FREE SPEECH ZONE | Property Taxes Would Increase Under GOP State Budget, Carlson Says

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Minnesota property taxes would increase another $400 million for the year starting in July in addition to the $2.5 billion increase in the past eight years under Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty if the Republican legislators’ budget plan is enacted, former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson said Tuesday night (March 31) at the Southdale LIbrary in Edina.

Carlson addressed a standing room only crowd at a meeting of the Edina-West Bloomington DFL open to the public.  The approximately 140 people attending often interrupted Carlson’s speech with applause.

Receiving scant media coverage is the fact that the Republican budget vetoed by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton would replace Minnesota Care, the health care program for low income families, with vouchers to buy insurance that would require an unaffordable $3,000 a year deductible.  The hospitals, who object to elimination of Minnesota Care, would assume care costs for the poor under this plan, Carlson added.

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A discussion on Minnesota quality of life and job creation needs to involve both retired and working business leaders with experts at the University of Minnesota.  This would help guide the budgeting process.  Under the Republican legislators’ budget, the University would lose about $3 million for research. Minnesota’s bond ratings have been downgraded as a result of Pawlenlty’s “one-time gimmicks” to balance the budget, said Carlson,  and this “a failed leadership test.”

Carlson attributed a “serious problem in the Republican party” to an ideological minority controlling the nominating process.  He said the two major players in the budget process are Gov. Dayton and the state Republican party chair Tony Sutton, who was not elected by voters.  

The University could play a role in educating new legislators on budgeting, roles of government entities and quality of life, he added.

Local DFL leaders said they would be talking to residents about the state budget in coming days.  Door to door outreach in Bloomington and Edina was being planned for Saturday, June 4.

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David Zarkin, former reporter for the Sun-Current, Idaho Statesman and United Press International.