It’s easy to get caught up in the challenge of the moment – how are we going to solve a $4.8 billion deficit ($5.5 billion when inflation is included)? But we can’t truly be successful in balancing the budget if we lose sight of what we actually want to accomplish: Build a strong Minnesota where everyone has a decent opportunity to succeed.
We decided to look back at the past ten years, taking stock of trends in state spending on four key budget areas that impact the well-being of Minnesotans:
- E-12 education
- higher education
- child care
- affordable housing and homelessness prevention
Our report The Lost Decade, released today, finds that since Fiscal Year 2003, funding for all of these key areas has declined. You can also check out the press release, but this is the bottom line: decisions made in previous deficit years to cut state spending have taken their toll. And when we enjoyed budget surpluses, much more of the surplus money went to tax cuts than to additional investments in these key priorities.
As we once more face an economy in recession and significant budget deficits, can the people of Minnesota really shoulder more cuts to critical services?
Note: To request a hard copy of the report, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.