Spending Limit Amendment Jeopardizes Minnesota's Economic Future

St. Paul, Minn., May 4, 2011 -- Saying “this measure would make tough times tougher,” Nan Madden, director of the Minnesota Budget Project, urged defeat of House File 1612, which she said would damage Minnesota’s economic future by sharply limiting the flexibility to respond to changing demographics and emerging needs.

Madden plans to testify at this evening’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the measure. Below are statements from her prepared testimony.

“This proposal would ensure that, after an economic downturn, Minnesota would fall behind other states in the recovery. Under this amendment, even though the economy would improve, Minnesota would not be able to take advantage of the resulting increase in state revenues. Minnesota would not be able to invest in the building blocks of a strong economy, like a quality workforce, infrastructure, and safe and healthy communities.

“Instead, we’d lock in the impact of the recession for another two years, and fall behind other states. Instead of getting Minnesotans back to work, we’d make it harder for them to access education and training to get into new jobs.”

“There is no need for this amendment,” Madden said in her testimony. “This body has passed a budget that makes deep cuts in spending and does not raise taxes. You did not need a constitutional amendment to convince you to take that stand.

“This measure would limit options when flexibility is needed most, and would likely result in greater use of accounting gimmicks and cost shifting to cities, counties and school districts to get around the amendment’s limits.

“This proposal erodes transparency and accountability. It takes the decision about the size of government away from elected officials and turns it over to a rigid amendment. It makes it more difficult to hold elected officials accountable for their actions.

“Combine this proposal with the supermajority for tax increases amendment, and we would take two big steps towards California, a state that has become practically ungovernable and that teeters on the brink of default.”

See the full text of Nan Madden’s prepared testimony.

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The Minnesota Budget Project (www.mnbudgetproject.org), an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, provides independent research, analysis and advocacy on budget and tax issues emphasizing their impact on low- and moderate-income Minnesotans. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is the statewide association of 2,000 nonprofit organizations. Through its website, resource publications, workshops and events, cost-saving programs and advocacy, MCN continually works to inform, promote, connect and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector. (www.minnesotanonprofits.org)

 

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