Cut from the Rich
NOT the Poor!
From Minnesota Public Radio Jan. 7, 2003
While the opening session of the Legislature was festive and largely ceremonial, lawmakers face a daunting task: dealing with a $4.5 billion projected budget deficit. The new Legislature includes an unusually large crop of freshman lawmakers who say they're eager to get to work on tackling the budget crisis. For nearly a third of the Legislature, this was the first time they've been part of opening day at the Capitol.
Members of the Welfare Rights Committee protested at the Capitol as the House and Senate began the session. Committee member Trishalla Bell says the group's message to lawmakers is don't balance the budget on the backs of the poor.
"There's enough rich people for them to spread the pain, through everybody who's in corporate America making millions and millions of dollars each year. There's plenty of those people that they can spread the pain through, but don't come spreading pain on people who are already trying to survive from day to day on barely anything," Bell said.
Bell doesn't think the Legislature can balance the budget without raising taxes. Lawmakers plan to quickly plunge into the task at hand. Budget hearings are scheduled for later this week, and Gov. Pawlenty will soon release his plan for dealing with a $356 million shortfall in the budget cycle that ends in June.