales tax hike in several DFL proposals would raise hundreds of millions in new, annual transit funds, the GOP plan directs a total of $64 million to transit statewide over the next two years.

In stark contrast, Gov. Dayton’s plan would invest $6 billion over the next 10 years to address the state’s highway funding deficit, invest $2.356 billion in local government transportation projects, and provide $2.92 billion for transit systems across Minnesota. The Governor’s proposal would create an estimated 119,000 new jobs, and build the infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of a growing population and an expanding state economy.

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Debunking Daudt – Economy

Kurt DaudtAt the latest economic forecast, Speaker Daudt made claims that Minnesota’s improved economic position “has to do with the fact that balance has been restored in state government.”

As you may remember, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell was criticized for similar claims that were debunked.

The House DFL released a video highlighting Speaker Daudt’s claims about Minnesota’s growing economy – it can be viewed here.

This is not the only claim that Speaker Daudt has asserted about Minnesota’s economy that does not hold up to the facts.

Speaker Daudt has said over the past year that Minnesota’s economy has “flat-lined” due to the policies put in place by Democrats.

Last Friday Speaker Daudt doubled-down, saying “I think the November forecast represented very clearly that the policies they put in place didn’t help Minnesota families and they didn’t help Minnesota’s economy.”

Speaker Daudt’s economic claims do not hold up to the facts. The budget passed by 2013-14 state legislature went into effect in July 2013. Since then, Minnesota’s economy has steadily improved on several key metrics.

  • Minnesota has added 74,500 jobs since the DFL budget was put in place. Far from a flat line, jobs have been added and our unemployment rate has dropped at a steady pace. (Source: MMB, slide 6).
  • Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 3.6%, the 5th lowest in the country and lowest in Minnesota in 14 years. (Source: DEED)
  • Wages have grown for Minnesotans and stronger wage growth is expected in the future. (Source: MMB Slide 7).

Speaker Daudt’s other claim, “that part of this economic confidence has to do with the fact that balance has been restored in state government” has even less factual basis.

Minnesotans are more optimistic about our economy. In fact, Minnesota has the highest confidence of any state in the nation. This is based on a study by Gallup from January to December of 2014, while Democrats were in control of all branches of state government. (Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/181514/economic-confidence-index-highest-minn-lowest.aspx).

Minnesota’s economy has been making steady improvements in various economic metrics while the Democrats were in control of state government (unemployment rate, job creation, state revenues, and consumer confidence).

Daudt’s claims that Minnesota’s economy flat-lined while Democrats were in control of state government are false. His claims that Minnesota’s economic confidence is in part due to Republican control of the Minnesota House are even less credible.

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