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Open Forum: Minnesotans deserve better

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opinion Brainerd,MN 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Open Forum: Minnesotans deserve better
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

The governor and Legislature now need a special session to pass a budget.

We taxpayers will pay thousands extra for each day of that session: up to


$16,080/day in per diem ($86/day for Senators; $77/day for House members); weekly round trip mileage at $.51 for legislators living over 50 miles away; possibly extra staff costs.

If no agreement is reached by July 1, state government will shut down all but critical functions.  Based on past experience, this could cost taxpayers millions.

Although a special session is inevitable, a government shut down is not. Taxpayers are paying for, and should receive, a functioning state government.

The League of Women Voters, of which my wife and I are members, supports a budget that raises some new revenue along with some spending cuts. With a balanced approach, we can invest more in K-12 education, health care, and protecting the environment. An “all-cuts” budget will hurt the poor, elderly, disabled, students in our public universities and children in our largest public school districts, among others. It will increase the gap between the wealthy and everyone else, and erode our state’s quality of life.

Taxpayers and citizens lose when our representatives do not support any new revenue to help fund basic needs, but do support new revenue to help fund a Vikings stadium. Minnesotans deserve better.

Allen and Sandy Eliason