“Like it or not, we are all equal”


Video by Aaron Klemz

It wasn’t an official public hearing, but Senate DFLers got to hear from those who will be hurt by a proposed Republican budget for Minnesota.

Kurt Rutzen, who has cerebral palsy, gave a speech on the real impact of the budget cuts. He says that he and others don’t want the services that are being cut, but they need them.

If people would cut your guy’s services by 20 percent, what would you do?” asked Rutzen. “What would you do? I mean these people need these services. I don’t use a lot of them services. I’m pretty independent. I have my own apartment .

I learned early in my life with Cerebral Palsy I would never be a rich man. I would never be rich. Never, ever in my life before I die. But I learned that rich is more than that. I have a family that loves me. And no money can overtake that. I’ve got friends who live me, so , so very much that no money can ever touch that. I got a family that will do anything for me. And no money can touch that. But what about the people who don’t have family around, who passed away or who can’t do it anymore? They get tired. Senators, family members get tired and worn out. They can’t can’t do it any more. We’re all human. We all need help. I mean we got to start working as a team.

Until we stop looking beyond our own noses and care about other people who are out there in the State of Minnesota, we won’t go anywhere. We got to look beyond our own noses. We’re all comfortable here now. We are. I mean, that is a great tie. I like that. I bet you feel good in that. Many people with disabilities can’t say that. And I know you guys understand. I know you do. I met with a lot of you. I know you have a heart. I know you do.

And the last thing I would like to say, or I’ll be babbling until like midnight, you guys will send for security. Label jars not human needs. Let’s start labeling jars, not human needs. Because we all are equal. Like it or not. We are all equal. Thank you so much.

Senator Minority Leader Tom Bakk commented about the Republican budget:

Right now, Republicans are choosing to protect the richest 2% of Minnesotans at the expense of the middle-class, the sick, the elderly, and the disabled,” said Sen. Bakk. “That is the wrong choice for Minnesota’s future. Republicans need to see what their budget will mean for Minnesota families, and understand why Democrats believe we need a more reasonable, balanced approach to solving this deficit. Perhaps then they will be willing to move off their rigid, ideological position and begin truly negotiating with Gov. Dayton on a sensible budget solution.

Full video of all-cuts budget impact hearing is available here.