“Budgets are a blueprint of our priorities. What we spend state dollars on truly reflects what we value for our people and our communities.”
My vision for tomorrow is far different from where the state is today. It is a vision that puts people first -- at the center of state policy and the priority for spending state dollars.
That means funding education and changing the formula that distributes those dollars so districts are not continually in crisis and having to pass referendums.
It means free tuition at our technical colleges and 2-year campuses so people of every age can learn the skills needed in today’s economy. It means restoring cuts to our universities.
It means making health care affordable and accessible to every one of our citizens. It means changing our criminal justice system to reduce incarceration, provide alternatives to prison, and treatment instead of punishment for addiction and mental health illness.
It means supporting our counties, tribes, towns and cities that deliver so many of our social programs. It means local control so people can make the decisions that affect the quality of life in their own communities.
In the last four budget cycles I have written alternative budgets that use the same total dollars, but take money from corporate tax breaks and cash payments and put those dollars into programs that support people.
When government provides the supports that increase opportunities for people, the economy thrives. The corporate think tanks tell us that the “business climate” is good when the choice is low taxes and few regulations. But, research tells us the states with good public services are the states that thrive.
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