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Reader's view: Time for Minnesotans to identify common ground

I applauded the message and emphatically agreed with the News Tribune's "Our View" editorial of April 28, "Let's please get back to what's important."...

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I applauded the message and emphatically agreed with the News Tribune's "Our View" editorial of April 28, "Let's please get back to what's important."

Back in January, I made it clear that from my perspective, balancing the budget is legislative priority No.1 this session. Actually, balancing the budget is priorities one, two and three. It's the most important work we as legislators will do, and I continue to believe that it is where our focus should lie.

In politics, we spend a lot of time talking about winners and losers. What would be a win for us as Minnesotans and for the Minnesota state budget? Well, our reality includes a $5 billion budget deficit. But we knew that back in January. In fact, back then it was $1 billion worse. In my mind, a win for Minnesota would start by ending the legislative session on May 23. We've had more than four months to make progress and end the legislative session on time. In addition, a win would be a budget plan that is a balanced mix of cuts and revenue and is fiscally stable for more than a few months. Minnesota needs a sustainable roadmap that shows us the way to the future we want for our state.

As the editorial suggested, now should not be the time to focus on issues that foster social divisiveness. It is time for Minnesotans to come together, not find ways to drive us further apart. It is time to identify common ground, to articulate what priorities we share and the values we hold in common. It is time to decide what we want and how we're going to pay for it. The clock is ticking. The time is now.

Sen. Roger Reinert

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Duluth

The writer, a DFLer, represents District 7 in the Minnesota Senate.

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