Dayton hears concerns of seniors over budget cuts

Roundtable with seniors
Gov. Mark Dayton listened to Christine Stone, an AARP advocate, talk about the impact of cuts to elderly programs at a roundtable in St. Paul.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

Gov. Mark Dayton held a roundtable forum Tuesday to discuss the impact of the state budget on the elderly.

Senior citizens and advocates for nursing homes and other senior services told Dayton that they were concerned that the budget cuts proposed by Republicans in the House and Senate would cause real harm.

Jewel Mayer, a senior citizen living in St. Paul, told Dayton she supports his plan to increase taxes on Minnesota's top earners.

"And Governor Dayton, I just want you to know that I sleep better at night knowing that you're there, and you're going to fend off those people who got the Robin Hood story backwards and want to take from us poor folks," she said.

Dayton is also proposing cuts to senior services, but not as deep as Republicans.

The governor said the the discussion reminded him that the budget cuts impact real peoples' lives.

"It just shows that we're moving in the wrong direction and it makes me realize, as I said in the end once again, that we've gone through an era of cutting back and now we're looking at being forced to cut back further rather than an expansion. And I think most people, including a lot of the new legislators, really don't have that perspective."

Dayton is proposing an income tax increase on Minnesota's top earners to erase the state's $5 billion budget deficit. Republicans say they don't need any more revenue and will balance the budget by cutting spending.

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