Rep. Bob Barrett: Minnesota’s recovery plan compared to the federal plan

By Bob Barrett, 

Representative, Dist. 17B

You’ve all, most likely, seen the ominous, spinning U.S. National Debt Clock that gives Americans the real-time honest truth about our federal debt crisis. Many people do not realize it, but over $10 billion dollars is spent EVERY DAY by our federal government; some of it hard-earned taxpayer money, but much of it borrowed money.  Our national debt is now almost $16 trillion dollars.

Since January 4, 2011–the day I took office as your state representative–our federal government has increased the national debt by $1.6 trillion dollars. The state’s proportional share of the increased national debt added over the last 15 months is a shocking $27 billion dollars.

Nationally, our unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, making March 2012 the 38th consecutive month with a national unemployment rate above 8 percent, corresponding with the 38 months of Obama’s presidency. The Obama stimulus package from 2009 only stimulated the debt we have passed on to our children and grandchildren.

Comparatively, Minnesota currently has a state unemployment rate of 5.7 percent. Fifteen months ago the state’s unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. This significant rate drop in Minnesota, accomplished in such a short time, happened as a result of the entrepreneurship of the private sector helped by a state legislature that beat back continued attempts by Governor Dayton and the DFL minority to increase taxes on Minnesota citizens by $4 billion dollars.

In Minnesota, during the last three months alone, over 30,000 private sector jobs have been created. Republicans in the Legislature have worked hard to allow our small- and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to grow and succeed without harsh regulations, while withstanding attempts to make some of the highest taxes in the nation get even higher.

Senator Sean Nienow and I recently held a productive town hall meeting with folks from around the area. The discussion repeatedly surrounded the need for the Legislature’s fiscal restraint, welfare regulation, and transparency in spending.

The Republican-led Legislature continues to do that, and more, in attempting to fix problems that exist, while promoting the good things that government can do.

One problem that everyone agrees needs fixing is the K-12 school shift. The Minnesota House and Senate recently passed a bill that would have entirely paid off the increased shift from the 2011 Legislative Session and begun to pay down the larger $2 billion dollar shift passed by the previous Legislature. Governor Dayton vetoed this bill, saying that using cash on hand to pay off a debt was irresponsible. Amazing!

Just a week earlier he vastly overstepped his authority and his actions were, rightly, ruled unconstitutional by a Minnesota judge for attempting to unionize in-home child care providers contrary to their wishes. Nationally we have the same battle going on regarding ObamaCare, which the U.S. Supreme Court will make a decision on in June regarding its constitutionality.

These issues are critically important because, based on the decisions made at the federal level compared to those made at state level over the last two years, we have two fundamentally different perspectives on the solutions to the problems we face as a country. The data is clear and unambiguous as to which of these two governing philosophies has been successful so far.

I heard an astounding, but honest, comment the other day that supports this point of view: Because of the tough decisions Minnesota made that balanced our state’s budget and reduced federal appropriations, the Minnesota House and Senate have done more to reduce our country’s $16 trillion dollar national debt in the last year than the federal government has done.

It is information such as this that makes it obvious that sound financial management is the key to success, not only in the private sector, but regarding government spending as well.

– Rep. Barrett can be reached by phone at (651) 296-5377. He can also be contacted via e-mail at [email protected], or via U.S. Mail at 413 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.


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