Letter to editor stock art - old mailbox

“We’re all in this together." We’ve all seen the billboards and commercials over the last couple months. Obviously, they mean we all must share in making sacrifices to get through COVID-19 and there’s no doubt we’ve been sacrificing.

And although I’ve long made my stance clear on the importance of taking a balanced approach to our COVID response, an approach that protects the most vulnerable, affords people the opportunity to still work and pay their bills and most certainly an approach that errs on the side of leaving us Free People as free to make our own decisions, I know not everyone agrees with it. But the facts of our situation are not debatable; over 600,000 Minnesotans have lost their jobs in less than two months and we are now facing a $2.4 billion budget shortfall due to businesses being closed and people forced out of work.

With nearly 20% of Minnesotans jobless and facing massive fiscal challenges to fund an already bloated state budget we have some serious challenges ahead. But are we actually “All in this together?" On Monday, May 11 the Minnesota State House took up HF2768, a bill that provides 50,000 state workers a PAY RAISE. Yes, a raise for state workers while the private sector is being crushed.

Now the Democrats always claim to be the most empathetic; concerned about poverty and legislation being "equitable." Surely, they wouldn’t give state workers a pay raise at a time like this because “we’re all in this together” right? Wrong. This bill easily passed with all Democratic support, including, of course, Brad Tabke’s support. A bill that the Minnesota Management and Budget office estimates will cost taxpayers $444 million dollars. A bill that gives 50,000 state workers pay raises on the backs of jobless Minnesotans. Equitable? I think not.

Brad Tabke voted for this slap-in-the-face bill just mere weeks after he TWICE voted to keep 600,000 Minnesotans jobless. In the last month, two resolutions have been brought up, HC8 and HC10. These resolutions would have ended Governor Walz’s emergency powers and allowed the shutdown to be lifted, affording people the opportunity to go back to work and reopen their businesses just like what’s happening in Wisconsin right now. But the thought of each individual Minnesotan being free to make their own decisions was so repulsive for Brad Tabke that he wouldn’t even allow the resolutions to be discussed on the house floor. Tabke helped kill the resolutions using cowardly procedural votes.

Now this just begs the question how Brad Tabke can be so tone deaf? How can he proclaim to care about poverty while not only keeping Minnesotans jobless, but also adding $444 million in new spending when we already have a $2.4 billion dollar budget shortfall?

He’ll have to answer those questions, but one thing is crystal clear, we definitely are NOT “all in this together." 

Erik Mortensen 



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