Seifert releases budget balancing plan

Republican Marty Seifert released a budget balancing plan today that erases $1 billion in state spending. His campaign for governor released the proposal just an hour and a half before his head to head debate with Republican Tom Emmer. In an e-mail to supporters, Seifert wrote:

“You deserve, and indeed it is my obligation as a candidate for governor, to propose specific, in-depth policy solutions to the challenges facing our state. Among the most pressing concerns is the budget, how it is balanced, and more importantly, how it is reformed to reduce spending, downsize government and help create private sector jobs.”

Seifert’s campaign released the specifics of the proposal on his website but here are the spending cuts for each division, etc.:

This plan does not raise any taxes or fees. It also does not rely on any borrowing, accounting gimmicks or federal stimulus funds. It balances the budget for the current biennium and makes significant progress toward long term fiscal stability. The recommendations include a total savings of $1.072.05 billion in these areas:

* HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES – $452 million

* AIDS AND CREDITS – $251.3 million

* STATE GOVERNMENT – $135.1 million

* HIGHER EDUCATION – $53.3 million

* K12 AND EARLY EDUCATION – $50 million

* NATURAL RESOURCES AND AGRICULTURE – $49 million

* ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – $46 million

* COMMERCE AND ENERGY – $20.15 million

* CORRECTIONS AND COURTS – $11.2 million

* TRANSPORTATION – $4 million

Some of the portions of the proposal highlight conservative principles like a defined contribution plan for MinnesotaCare enrollees, reduce integration aid for disadvantaged school districts and cut Local Government Aid by $250 million. He also wants to merge the Department of Human Services with the Department of Health, the Pollution Control Agency with the Department of Natural Resources and split duties under the Department of Labor and Industry with the Commerce Department and the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

It’s likely that Seifert will propose this plan as an alternative to the proposals being considered by Democrats in control of the Minnesota House and Senate. It’s also an attempt to force Emmer to outline greater specifics on where he would cut government.

I’m covering the debate tonight and I’ll post audio/video of the debate later.

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