MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There were no budget meetings Wednesday between Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican leaders.

That brings the state one step closer to a government shutdown.

We’re already seeing the public relations war beginning, especially an ad supporting Dayton from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. The ad claims “drastic” cuts to education.

The left-leaning labor group Alliance for a Better Minnesota is spending up to a million dollars to run this ad statewide, telling Governor Dayton’s side of the story.

It has a hard political spin, asking viewers to “stand up for the middle class.”

It does generally reflect the direction Republicans are taking the budget — rollbacks and reforms — but it steps outside the lines when it says the GOP budget cuts education.

“How we solve out budget problems will say a lot about who we are,” says the ad. “The Republicans want to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, with drastic cuts to education and health care.”

That’s MISLEADING. Education funding is actually going up.

The money the state pays for every student will rise: from $5,124 per pupil this year, to $5,145 next year and to $5,165 in 2012.


Republicans DO make severe cuts to inner city schools with minority populations: $20 million cut from Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.

And they eliminate money for integration efforts, seen by some as key to closing the achievement gap.

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota has grown into a powerful, influential interest group for labor and the Democrats. Last year, it spent $5.6 million targeting GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer with very tough ads that, some say, helped swing the election to Dayton.


Pat Kessler

Comments (35)
  1. Richard Shearer says:

    Pat, the ad doesn’t specifically say k-12 education. Public Higher Education in Minnesota is getting hammered by the Republican budget. This will probably mean higher tuition which does mean the middle class will get squeezed as they are not likely to receive gift aid and rely more heavily on loans. Higher Education is an investment in the future economy of this state…..to bad the republicans don’t seem to think so.

    1. roger a stoick says:

      we have certainly gotten our money’s worth – haven’t we?

    2. Darren says:

      I disagree, I paid out of my own pocket for my Higher Education. I did not take any loans, I did not take any money from my parents. I was an adult at 18 years old and if I wanted to further my education I had to do it on my own. And I did. Higher Education is not guaranteed as is the K-12 education is. College’s are businesses and should be treated that way. Just like I did, your child can also pay for college if he/she so desires to attend such.

      1. Paul says:

        darren don’t choke on your silver spoon

      2. mike says:

        Thank you Darren. This what I have mentioned several times in these comment areas. Higher education is an investment in a persons future just like my investing in my little business to make it better. The public doesn’t give me money to do it (invest) and shouldn’t be obligated to do it for the continued education of someone that wants to better themselves.

    3. dsp says:

      Just when did we start a mandate that says everyone is entitled? I worked, went to college and paid for a family of three all at the same time.

    4. Marc says:

      There are some of us that made college affordable, and didn’t have a “silver spoon”! I graduated high school being in a low income family, served in the military, earned my right to the GI Bill, and received a degree in computer science along with a networking certificate. I did it all without paying anything out of pocket. There are options that make college affordable…you just have to want it bad enough…

  2. Zed says:

    Let’s get real…Our once proud state was ruined by Potholes A Pawlenty and his radical right agenda to destroy the working and middle classes, and who would have had NO PROBLEM causing the poor, working poor and any minority suffering up to death. We must repudiate the right wing agenda to destroy unions, public education and anything that contributes to our once vaunted Minnesota Quality Of Life.

  3. roger a stoick says:

    Let’s keep spending scarce resources on educating everyone equally. Let’s not hold anyone accountable – just open the checkbook and pay away. At some point, we need to determine what should be spent for education and create a budget that supports that number. Why does a small christian private school survive on a budget of half the cost of other schools in various districts?
    I’m an independent and don’t support either Dayton or the Republicans. I do lean toward fiscal management of our tax dollars. My experience with the democratic side is to spend, spend, spend and don’t consider any accountability.

    1. Art says:

      Tell me what small christian school has to educate special needs children, public schools don’t have that choice. Any clue how much that costs?
      Teacher pay. When the economy is not going into the toilet, how long does a teacher stay for the low wages paid in a private institution.
      Lastly, if a kid does not perform well, the private school can throw them out . Now the public school has to put resources into getting the kid up to where the kid should be in school. If the school doesn’t get the kids where they need to be there is the federal mandates of no child left behind.

      1. T says:

        True enough, Art. I’ve got my kids in a private school. We have limited resources for special education. Luckily for all you entitlement junkies, I’m still paying to have YOUR kids in school, too. Ah, the price of living in a free country.

    2. Math Guy says:

      First, to Roger, Democrats don’t want to just spend, spend, spend. You can’t listen to Everything the GOP tells you. But, there should be a middle ground. Dayton wants to tax only the wealthiest of taxpayers and balance it with budget cuts. His plan would cut higher ed 6%. The GOP plan cuts it 16%. We can’t absorb a 16% cut, so which colleges do you want to close?

      Obviously, we disagree on whether state government should be funding higher education. But you can’t disagree that the idiot who wrote this article lied…or at least was MISLEADING himself. It’s a fact that the GOP budget DID make drastic cuts to higher education and that it will mean middle class families will pay higher tuition.

      So, if the author meant K-12 education, he should have said so.

  4. Jimmy says:

    Richard is on-point. Since when is “education” only defined as K-12? The UM/MnSCU budgets have been hammered every biennium during the entire Pawlenty tenure and now they’re looking at another 10%-plus cut! We’re on the fast track to kick Mississippi out of its long-held last place slot. Shame on the GOP!

    1. Max says:

      You are right on target Jimmy! A cold Mississippi we will surely become.

    2. Darren says:

      K to 12 is a guaranteed education. Anything beyond that, like I did, pay for it yourself. I worked full time and went to college full time, so can everyone else. I took no loans or money from my parents.

