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Monday, December 03, 2007

House GOP Responds to Budget Deficit

Seifert Says: "Stop growing government. Start growing jobs."

Saint Paul - (November 30, 2007) - House Republican Leader Marty Seifert today said the state's $373 million budget deficit demands fiscal restraint and accountability in the upcoming legislative session.

"We need to spur the economy with business development and job growth," said House Republican Leader Marty Seifert. "Government should not grow at a faster rate than the private sector. Government needs to make sacrifices so we don't increase the tax burden on job creators and families. Our financial ground will continue to erode until we acknowledge that we cannot grow government and tax our way to prosperity.

"The state's budget forecast reflects the impact of a national economic slowdown that is being largely driven by slower projected economic growth, record high oil prices, an increasingly weak housing market and the resulting tightening on lending.

"Minnesotans across the state are seeing less discretionary income and that has a direct impact on the state's economy," Seifert said. "While businesses, families and farms are looking to tighten their budgets, the Democrats are working on plans to raise their taxes to fuel the growth of government."

Government spending has grown rapidly in the past 10 years. State general fund spending has increased nearly 40 percent in the last 10 years from $24 billion to $34.5 billion.

"Now is not the time to raise taxes. We do not need more money from taxpayers to fund unsustainable growth in government programs. We need to prioritize, cut wasteful government spending and use taxpayer dollars more efficiently," Seifert said.

Seifert said the budget deficit presents many challenges to the spending proposals and large bonding bill already being discussed for the next legislative session.

"The state budget should operate like the family budget. When there is less revenue, we spend less money," Seifert said. "The Democrats already spent the $34 billion in the state's budget and squandered away a $2 billion surplus. We simply do not have the money in the checkbook for more spending. The bonding bill must stay within the $965 million threshold. It should focus on fixing our state's core infrastructure needs. Festivals, theaters and ice rinks come in a distant second to funding for safe roads and bridges.

Seifert said the budget deficit could have been higher if the Democrats tax and spend proposals were all signed into law. Governor Tim Pawlenty line-itemed veto more than $32 million in spending and vetoed a pork-filled bonding bill.

"The Democrats overspent last session and then tried to raise our taxes," Seifert said. "Government doesn't need relief. Minnesotans do. We need to protect the taxpayer pocketbook, not use it as a never-ending cash machine."

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