Rent Credit, College Grants On Budget Chopping Block

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Three weeks after taking office, Minnesota Republicans passed a major budget cutting bill; a $1 billion measure touching almost every Minnesotan in some specific way.

And it’s only the first of many big cuts to come as the state faces a record $6.2 billion deficit.

The bill that’s making its way through Republican majorities in the House and Senate orders state agencies to stop spending — now.

“If there is money that is not being spent yet, it doesn’t mean it needs to be spent,” said Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove.

“A lot of folks carry a credit card — does everybody have to spend it up to the limit?” he asked.

The impact of budget cuts includes the very real possibility of waiting longer for your street to be plowed after the next big storm.

Cuts to local government aid could mean another property tax hike.

Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said the cuts are “backward-looking” and would push up property taxes and college tuition.

But Majority Republicans say they’re doing exactly what they were elected to do — cut government spending and do it fast.
“We promised you last November, last December and January that we were gonna come in, get to work and get our job done. We are fulfilling that promise,” said Zellers.

The cuts on the table affected just about everyone and include less disaster aid for businesses after floods and tornadoes.
Other example of who the cuts could affect:

  • State employee: Pay freeze.
  • Prisoner: Supply cuts to items like toilet paper or clothing.
  • Renter:  Smaller rent credit.
  • High school student: College grants might not come after all.
  • Veteran coming home from the war: Job search grants and tuition reimbursement may be in jeopardy.

Democrats say they don’t object to budget cuts, just the speed of them and they call these “reckless.”

“When the public said they wanted us to cut the budget, I’m not so sure that this is what they wanted,” said Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center. “What they want is for us to be thoughtful and prioritize.”

More from Pat Kessler
  • E.H.

    Living this day in age makes me not want to bring children into the world. With politicians making decisions based on what THEY think should be done is Not a good way to go about things. Being a college student who gets grants, a renter who gets a rent credit and am also a state employee this article makes me want to be sick.

    • Wake up

      College grants only allow colleges to charge more. They will always have tuition rates right on the border of being affordable. If you raise grant money they will raise tuition. God people are stupid.

    • AMEN brother


      You are not alone. I too dont think you should bring children into this world.

  • KM

    Attacking the poor again, lovely republicans!

    • Victim Du Jour

      We have the most obese poor people on the planet in the USA.

      They even have Nintendo Wii and Playstations.

      • I like this guy

        Dont forget cell phones and internet

    • Todd

      Would someone tell me what is wrong with taxing the wealth of this State? I remember several years ago a letter from a wealthy individual who said that he felt blessed to live in this state and that he COULD afford to pay more tax. Taxing the college student is only going to reduce the number of students from finishing college or increasing the number of yaars it takes to finish their degree. I would like to see a permanent wage and permanent per diem freeae on our legislators with the only way for them to get one would be for a voter referendum at election time. /with their incomptetence they would never get one!

    • Gloria

      As I read the cuts decided by the Republicans, I’m sickened and am disgusted the vulnerable people of Minnesota are the ones to suffer even more. Shame on you Minnesota Republicans!

  • HERB

    Get some of the money our multibillionaires in this state have been hoarding. Republicans always want to cut public services, education and programs which help the disadvantaged. Making multi billionairs pay their fair share (%) of the state financial burden could solve this in a New York minute.

    The truth is that Republicans want to dumb down the population by cutting education so they can continue to be believed when their lies when common sense tells us that the rich are not contributing their fair share. Promises of reinvestment and the like are simply never going to be fulfilled. The majority of the rich have money because it is their GOD. Unless mandated to “do the right thing” and support those less fortunate, the “what is in it for me” mentality simply will not allow them to part with any of their money.

    “What does it avail a man to gain a fortune and loose his soul?” If this is you, This question is to be answered at the end of your life . . . that means there is still time, but not much.

    • mike

      you sir sound like you are very very jealous person. Just because someone is successful in life and makes more money then most, why should they pay a higher percentage in taxes then you or I?

      • Ignorance must be bliss

        If you look at the majority of people that are filthy rich, they have old money. This means that they did nothing to get the money except being born. So this should entitle them to not pay a share? The other question I would have is, are you one of those people being talked about? If not why do you care if rich has to pay more? If you are in that class then you have had your fair share of time where you have not paid so time to pony up.

      • College student

        because they make more money than most people. College students are poor and broke because they are going to school to make something of themselves. If I was a multi billionaire I would gladly pay more to help out the poor college kids.

        Raising tuition and getting rid of college grants means that less kids are going to go to college because they can’t afford it, which also means that that generation will not develop as college grads, which means the job outlook will be scarce without a college degree.

