To the Editor:
Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill passed by the Republican-led majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate to pay back a portion of the state's debt to schools. Currently, the state owes nearly $52.4 billion to the schools. This bill sought to pay back $430 million.
If you recall from last session, the Republicans delayed and shifted payments of nearly $700 million from schools to fill a budget deficit. This was an extremely controversial move and was a last-resort maneuver to solve the problem. This could have been avoided if the Democrats had been fiscally responsible when they were in control of the Minnesota House and Senate until 2010.
What the Democrats do not want you to know is that when they were in control they also borrowed from the schools; nearly three times the amount Republicans borrowed last session. The paradox here is that they never paid the schools back. After solving the state's fiscal issues and even bringing in a budget surplus to the state, the Republicans want to pay the schools back. When you have the cash, it is only right that you pay back what you borrow. If all bodes well, the Republicans will start paying back the Democrats' portion of the delayed payments.
In addition to Gov. Dayton's veto, Education Minnesota, the state teachers union, also was opposed to the passage of the bill. This makes no sense whatsoever. Why would the teachers union want to stop a repayment to the schools? This proves that Education Minnesota is not in the best interest of the teachers of the state or the students affected by the delayed payments.
Either way, Governor Dayton's "my way or the highway" approach or Education Minnesota's "unions first, kids second" is a detriment to the well-being of our students, teachers and schools in the state of Minnesota. Let's set things right and pay back the schools.