LETTER: Budget Surplus , Not Really

Audrey Britton of Plymouth writes a letter to the editor about the recent state budget surplus announcement.

It’s been raining for 10 years. Suddenly, there’s an hour of sunshine. A group quickly organizes to tell everyone they made the sun come out.

How quickly some take credit for a good turn of events. The problem is they rarely take responsibility and  are typically the same people who blame others for a bad turn of events.

Let’s take a more informative, some might say “truthful,” look at "Budget Surplus!"-- a recent announcement sent to us by many state majority-party legislators:

• The day we learned from the news of an unanticipated, buried $876 million, we still have the fact of a projected $1.3 to $2.6 billion budget deficit. Personally, I’d put away the party hats and balloons.

• Minnesota has borrowed from several sources, including $2.8 billion from our schools, the highest level of borrowing in our state’s history.

• The $876 million will not go toward education. State law requires the money be used to pay back Minnesota’s depleted cash account and budget reserve so the state can operate.

According to the authors of "Budget Surplus,"  it was their cost-cutting measures that brought about the unanticipated $876 million. However, the $876 million came from two areas they fought against: taxes and healthcare reform.  Increased tax collections make up 77 percent of the $876 million; most of the remaining 23 percent from healthcare reforms.

The authors also claim that we will retain a surplus unless the Euro is devalued. An unaddressed deficit, uncontrolled borrowing and the accounting gimmicks and political discourse that continue to tarnish the state’s credit rating will hurt us more.

We need long-term, priority-based, responsible, transparent and accountable fiscal planning, not more political rhetoric and accounting gimmicks.

Sure, enjoy a few moments of sunshine, but keep your eye on those persistent dark clouds. Next we need to discuss the highest increase in property taxes in our state’s history. Mine went up 6.7 percent.

-Audrey Britton

 (Editor's Note: Britton is running for State Rep 43A-DFL, Plymouth and Medicine Lake. For more information on Britton visit: www.brittonforhouse.org.)




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