      • Angel Andrews

        And Mike…
        WE ARE ALL IN THIS BOAT TOGETHER… if some of us sink… THE WHOLE BOAT SINKS…!!!

      • Todd

        Because they can afford to and because it is the honorable and right thing to do.

      • me

        Mike…you can be successful, and compassionate and carring…All I ever hear from those who are successful, are how everyone else under them should be working or making different choices. Well my dear friend…sometimes it’s luck that give people a chance, not hard work. Sometimes it’s the fact that they were born into wealth, not hard work. Besides….Most of them are not stinking rich with billons of dollars because they earned it the honorable way. Many of them are that way because they find loop holes in the system that only they qualify for. Back in the 1800’s people were wealthy because they had to work at it. Now day’s its luck, who you are born to…and….cheating the system. Besides. We want our children to get an education, why should college only be allowed to the rich? All this is going to do is not give the disadvantaged kids a chance. In other words, if you are born into poverty, you will stay in poverty…if you are born into wealth, you will stay in wealth. It’s not about coming up with innovative ideas any longer, that will help a disadvanted guy strike it rich.

      • Get a job


        The people you have “old money” have already paid tax on that money when it was made way back when. Being you are a bottom feeder and don’t pay taxes, I would not expect you to know how it works.

      • Ignorance must be bliss

        Get a job
        Where do you get off telling people that they do not have a job? You are 1 sick person to be thinking that you should be able to make assumptions about that kind of thing and really should have yourself looked at. You have way too much hate and not enough intelligence. For your info I do have 1 full time job and a part time job on the weekends. Where you get your info is beyond me but since this is the 2nd time you have pointed me out as jobless in comments I wanted to let you know you are dead wrong and may be the dumbest person I have ever had the privilege to have an argument with on this site.

      • Richard

        The rich pay taxes at 15% rate (capital gains), as the vast majority of their income is set-up that way by their tax accountants. You know that, assuming you are one of the more well-off, which I assume is fair conclusion based on your comment.
        The less fortunate pay at 34% on average, that’s for those who are employed with respectable positions (who, by the way, are the ones creating the wealth for those who are the investors, such as yourself).
        Now, please, be honest; why should one person, the one who doesn’t work yet makes the most money, pay less than half as much as the rest of us???
        Put all the facts on the table, and you will see, jealousy has nothing to do with it. It’s simply that one person was luckier, at least for the time being, than the next person.

    • Sherri

      I agree Mike, I work for rich people and they pay the help terrible and give money to things they can write off on their taxes!! they do worship money!!

      • Sherri

        sorry meant i agree with Herb

    • Ignorance must be bliss

      I forgot to mention in that last post that because of me having 2 jobs I DO have to pay taxes. Have not had a refund in 6 years. Your point next?

      • Get a job

        Apparently I’m a little slow. So, let me get this straight. Because I use “get a job” as a screen name I am a sick person? “Get a job” is a metaphor about getting some self respect having a little dignity, and responsabilty. This is what seperates us with our beliefs. I am stereo typing you as a democrat because of some of your comments. Examples: You think it is OK to STEAL money from the rich, I do not. You think throwing more money at some entitlement program will fix it, I do not. You think govn. should take care of everything, I do not.

        Everything govn. does it fails at. I’m fed up with it, you on the other hand continually expect govn. to do more and more. Who lacks intellligence?
        The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

        I am responsible for my life, the lives of my family, not govn.
        I have dignity and self respect, you should try some.

      • Richard

        Get a Job, or Ignorant, or whatever metaphor you are calling yourself:

