Westrom, Franson vote for budget-cutting billBoth of Douglas County’s state representatives supported a House deficit-trimming bill that was approved Thursday.
Both of Douglas County’s state representatives supported a House deficit-trimming bill that was approved Thursday.
Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, and Mary Franson, R-Alexandria joined their Republican colleagues in voting for the measure, which passed on a 68-63 vote.
“This bill will reduce the budget deficit by $1 billion and it is an initial first step toward balancing our budget,” said Westrom. “We need to address the problem of over-spending; we cannot spend more than we have, and government must live within its means just like the hard-working Minnesota families do. When you are in a hole the first rule is to stop digging, that is what this bill attempts to do.”
Westrom added that there is still a 5 percent increase in the budget, which he said most people are surprised to know.
“The state is actually going to receive $2 billion more in this biennium than last biennium, representing a 5 percent increase,” Westrom said. “The current budget deficit is the gap between the 5 percent increase in revenues and the anticipated increase many programs and agencies may have expected.”
Amendments were made to the bill so that Local Government Aid (LGA) remains the same for 2011 as 2010, unless certified for less. Each city and county will receive in 2011 what they received in 2010.
“This budget bill is the first step toward balancing the state’s budget deficit,” said Franson. “Our hard working Minnesota families are living within their means every day and our state government needs to do the same.”
House file 130 is said to address structural spending issues by making one-time reductions from this year permanent, Franson said. It also prevents state agencies from unnecessary spending of funds at the end of the year, she added.
“We need to address our spending habits at the state Legislature and this bill allows us to do that,” said Franson, who is serving her first term in the House.