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Sieben, Winkler introduce "Pay Back Our Kids" act

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Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL, Cottage Grove and Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL, Golden Valley, this week introduced the "Pay Back Our Kids" Act, a plan to pay back the $2.2 billion in IOU's that schools were left with after last year's state budget.

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Sieben indicated that the Republican majority rejected Gov. Mark Dayton's balanced approach to the state budget, shut down state government and instead chose to borrow record amounts from Minnesota schools. As a result, schools have been forced to borrow themselves, which takes resources from the classroom that could be spent to reduce class sizes or other investments to boost student achievement, she said.

"Rather than close corporate loopholes or ask the richest 2 percent to pay their fair share, Republicans chose to hand Minnesota kids a $2.2 billion IOU," said Winkler. "We can make a different choice. It's time to do the right thing and pay back our kids instead of giving tax breaks to corporations that hide their earnings offshore."

The "Pay Back Our Kids Act" would repay the $2.2 billion in school borrowing in less than six years by closing corporate tax loopholes, including a loophole that allows corporations to shelter earnings offshore. Under this bill, corporations would no longer be able to shelter earnings in offshore countries such as the Cayman Islands as they are allowed to under current law.

"Politicians always say that education is their priority; here's a chance to prove it," said Sieben. "I'm authoring this proposal because it begins to pay back what Republicans chose to borrow from Minnesota schools to end last year's government shutdown. Closing tax loopholes on corporations hiding money overseas is just common sense. This bill is about priorities."

As a result of the IOU's, parents and children have had to watch their schools struggle, turn to local property taxpayers for additional levies, and take out loans for operating expenses. A survey of Minnesota school districts last fall showed that two-thirds of metro school districts were in the same situation.

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