        I have a friend who is a self-proclaimed person who thinks as you do, that government is a waste of money. He’s quite the staunch right-wing republican, who was making excellent money, until one day, he was taken ill with heart failure. He lived, but when the system, the medical system in this case, but still, part of that commerce system he believes is the only path to success, presented him with a $250,000 hospital bill, he was the first in line to beg for help from the state in the form of medical assistance. For you see, he worked hard all his life, had accrued some successes, but as he aged, he could get health insurance. Being a small business owner, and with age, he could get insurance. You know the rest of the story. The state did help him out. The state paid the bill, not to mention the tens of medications he now has to depend on. Is your suggestion to him that as a hardworking person, who did everything right, even being a well-heeled conservative, that he should not have asked the state for help? If it had happened to you, would you have turned down the state help? Or let’s say you are in a car accident, crippled, and you still have years to live; let’s say 30 years. And you need physical therapy, many medications, weekly doctor’s visits, wheel chairs (did you know they run about $20,000 a piece?), other equipment to get in and out of bed or the shower, not to mention a special bed so you don’t develop bed sores; as well as an attendant, and special transportation. And by the way, your lifetime coverage from your health insurance ran out in the first 6 months; and, your employers coverage no longer exists, because, …. YOU CAN’T WORK ANY LONGER! So would you take the help from your state agencies then?
        If so, do you realize how many people it takes in those agencies to get those services to you??
        I just love all you conservatives who think the democrats are stealing from you. You think it’s all your party. Bubba, you live in a society, a community, and you are expected to contribute to its existence. We don’t kill people or let them die because they haven’t had the luck that you’ve had. And it’s nothing more than luck, trust me. I know a lot of people who use to think and talk just like you, but 30 years ago. Many of them now take the money from those programs, most of them in fact. So grow up, contribute to this nation that gave you the breaks you have, and just be thankful you managed to get the luck of the draw in who got what. (I also get the biggest kick out of the fact that it is most times, those who have not served in the armed forces, who think they are getting ripped off. They won’t serve, they don’t want to pay taxes, they don’t want to contribute to their communities. They just want to take, take, take.

      • Richard

        In my post, it should read “He could NOT get insurance, not that he could get insurance.

      • Get a job


        Apparently your buddy did not have the proper insurances. Accident/ disability/ or the right health ins. with the proper limits. Also, here is a fact for you. If you take government out of taxes, IT IS THEFT. Do yourself a favor and look up the definition of theft. It’s unbelievable that people like you can walk around this world not feeling guilty that you are stealing from others.

      • Get a job

        One more thing, your buddy is a prime example of how these programs get abused. It’s the “can’t beat the system so, might as well join it” mentality. That’s why these programs need to end.

  • Lonnie

    Since we all need to tighten our belt, and no doubt public employees wages are about to be froze, the the legislature should also freeze doctors wages, dentist wages, hospital costs, lawyers wages, bankers wages, grocery prices. Balance the budget on public employees, but let everyone else charge what they want ???
    Read Minnesota House File No. 192, it not only freezes wages, but a whole, whole, lot more. Read it and weep public employees, your the scapegoat this time around. Your public employee pensions are next.

  • Linda

    so sick of rich republicans taking from the poorest people in apts and students. I found they just are more greedy and selfish..


      Taking from the poor? You mean giving them less.

  • Linda

    Happy now people? Typical Republican moves…..I bet half of you who voted for these lunatics will lose out on much needed benefits. Way to go you tea party lovers!!!

    • WOW

      Umm, us tea party people dont rely on government “benefits” thats kind of the whole point.

      • Richard

        You don’t drive on the streets, flush your toilets into the sewer system, depend on police and fire service?
        You are so selective in your argument.
        By the way, I know a number of so-called TeaBaggers who take government checks and assistance all the time. As long as the check has their name on it, they consider it to be a ‘different story’.
        And why is it that the newly elected TeaBaggers (very similar to CarpetBaggers) recently elected to congress aren’t turning down their health insurance coverage, 70% of which is paid by the taxpayers? And let’s not forget the free coverage they get at any military medical facility, or the Office of the Attending Physician, on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol Building, which gives them FREE, or should I say “at the expense of the taxpayers” urgent care?
        No, you teabaggers are a sham. Your members take their social security, medicare, medicaid, and veterans benefits just like everyone else. So stop all this fibbing and lying. You’re just hoping no one presents you with the fact!

      • WOW


        I pay for the streets every time I fill up, it’s in the price at the pump. It’s called a road tax.
        Every month I pay a sperate water and sewer bill from my city.
        If you have paid into social security you whole life then it is “your money” damn right you should cash the checks.
        The tea party is for limited government, not no government.
        You need to pull your head out, before you argue with me. I am not impressed with your opinions and untruths that you are posting on here. You spread false information. You are a disgrace to your fellow comrads.

  • Cathy

    Wealthy people should simply pay their fair share of taxes. The highest earners in our state pay 7.7% of their income in taxes, while middle income earniers pay 10.3%. And yes, small businesses do pass through their business income on their personal tax returns, but how about starting with those who make over $1000000?

    • SAD

      Look in the mirror, you are promoting legalized theft, you are sad.

  • MAJ

    A pay freeze for state workers is going to generate alot a complaining. They forget that their retirement age is much lower than the general public. Their pensions are far better than in the private sector. They forget alot of successful people worked very hard for what they have. Owners of companies take a big gamble that their services or products will be profitable.
    Time we all take responsiblity for our needs and don’t look for free handouts.

  • Willow

    We should not be penalizing veterans for being a veteran. They served this country. They deserve the benefits they were promised. There are other ways of cutting the budget.

