Dear Friends of the Minnesota Budget Project:
In this email:
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote during the week of March 19 on its budget resolution for fiscal year 2008. The budget resolution is a critical component of federal budget decisions — if the total amount of spending is set too low, it will be impossible for Congress to address urgent priorities. And without responsible decisions on tax cuts and budget rules, the federal deficit will continue to grow and harm our nation’s ability to fund critical services.
Your calls to our Minnesota Senators are needed to ensure that the Budget Resolution:
· Sets a funding target that makes it possible to address urgent national priorities.
· Includes a “pay as you go” rule to ensure responsible budget decisions.
· Does NOT extend temporary tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and increase the federal deficit.
Increased Funding for National Priorities
The Senate should increase funding for domestic discretionary spending — those areas of federal spending that have their funding appropriated each year, including education, nutrition, affordable housing, environmental protection, state and local government aid, energy assistance, the arts, and more. If the total amount of domestic discretionary spending is set too low in the budget resolution, it will be impossible for Congress to provide sufficient funding for urgent priorities in these budget areas. (To see what a low funding target would mean for Minnesota, see the Minnesota Budget Project, The President’s Budget for FY 2008: What Does It Mean for Minnesota?)
Enforce Fiscal Responsibility Through PAYGO
The Senate budget resolution should reinstate the “pay as you go” or “PAYGO” rule. This rule requires that any legislation that increases entitlement spending or cuts taxes be offset either with new revenues or cutting existing spending. Any legislation that violates PAYGO rules would need at least 60 votes to pass. PAYGO rules apply to tax cuts and entitlements, which include Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Food Stamps, and other programs that are established in permanent law and not subject to annual appropriations. PAYGO rules are an important way to prevent the Senate from passing tax cuts that would increase the size of the deficit and limit the ability of Congress to adequately fund urgent priorities.
Oppose Tax Cuts that Aren’t Paid For
The Senate may consider amendments to the Budget Resolution to make permanent the temporary tax cuts that are set to expire in 2010 or even to repeal the federal estate tax. The Senate should not use the budget resolution to extend temporary tax cuts that are not paid for. Doing so would increase the size of the deficit and further limit our ability to address urgent needs in Minnesota.
If you have questions or need further information, call Steve Francisco at 651-642-1904 x232 or (cell) 651-249-3806, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate it if you can share with us any feedback you receive from Senator Coleman and Senator Klobuchar. Thank you!
This action alert is also available online at www.mncn.org/bp/federalissues.htm.
The Minnesota Budget Project recently held two free briefings about what state and federal budgets mean for Minnesotans. If you were unable to join us, you can download the handouts.
Lyon County Government Center • 607 W. Main St. • Marshall, MN 56258 • (507) 537-7046