One of Minnesota’s largest teachers unions wants to tax the state’s wealthiest residents to fund a “$4 billion infusion” for public schools over the next two years.
Education Minnesota, which boasts a membership of 80,000, called a press conference at the Minnesota Capitol Friday to lay out its vision for fully funding public schools.
“These stories remind us that inventive solutions to the challenges facing Minnesota schools cost money, and there’s a price paid in lost learning and burnt-out educators when our society neglects the schooling of its children,” Education Minnesota President Denise Specht told reporters Friday.
She said her organization ran “the numbers on what it really means to fully fund K-12 public education,” and found that it would cost “$3.7 billion to $4.3 billion for the next biennium.”
“That’s a lot of money. The government will need to raise revenue from the richest Minnesotans and corporations to pay for it, and we believe that the public is on our side,” Specht continued, citing a New York Times poll that found three out of four voters support higher taxes on the wealthy.
“Why? It’s probably because the richest one-percent now own 40 percent of our country’s wealth, and the new federal tax law is making them even richer,” she speculated. “People say there’s no money to pay educators what they’re worth and provide a good education for every child no matter their zip code. But it only feels that way because the economy wasn’t rigged for us, the Minnesotans who make less than $1 million a year.”
Specht said Gov. Tim Walz’s vision for public schools “attracted educators across the state.”
“The cost of that vision is about $4 billion over two years. The money is out there,” she said. “The public is on our side, and now it’s up to the House and the Senate to join us in support of the governor’s vision.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Education Minnesota Press Conference” by Education Minnesota.