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Setting the right priorities

The 2013 legislative session is underway in St. Paul. I believe as a hardworking Minnesotan, you deserve a government that works efficiently and effectively, and I'm working every day to make sure the priorities of Cass, Wadena, Todd and Morrison Counties are well represented.

In 2011, Republicans balanced Minnesota's $6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, and we created a $1 billion budget surplus. We prioritized the way we spend your tax dollars. Governor Dayton's current budget proposal released this month will raise $3.6 billion in new taxes from Minnesotans and increase our state government's spending by almost 8 percent. I don't believe this is the right direction for our state or the best way to grow our economy.

It's important for all of us at the Legislature to sit down together and go through the state's budget line by line and evaluate the programs we fund. If they work and are necessary, we should continue investing in them. If there is no return on investment, let's stop wasting taxpayer dollars.

Having a reasonable conversation about our spending priorities will bring a more balanced approach.

I believe we need efficient and responsible spending without piling debt on our children. There are some who do not believe in accountability and want to spend our tax dollars irresponsibly, mortgaging the American dream.

I believe we should have the freedom to make the important and personal health care choices for ourselves and our families. Some folks prefer to create another government bureaucracy with the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchange that will force us onto health insurance that is managed by a seven-member board with little to no accountability or oversight.

I believe our Constitutional rights should always be protected and never be subject to political climate change. There are folks in St. Paul who would limit our freedom by restricting our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

We can do better.

I strongly encourage each of you to research these initiatives that are coming forth because they will directly impact all of us. Please contact me with any questions or concerns you have. I value your opinion and will work hard every day to bring you the government you deserve.

Sen. Paul Gazelka