One thing that’s become clear in the hours following the end of the state government shutdown is that DFL legislators didn’t offer many constructive ideas for fixing the budget problem. Their leadership, especially Rep. Thissen, the House Minority Leader, didn’t offer an alternative budget. They only offered criticism of anything the GOP offered. A great example of the DFL’s criticism is Rep. Thissen’s statement released after the session:
Today, the Republicans will impose their beg-borrow-and-steal budget on the people of Minnesota.
Republicans had not 1, not 2, but 7 opportunities to agree to a better budget – a budget that actually solves the state deficit now, has the support of a vast majority of Minnesotans, and defends middle class families. Republicans could have supported the Governor’s plan that cut $2 billion from state government and asked millionaires to pay their fair share.
However, the Republicans refused every single attempt at a fair budget, forcing this borrow-and-spend non-solution on the people of Minnesota in order to end a painful government shutdown.
The lengths to which this Republican majority will go to protect corporate special interests and the richest of the rich are astounding. Their budget forces the state to beg from seniors and the disabled with draconian budget cuts, borrow money to temporarily fill the deficit with one-time funds, and steal from our children’s future by expanding the K12 school shift.
Minnesota loses with this budget. In 2 years, we will face another massive deficit while in the meantime middle class families will pay more and get less. The only winners today are the defenders of the unworkable status quo. The winners are the millionaires and special interests who are given yet another Republican break.
At no point in the session, during the shutdown or the special session did Rep. Thissen or other members of the DFL leadership offer a positive alternative. Their only suggestion was more. More taxes, more spending, more borrowing. The dirty little secret is that the DFL school shift would’ve shorted school districts more than the Republican shift will do.
By contrast, Republicans passed a long list of reforms that will reduce the size of the state workforce, bend the health care cost curve down, review government agencies to determine whether they’re still serving a useful purpose, whether they should be restructured or eliminated altogether.
The list of GOP reforms is lengthy to the point that it’ll take time to read through it and sort it according to impact.
Comparing the positive impact that GOP reforms will have with the DFL’s nonexistent list of positive contributions is a night-and-day difference.
The only objective evaluation of the parties is that the difference in productivity is stark. It’s that simple.