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Minnesotans Call on Republicans to Pass a Budget that Puts Minnesotans First

Minnesotans highlight the real-world implications if Minnesota Republicans refuse to return to the legislature and pass a budget

 


MINNESOTA - Today, Minnesotans gathered to highlight the real-world impacts if Minnesota Republicans refuse to return for a special legislative session and pass a budget that makes needed investments in Minnesota’s schools, communities, and families.

“We are having an education crisis,” said Ellie Helgeson, a special education teacher from Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota. “We can barely attract new teachers to our schools because of our low salaries and lack of affordable health care. It’s affecting our students and it's going to get worse if we have to go another year without the funding we need.”

Many school districts across Minnesota expect budget shortfalls in the 2022-23 school year. As a result, schools might have to cut classroom programs, lay off teachers, and increase class sizes. Democrats in the legislature proposed increased funding for mental health services, special education, and English language learner programs but the proposals stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“I am appalled that we are here without critical investments in our roads, bridges, transit, and water infrastructure — meanwhile, the state has a $9 billion surplus,” said Joel Smith, President and Business Manager of LIUNA Minnesota and North Dakota. “This year was - AND STILL IS - a bonding year. It is unacceptable that lawmakers failed to do their job and approve a local jobs and projects plan before going home.”

The federal infrastructure law is estimated to bring $7.3 billion in total to Minnesota for roads, bridges, transit, and water infrastructure but 84 percent of it requires a state match in funding. The legislature adjourned without action on those state matching funds meaning Minnesota risks losing out on millions in federal funding.

“This year, we have a $9 billion dollar surplus and the opportunity to make much-needed investments in our child care system,” said Karin Swenson from Meadow Park Preschool and Childcare Center in Rochester, Minnesota. “Yet, Republicans in the Senate proposed tax cuts for the wealthy while leaving our children and families behind. We need meaningful investments now to hire and retain qualified staff and provide high-quality and affordable care for our children. We need a special session.”

Half of Minnesota child care providers are unsure how long they'll remain in business. Governor Walz proposed a $1.8 billion investment in child care and early education to help raise wages for child care workers, keep businesses afloat, and make care cheaper for parents. Democrats in the Legislature proposed measures that would support child care workers while making additional investments in high-quality child care for low-income families. Neither plan progressed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

 

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