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Open Forum:Ward is willing to promise but not deliver

Recently, Rep. Ward expressed criticism of my work at the state Capitol, claiming the majority caucus budget bills include all cuts and hidden fees.  I’m disappointed to hear this. It tells me — more importantly, it tells you — he hasn’t read our proposals. Instead, Rep. Ward prefers legislating with party rhetoric and tax-and-spend ideology. The fact is we’ve proposed $4 billion above last biennium. We cannot spend $5 billion above that, doing so would impose heavy tax increases on Minnesotans.  

Rep. Ward claims I’m “unwilling to work” with him.” We discussed a bill for a veterans home. Since I serve on the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee, I take this very seriously. I felt it imperative to do my homework, speak with constituents and Gen. Shellito. They don’t support expansion of veterans homes right now. Rep. Ward has introduced four veterans home bills but doesn’t appear to have asked for committee hearings, even when he was in the majority. Committee hearings are critical for transparency and bill passage. It seems Rep. Ward is willing to promise but not deliver. As I’ve said, I’ll always be straightforward with voters. I don’t make promises I can’t keep.  

To help our economy, the first bill I co-authored in the Senate was a jobs bill to boost Minnesota’s businesses, stimulating private sector jobs through tax and mandate relief. The best approach to getting our state back on the path to prosperity lies within our proposed budget. We’ve put government spending under a microscope, made it more efficient and increased spending on education and health care for vulnerable adults. Contrary to what Rep. Ward claims, we’re not cutting. We’ve increased funding by $4 billion while living within our means, not raising taxes to spend an additional $5 billion beyond what we have.

Sen. Paul Gazelka