‘Constitution requires a balanced budget’

To the Editor:

The constitution for Minnesota requires a balanced budget.  If the budget isn’t balanced by the deadline the State has to shut down and call an expensive special session so the legislators get a second chance to get the budget done.

In 2005 Sean Nienow authored a bill that would not allow Legislators to get paid if there was a government shutdown – Senate Bill 0094.  The intention of this bill was to tell legislators to get your work done on time, no extra pay if you don’t.

In 2011 the legislators did not get the budget balanced on time and drove Minnesota into the Nation’s longest shutdown for any State, yet Senator Nienow and Bob Barrett took their full pay during the long shutdown while the families of state employees got nothing.

One of the first things Sean Nienow did during the 2011 budget setting year is vote to give himself a 30 percent raise.  In these tough economic times, how could they even consider a 30 percent pay increase?   How did they pay for this extravagant raise to themselves?  They took out a 20-year loan and borrowed money that was owed to the schools.

Are these the priorities you want in your legislators?  It is time we stop Sean Nienow and Bob Barrett from taking money from our children to line their own pockets.  It’s time to tell them that this is not the way we get things done in Minnesota.  Vote for Jeske Noordergraaf, she will put children and seniors first.

Cindy Erickson, North Branch

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