I appreciate this opportunity by the Stillwater Gazette to respond to claims made by Tom DeGree, the state DFL and their special interest groups during the District 39B House of Representatives race. Allow me to set the record straight regarding the so-called “stalemate” at the Capitol, the “government shutdown” and the claim that our state budget was balanced on “the backs of our children.”
All the credit for “the longest state shutdown every in the history of Minnesota” goes directly to Gov. Mark Dayton and everybody knows it, whether they want to admit it or not. After realizing he was wrong about shutting down our government to hold out for his tax hike, he finally saw the light and signed off on a balanced budget that created the largest surplus in years. And this was all accomplished without an increase in state taxes. In signing off however, he took one final shot at the legislature by refusing to approve repayment of the debt owed to our schools.
Over 70 cents of every dollar spent on education goes directly to benefits, salaries and other administrative “overhead,” not to the students in the classroom. To me, less that 30 cents on the dollar is a pretty raw deal for our children, especially considering the patent inadequacies of public education.
The deliberate mischaracterization that the state budget was balanced “on the backs of our children”is only accurate to the extent that our governor, not the legislature, chose to deprive our schools of the very resources available to them, and to which they are entitled. I have an outstanding and fully documented record of advocacy for education, particularly education funding. My voting record in support of the core values of everyday Minnesotans, especially regarding education funding, is completely consistent with the will of the people who elected me to office. As reflected in your own paper, my actions speak for themselves, and they are completely consistent with the will of the voters.
Kathy Lohmer, Lake Elmo
Editor’s Note: This is a rebuttal to a previously published letter. Lohmer is the House District 39B Republican candidate.