ST. PAUL, Minn.-- "You can balance the budget and have a surplus without raising taxes," says former State Auditor, Patricia Anderson.
The Minnesota Budget Solutions Coalition released a plan Monday to change the state's budget deficit to a $2 million dollar surplus.
The group consists of eight non-profit organizations who formed earlier this year with the goal of producing a budget that doesn't raise taxes. They introduced their proposal to cut $6.6 billion in government spending.
Before the federal stimulus plan was approved, Minnesota's deficit was $6.4 billion. It's now estimated to be $4.8 billion.
The Minnesota state legislature has to fundamentally restructure the state budget if they want to balance the budget, said Jeff Davis from the Minnesota Majority. The organization is in favor of "traditional values," in Minnesota.
"Legislator's aren't listening to people," Davis said as he played phone messages left by people upset about the current economic situation. Many voicemails urged lawmakers to live within their means.
The Budget Solutions Coalition's proposal says cutting Early Childhood Education programs could save $62.1 million.
"I think [they] undermine a parent's authority," said a spokeswoman for the Budget Solutions Coalition.
Another suggestion from the group includes closing campuses with low enrollment. The group says that could save $11 million.
"Rainy River would be at the top of my list," says Phil Krinkie of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. He says by closing schools like Rainy River Community College which enrolls 500 students the government can save money.
The Budget Solutions Coalition plans to give their recommendations to the governor and hand out a CD of voicemails left by the public to all the legislators throughout the rest of the session.
"The course that their [the legislature] on is a train wreck," Krinkie said. "If the House and Senate say the only way to do this is to raise taxes and the governor says he won't, that sounds like a train wreck, and there's only six weeks left."