Statement from Ken Martin

“Just 10 days ago the Speaker of the Minnesota House, Kurt Daudt, the highest ranking Republican elected official in the State of Minnesota, laid out hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending for things like tax cuts, transportation infrastructure, nursing home funding, and K-12 higher education spending. And while his math didn’t quite add up, the fact of the matter is that there hasn’t been a single bill introduced by Republican House members to cut spending this year. Clearly, Speaker Daudt and House Republicans agree with DFLers that we should use this surplus to invest in the critical unmet needs facing Minnesotans throughout the state. 

“Now today the Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota is calling on the legislature to send every surplus dollar back to Minnesota residents in the form of a $350 per person check.  Not only is this shortsighted, it ignores recent history that proves that the Ventura rebates helped create the financial difficulties we faced during the early 2000s. If we do as Chairman Downey is suggesting and return every dollar of the surplus to Minnesotans we will not be able to make the investments in Minnesota that even Speaker Daudt and House Republicans agree need to be met – like repairing our roads and bridges and investing in our education system throughout the state.

“The fact is that Chairman Downey should do his job of building the party to win elections and focus less on taking positions such as this which are squarely at odds with the highest ranking elected Republican in the State of Minnesota. His insistence on ideological purity pits him against fair-minded Republicans who are trying to do the job they were sent to do in St. Paul. Who’s in charge here the Speaker of the House or the Chairman of the Republican Party? What kind of dynamic does this create when elected Republicans of the Minnesota House have to choose between the Republican State Party Chair or governing in the best interests of the constituents who elected them. Are Republicans in the Minnesota House going to put their oath to Minnesotans ahead of their oath to the Republican Party? 

“It is unbelievable that a party that still owes $1.5 million dollars in debt, including some $300,000 to vendors who worked in the 2014 election, would spend six figures on advertising to persuade legislators – presumably from their own party – to return the surplus and put us back on a path to financial instability.  It is the height of hypocrisy that the party of ‘fiscal responsibility’ would go further into debt to beat members of their own party into ideological submission.”