Minnesota budget deal: What would you have done?

The Minnesota budget deal is done. And it hasn’t taken long for people outside the Capitol to pan it as a cheap political fix.

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So what deal would you have struck?

Before the final compromise, we asked MinnEcon readers and Minnesotans in MPR’s Public Insight Network what they’d cut. We also asked them to describe it in six words.

We got some pretty interesting responses — not all of them six words but still succinct.

Slots at Racetracks. Tax Medical Marijuana.

That was Tom Harty’s answer. “Adding slot machines to the existing Racinos would give us at least $200M per budget cycle,” the Golden Valley computer consultant told us.

“Taxing (and regulating) Medical Marijuana has proved to help fill budgets in a number of states. Both of these represent major sources of revenue with growth opportunities and job creation.”

Click on the map icons below to check out some of the other responses. Even though the deal is done, we’d still love to hear your perspective. What deal would you have cut? If we get more, we’ll add them to the map.

The issues weren’t easy at all. After the state Supreme Court shot down Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s budget cuts under “unallotment,” there was a huge hole in the state budget that needed to be closed quickly.

Include health care for poor, cut K-12 education

That’s how Ralph Watkins of Minneapolis summed up his plan to close the budget gap. The poor, he said, “don’t speak well for themselves. Education is vital, but teachers make lots more than anybody connected with GAMC, Medicaid, Minnesota Care, etc. Balance the cuts with the tax increase passed by the Senate and House. ..”

The question we asked focused completely on budget cuts. But Stacy Tepp wouldn’t bite.

I will pay more taxes = no cuts

“I am proud to live in Minnesota where we cherish that fact that we have good schools, good hospitals, programs to help people in need, etc.,” the educator from Afton wrote us.

“The governor is letting his ideals stand in the way of progress. We want our state to stay a great place to live and work–for all of us living here! I will gladly pay more if I know it will go to benefit our state and its residents.”

Here’s my six word cut: End Economic Development. Nick education, transportation.

I say this as a parent with kids in public schools and as someone who uses roads. So these cuts would hurt me and my family. But I’d rather do that than go after the health care of people who really need it.

Think it’s easy to make a deal? Here’s the basic info on where the money goes in the two-year general fund budget from the February forecast. Try cutting $3 billion.

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Personally, the money spent on paying off debt really grinds on me.

So, Gov. Minnesotan, what would you have done?

BONUS: Gov. Pawlenty talked about the budget deal and other issues this morning on MPR’s Midday program. Click on the play button to hear it.

  • Gerald L. Myking

    My son is autistic and just received news that his dental benefits have been cut in half from Minnesota Care. He works part-time at McDonalds and his hours have been getting cut. He now has no choice but to get back on Social Security. In a word it’s all about passing the buck. It’s sad because this is a young man with a disability who is willing to work for a living and pay his own way through life. Now he is being pushed into the postition of giving more government workers job security.