(At the request of those in the audience at the League of Women Voters/St. Cloud Times candidate forum last night, here is the full text of my closing remarks. The part in italics had already been cut out and used, but the last two paragraphs did not fit the one-minute limit either and were not delivered.)
I’d like to thank the League of Women Voters and the St. Cloud Times for organizing this important debate tonight. And I’d like to thank the audience for taking the time to learn about the issues and us candidates.
Two years ago many questioned the very core of our economic system. It was an election that brought many to seek solutions based on promises. Many of those promises now appear to be dust.
Our state struggled with how to finance its own budget, and in the strain we saw a system that no longer worked. Legislators fought with each other; a governor stepped in with a unique solution; both went to court to argue why the other couldn’t do its job. What got left behind was a mess for the next Legislature and governor to deal with.
Despite everything else you heard here tonight these facts are not in dispute: The current budget spends $30.5 billion in the biennium through the end of June next year. The next budget is expected to have $32.9 billion in revenues according to the state’s finance department. But the last Legislature agreed to spend $38.7 billion in the next biennium.
When you hear others say they want to have a “balanced approach,” it is your wallet they want to throw on the balance to pay for their spending.
I chose to run for this seat because I saw something was wrong with that process and think I have a plan to fix it.
Higher taxes do not create jobs; the dollar that pays for any public spending must first be taken from someone else. What was that dollar going to do before, did you think? Would it have bought a new shirt? A pizza? What of the jobs for the tailor or the cook?
I offer you a chance to do something different. We ask for – no, we demand as citizens – real accountability for our public resources. We demand that the regulations we face really work to solve problems that we agree are real and pressing. Regulations that inhibit job growth must be examined and, if not working well, removed.
Your life is more than a job, but meaningful work makes us not only wealthier but happier. A life has dreams; your dreams that should not be subject to confiscation or undue regulation. Your dreams should not be subject to someone’s desire to increase spending by 27%. If that makes my approach imbalanced, fine. There is no midpoint between right and wrong.
I’m King Banaian, and I offer to serve you as your representative for House District 15B, because your dreams deserve a chance to grow, because the growth of Minnesotans’ dreams was always what made this a great state. Thank you.