U of M; St. Paul Mayor Respond to Gov. Dayton’s Proposed Budget

Updated: 01/22/2013 3:25 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart

The Mayor of St. Paul and the President of the University of Minnesota are responding to Governor Mark Dayton's proposed budget...

Mayor Chris Coleman released the following statement today in response to Governor Mark Dayton’s proposed biennial budget for 2014-2015:

“Today, Governor Dayton made it clear that one-time budget fixes balanced on the backs of taxpayers can no longer be tolerated. By stabilizing local government aid, Governor Dayton is sending a clear message that the State will responsibly deal with its budget challenges rather than asking cities to bear the burden alone. Property taxpayers have seen an 86 percent increase in their property tax bills since 2002. This is an unacceptable burden on middle-class families in Saint Paul and throughout the state.

“We in Saint Paul know first-hand that budgeting games and gimmicks are unsustainable and that achieving structurally balanced budgets means making tough decisions. This budget includes reasonable changes to the state’s tax system that stabilizes property taxes, recognizes the importance of local government aid to Minnesota cities and includes the largest sales tax reduction in Minnesota history. These common-sense changes will allow the City of Saint Paul to continue to provide quality services to our residents.”

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler released the following statement today in response to Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed biennial budget.

“The proposed budget announced today by Governor Dayton is good news for Minnesota students, their families, our research enterprise and the university system as a whole. We appreciate the Governor’s strong support, particularly as it follows deep cuts to the U’s state funding during the last decade.

“In addition to reducing costs and making the U more efficient, we are committed to freezing tuition for the next two years for Minnesota resident undergraduates. Reducing the total tuition burden by about $2,500 for an average in-state undergraduate represents a meaningful savings for most families. The Governor’s proposed funding level for the university signifies that he shares our commitment to keep tuition affordable and education accessible to qualified Minnesota students of all economic backgrounds.

“The Governor’s proposed budget will enable us to invest in research and innovation to fuel the state’s industries where great strength exists. The Governor clearly understands the U’s unique role as the state’s only research university, offering significant return on investment for the state’s economy. Our MnDRIVE program will advance research in four key areas that will benefit Minnesota business and technologies, keeping Minnesota industry competitive and creating new jobs.

“By providing funding to the U for loan forgiveness for students who agree to practice health care in underserved areas of the state, more Minnesotans will have access to the health care they deserve thanks to Governor Dayton.

“We share the Governor's commitment to reducing administrative costs at the university. We are eager to complete the report requested by legislative leaders by March 15. Since I assumed this role 18 months ago, improving our operations and reducing costs has been a top priority. We can demonstrate solid progress in this area, but there is more to do. We will continue to make tough choices.

“We are humbled by the Governor's commitment to this great university. We will continue to work with the Governor and legislators to provide information and advocate vigorously for all elements in the university’s budget proposal.”