    • Todd

      Veternans benefits should also be on the table. this country is in danger of collapsing under the weight of debt to keep this group off the radar.

      • Richard

        Why is it you cheap-skates not only don’t want to pay taxes, you are cowards when it comes to serving in the armed forces? Just when is it that you think you should contribute to this nation that gave you the opportunities that you have?
        I served, in combat, in Vietnam. I spent months in a hell you don’t have the guts to try. And you think that we, who were wounded, who still deal with the results of those wounds, should just be forgotten; that our small compensations should be take away. Is that what you are saying?
        If so, you don’t deserve to be an American.
        In combat, one lesson we learned: You don’t leave anybody behind.
        You, you coward, need to understand that. In this country, we are proud that we do not leave others behind. The world doesn’t spin around you. You are part of a society. Start paying your dues you coward.

  • Goob

    CEO’s and the like used to make around 40 times what the company’s average employee made. Now it is 350 to 500 times more. Where is the money going you ask???

  • Justthetruth

    Let’s put a freeze on the flood of Africans and Southern African-Americans and all their large families and dependents for the next few years, and that will no doubt help the state control its budget deficit. Do you think that a cab driver with 8 to 10 children, many of them with a health condition, doesn’t put an enormous strain on our government services? Well, it does and big time.
    So please, write to your legislator and ask them to put a freeze on the massive flood of entitlees.

  • Your not rich Minnesotan

    Well, according to the CBO and the Heritage Foundation, nationally, the top 20% of income earners pony up 86.1% of the federal taxes, while the bottom 20%s share was a -2.8%. Yes that was a NEGATIVE 2.8 %! That bottom 20%, not only did not pay any taxes, but they got refunds for something they did not pay for!! I cannot imagine it is THAT much different here in MN than nationally.

    The voters here in MN made it clear that they sent those elected to do their job and trim the budget. It will fall on all of us to take our “fair share” of cuts! I commend them for making the tough decisions.

    • me

      There are other areas they can cut into…they do not have to cut into programs that already barely help the disadvanted.. But then I guess we want our nation to be stupid huh? Already other country’s college kids are getting a better education than ours. Lets cut even more into education, so that america becomes the dumbest country on the plantet. Pretty soon, our children are going to be running this country. I pity the day when it has to be run by someone without a college education because we cut education costs.

      • Your not rich Minnesotan

        What other programs can they cut into that will not affect SOMEONE? And as for education, home-schooled kids are ahead of their public school counterparts and they do it will a whole lot less money! I know VERY few home-schooled kids who are not going on to college.

  • J S

    They will never make the wealthiest pay their fair share because that is what the Governor wanted to do and they can’t possibly work together for a common end it is easier to make the poor and underprivileged do with out instead of making the wealthy cut back.

    • Todd Schneider

      what is their fair share?

    • kim

      So you don’t think 86.1% is enough to pay? Well heck, they might as well just give all their income away to the poor, but somehow I don’t think that would be enough! It is not the responsibility of those who have worked hard to earn what they have to give their all to those who don;t for whatever reason.

  • Lori

    Little did I know when I had my boys, that the promise of a college education would be put of their reach as they were unfortunate enough to be born into middle-class family. Not rich enough to get the hand outs and not poor enough either. But stuck in the middle looking at high student loan interest rates and tuition hikes. And to make life a little more special, let’s play with their rent. When will hurting our children and their futures end???

  • Todd Schneider

    cant wait until they make deeper cuts. There is no reason a renter should get money back. Colleges are charging huge amounts because the Education being given, at an astronomical cost, in k-12 is worthless and you need a college education to get a decent job. State workers get full benefits and pension…anyone else?

    • Mary

      State workers do not get full benefits, in fact that is a myth. Also because they keep freezing his pay, but increasing our health insurance costs and out of pocket expenses, my husband now brings home LESS than he did 10 years ago.

    • Todd

      State workers do not get full benefits. We pay for our medical just like everyone else and dare I say there are those in private industry that actually have better benefits? Stop making all kinds of blanket statements without facts. State workers have been the scape goat every year the past 20 years. While the state legislators have enjoyed the luxory to vote themselves pay and benefit increases they have frozen or nearly frozen state employee pay. Stop bashing state employees because this is one hard working group of people.

      • JAL

        State workers also do not get nice bonuses at the end of the year, or any bonus at all, for that matter.

  • magpie

    So if you don’t plow my street so that I can get to my job, do I stil have to pay taxes?

