Archived Story

Poppe: Budget deal makes good on promises to voters

Published 5:03am Wednesday, May 15, 2013

As we enter the final days of the 2013 legislative session before our adjournment on May 20, we’re one step closer to making good on the promises we made to voters in 2012.

Governor Dayton and the legislature recently announced a final budget agreement that invests in priorities Minnesotans broadly share and support: providing all children with a high-quality education, creating good jobs so Minnesotans can provide for their families, and delivering middle class property tax relief.

We pay for these vital investments by asking the richest two percent of Minnesotans to pay their fair share, closing corporate tax loopholes, and reforming our tax system to make it fairer for middle-income Minnesotans. It does not include any new consumer or sales taxes on goods like clothing.

Our plan creates a structurally balanced budget that fairly pays for priorities like education so we can create long-lasting shared prosperity for all Minnesotans.

With the House and Senate both passing comprehensive budgets and awaiting conference committees to iron out the differences, each chamber passed a bill giving same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

It’s my belief we’re not going to change who comes into the world and what their sexual orientation is, so it’s in our best economic interest to make sure Minnesota is a welcoming place that accepts people for who they are and treats them with the dignity and respect they deserve. As our economy continues to emerge from the worst recession since the Great Depression, we need to attract and retain highly skilled, intelligent and talented workers.

Last month, over two dozen prominent Minnesota business leaders wrote a letter to Governor Dayton and legislative leaders urging them to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples because they also believe taking such action is vital for economic growth. Looking back even further, major Minnesota businesses like General Mills said during the 2012 campaign that diversity and inclusion are in the best interests of its employees and the Minnesota economy.

The letter reminds Minnesotans that some of our state’s largest and most successful companies are national leaders when it comes to creating diverse workplaces and extending family benefits to domestic partners.

They note how this leadership has made Minnesota a strong magnet for attracting and retaining the nation’s top talent — not just gay and lesbian professionals, but today’s educated young workers who increasingly say that living in welcoming communities is important to them.

That’s why I joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the House last week to support the Marriage Equality Act, because it enhances the kind of economic growth our budget is designed to produce.

To those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, I understand and respect your point of view. The Marriage Equality Act signed into law this week by Governor Dayton contains the strongest religious protections of any state that has extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. No congregation or clergy will be compelled to perform a marriage they do not support.

At the end of the day, it’s clear our country is moving in the direction of greater equality for same-sex couples. With Minnesota already ahead of the curve on this issue, we’re well positioned to gain economic benefits like attracting and retaining the most talented workers and brightest minds.

By making Minnesota a more welcoming place and passing a structurally balanced budget that pays for investments in priorities like education, we can create economic growth and expand broad based, shared prosperity for years to come.

If you have any questions about the House K-12 education bill or tax bill, please contact me by phone at 651-296-4194, by email at, or by postal mail at 487 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

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