The front page of the July 11 edition of this newspaper is festooned with the headline "Board, Baker discuss education successes." A sub-headline quotes Republican Rep. Dave Baker telling the Willmar School Board, "I'm pretty proud of what we got done this year in education."
Baker's self-serving words drip with an irony that verges on Orwellian doublespeak. In fact, Baker along with fellow Republican Tim Miller voted with other Republicans to actually cut state funding for our children's education.
On March 31, 2017, Baker and Miller voted for House File-890, which provided for only an annual 1.25 percent increase in state funding of our schools in the next two years. That "increase" is in fact a decrease in state funding because it's nowhere near enough to cover the increased costs of operating our schools.
Baker's and Miller's vote is a source of shame, but certainly not pride. Fortunately, Gov. Dayton vetoed this sorry piece of legislation and forced the Republicans to approve a better, though still not sufficient, level of school funding.
At the same time that Baker and Miller were voting for education cuts, they were voting for huge tax cuts for the wealthy. There is a tradeoff, money "saved" on education means more money for big tax cuts for fat cats. And those fat cats are big contributors to Miller and Baker. You couldn't ask for a better demonstration of where the true values of our putative "representatives" lie.
The results of the votes of these two, had they prevailed, would have been more teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, lack of books and equipment, and increased local property taxes for those who can least afford to pay them.
Do Miller and Baker represent your values? Think about it when you vote next year.
John H. Burns