  • Phony Evangelism

    I do see your point about the renters tax return. Why is it the governments responsibility to give us money back for rent which we are willing to pay. I looked at it as a kind gesture but not necessary. I completely disagree with cutting funding for college education. College education is basically a requirement to make enough money to become independent. Being a college graduate with loans to pay back during a recession is very difficult to live. Many people that are struggling to keep their houses and pay rent are college graduates because they have tremendous amount out loans to pay back and no jobs. Education in this country should be a right not a privilege.

    I do agree that we need to get the deficit under control but It seems that we are not prioritizing effectively and i think it would be beneficial for the upper class to pay a higher percentage in taxes. This will not make a huge dent in their wallet and yes they may have worked really hard for it but they are part of a society which means we all have to contribute to the better welfare of the people.

  • Censor

    Censor us..

    WCCO-TV is censoring again. Anyone who is against tax payer funded stadiums their comments are being sensored. The networks do not want to loose their tax payer funded advertizing revenue streams.

    • Todd

      Let the millionaires build their own stadium, or let the Vikings move to LA Good riddance

  • Darryl

    This is why I would llike to see a multi party system of 3 to 5 major political parties that are forced to work TOGETHER to get anything done, because they wouldn’t have a majority on their own. I believe this would make things better for our state and residents. There’s too much bickering back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats. Seems like most politicians are drones to their party rather than voices for their constituents, especially after the Republican party of MN banned some members because they didn’t tow the party line last November.

  • Lonnie

    It appears this wage freeze would apply to all public employees, not just state employees. It appears that all school, city, county, employees would also be included.
    Furthermore it appears that by mid 2012 that all of these public employees wages have to be adjusted to be same as private sector wages.
    All of this will certainly make life very interesting for tens of thousands of public employees in Minnesota.

    • Todd

      I would like to see a permanent wage freeze on all State legislators with the only polssible of them getting one would be to let the voters decide in a voter referendum at election time.

      • Jackie

        I sure hope so – it’ll be nice to be paid as much as the private sector. I am a State employee and have worked in both private and public areas – with my State job my paycheck grows smaller and smaller every year – we’ve already had pay freezes for 2 years with increased benefit costs – even my husband, who works in the private sector, got a raise this year but the Republicans want to freeze pay rates for State workers for 4 more years. Working our way back to a 3rd world country. They sure can argue and stand up for the wealthy – who actuallly pay a smaller percentage of taxes than middle class people – but always, always go for the low-hanging fruit.

      • Wake up

        this is the problem with state employees. they cry about a pay freeze and rising ins. costs. while the rest of us paying their wages have been making way less for years

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  • martymar

    It could be worse… could live in Zimbabwe

  • Lynn

    No heart and less intelligence, this is the republicans attempt to reduce spending?

    Evil Evil Evil —–>Toilet paper guy ;-) How immature! I get it.

    Republicans not interested in U.S. future except their own like the idea of getting rid of any competition by cutting off education grants. I get it.

    Going after our Veterans coming home? I am going to cry :-( I get it. sniffle…

    • LISTEN

      To you crying liberals,

      Rpublicans are in charge of the house. The majority of people voted for them. Deal with it.

      • Ignorance must be bliss

        Just a hint but you and your GOP kind should just shut up with the “liberal” stuff. Are republicans so stupid they do not know that there are more than just 2 parties? Why is it you never, NEVER have an actual fact or comment other than “liberal, tree hugging, hippie, Obama lover” when you disagree with someone? Just so frustrating when people assume and are completely wrong. I have never affiliated with 1 party because I have a mind of my own and do not think 1 party suits every interest I have. You make comments like this and show how narrow minded you are and this is why you are in the minority when it comes to common sense. I would love to elaborate more but your little brain must hurt already and it would never sink in anyway.

      • Ignorance must be bliss

        As a side note maybe republicans should do the same about Dayton since they want to say this to others about the republicans being voted in. Practice what you preach.

  • Christina Nerlien

    “Democrats say they don’t object to budget cuts, just the speed of them”

    I’m calling it.. Daytons going to allow it to implement his “blink tax” through his term and we will see a smal tax increase across the board on top of it..

    We all have two options..

    1. Continue the BS partisan fighting and push off the same problems


    2. Join together, bite the bullet, get creative and SOLVE these issues..

    I am a left leaning moderate. I would love to care for ALL and give everyone what I would like them to have.. IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN..

    Both sides have valid points and compromise needs to be reached. The extremist tug of war from both sides needs to stop.

    The DFL Reps SUPPORT this, THEY are only fighting the speed of delivery.. They see the writing on the wall. It is coming, are YOU READY???

  • Christina Nerlien

    .. I didn’t see the veto coming.. i am truly surprised.

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