      1. Citizen says:

        Darren, how many of those loans were federally guaranteed loans and pell grants? Hmmm…..just wondering. Because, if you were truly on your own at 18 and woking, you probably still qualified for those because without an education, you were probably asking people, “Do you want fries with that?” Oh, wait, even with an education these days, you’re probably still asking that. Where are the GOP-promised jobs? How about a living wage? Anyone out there listening? Hello…..

  5. DAVE says:

    That commercial is very misleading. It also says that the Republicans will raise taxes on the middle class, when in fact one of the major stumbling block between the Republicans and Dayton is the Republicans don’t want to raise ANY taxes. It says Dayton wants to raise taxes on the top 2%, but that hasn’t worked too well in California, the top 2% just moved out of state. I have noticed that the Democrats are the only one’s who run commercials and they are usually misleading at best.

    1. Max says:

      Don’t kid yourself. Property taxes will continue to rise as less state money is funneled to local government. That’s exactly what happened during the “Pawlenty years” and increased property taxes certainly represents a middle class tax hike.

      1. Darren says:

        Why can’t your local government not raise taxes or property taxes? Maybe like the state they are spending too much and shouldn’t be rasing those taxes at all. Sounds to me like spend spend spend.

        1. Curtis says:

          If the area in which you live relies on commercial property there is the decline in that value. One local finance website states that property values have dropped as much as 40%. Business can’t really pay more than the 4% they do pay. That means it falls to the homeowner.
          Adjusted for inflation the Minneapolis budget has been flat to lower. Perhaps to me Darren should read read read and research

    2. Bernie says:

      Schools, and cities for that matter, receive funded from the state. The GOP reduces the funds the cities and schools must go to their other source of revenue, property taxes. The GOP mantra of live within your means and don’t raise taxes is hard to do when major funding goes away.

  6. Pat says:

    So the Republican budget did not cut colleges and the University? I think they didand rather drastically. That means that many middle class and lower class families will have to forgo sending their son or duaghter to college this fall without going further and further into debt. I also think that their “shifting” of funds from inner city schools in St. Paul, Minneapoolis and Dulth shows a clear politically motivated bias against stron Democratic strong holds. It is politics at its worst; hurting urban kids for the sake of stipping some funds out of Democrat precincts. Your reality check is unreal.

    1. T says:

      Pat you are correct, it did. Funding higher education is definetly an entitlement we can no longer afford. The government has been funding higher educationfor almost 50 years now. What has this funding done? Created an elite class of educator princes. This funding has done nothing other than cause the price of education to go up. It’s called economics, Pat. What happened when the govenment tax credit was established so people could buy washers, Pat? The price of washers went up. Government interferrance in funding education will eventually destroy it because the beast does not know how to live without this entitlement and we can’t afford to keep pace with 10 – 12% inflation in education costs.

      1. Edgar says:

        @T No education = no skilled workforce. Unskilled jobs went overseas. Statistics on earning over a lifetime high school versus college shows the government’s take on the difference would clearly pay for the education. http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/moneymatters/a/edandearnings.htm Tuition now is about 40% of the actual cost. In the 1970’s it was about 25%

      2. Citizen says:

        Students in Europe received post-secondary education free in many cases. It is all in what you value. Education is an investment in the future. Colleges are the backbone of scientific research and breakthroughs. So, T, you want to back to the dark ages of knowledge?

  7. T says:

    Max, you are missing the whole point. The higher up in governmnent from which funding flows the greater the inefficieny. At that distance it is nearly impossible to hold government accountable. Pushing the taxation process down to the local level forces local governments to be more efficient and accountable to the people. At the local level if you don’t like what’s happening, you can vote em out or run for Mayor, yourself! This works. That is the whole point.

    1. Citizen says:

      T. Ever try to appeal the valuation of your property? Ever try to get those property taxes lowered after they’ve gone up? Virtually, impossible, as most homeowners can tell you. Even with valuations down, the tax dollars payable are staying close to the same because the counties simply can levy for the money they need to function. It’s an old shell game. The legislature cuts to make itself look good knowing that local entities can raise property taxes without any taxpayer input. Classic! And every GOP conservative is falling for this tired old line. Property taxes are truly taxation without representation!!!!

  8. Mary says:

    Misleading? You were misleading when you left out any information about healthcare. Why did you leave out would happen to those less fortunate and the disabled? You should show the video of the man who spoke to the House about living with cerebral palsy. As he said, he didn’t ask to be born with CP. What the Republicans want to do to people such as him is cruel and heartless.

  9. Mike Merker says:

    what the article doesn’t mention is alliance for a better minnesota is heavily funded by the dayton family. the trust funds babies ex-wife donated close to a million last year to this group and other family members donated around 300 grand. So any ad they put out is not to be believed.

    1. Citizen says:

      So, Mike Merker, that means any ad the GOP puts out can be believed? Come on, we all know advertising is spin, but advertisers do retain freedom of speech. I agree with Mary. This article by Kessler is half a story and just more spin.

  10. This guy says:

    Property taxes will go up because the GOP budget bills shift mandated costs back to counties. The bills propose increasing county costs of sex offender by 150%. How do you think a county can just absorb that without raising property taxes? The same goes for mental health grants – law states counties must maintain the same levels of spending from year to year, but the grants get cut more each year making property taxes the only way to recoup the costs. It is truly a shell game!

  11. Lee says:

    Much about so-called draconian cuts, when in fact the proposed budget cuts amount to a 6% overall increase in spending. The current ad played on TV criticizing proposed cuts conveniently FAIL to mention this. Also, why do cities immediately cry Property Tax increases? Is it because they are HOOKED on money from the state? Why raise property taxes? Can’t they manage within their means like families have to? This TV AD needs to be looked into for truth.

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