State budget needs balance

Counterweight needed on $380 mil. cut to health assistance for poor.

Minnesota is going through some turbulent times financially. WeâÄôre facing what could be a $7 billion deficit over the next three years, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty has engaged his executive un-allotment powers to trim down the state budget after failing to come to agreements with state legislature. WhatâÄôs on the chopping block so far? One of his largest cuts announced is the $381 million cut from General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), which provides access to medical care for those living in poverty. Two of the largest recipients of these funds are the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and Regions Hospital, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively. HCMCâÄôs Medical Director Dr. Michael Belzer was quoted saying: âÄúA cut of that degree âĦ would seriously alter the landscape of our ability to provide services to the disadvantaged, vulnerable and poor.âÄù HCMC has a tradition of seeing all those who come through its doors for help, including the uninsured. Substantial state expenditure reductions are essential, and the GAMC cut might be shrewd in the case of strong national health care reform. But if Pawlenty will slash services to the âÄúthe poorest and sickest among us,âÄù he needs to spread the love. Pawlenty, admit that your âÄúno new taxâÄù pledge was not prepared for severe recession. ItâÄôs time to balance a budget, in a balanced way. ItâÄôs time to raise taxes âÄî especially on higher earners âÄî in order to do the job you have already been elected to do: take care of Minnesota.