The roiling budget debate at the Capitol took a pointed turn Wednesday morning when a DFL senator accused a GOP colleague of targeting minorities with state government cuts.
The GOP-crafted budget trims 20 percent from the relative tiny budgets of the Black Minnesotans Council, Chicano-Latino Affairs Council
and Asian-Pacific Minnesotans Council.
“Are the only cuts of 20 percent or more” to those groups? Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, asked during the Senate debate.
Sen. Mike Parry, chairman State Government, Veterans and Miltary Affairs Committee, then listed the budgets of those agencies.
“That wasn’t the question,” Cohen said. “Is it correct that the only cuts of 20 percent are to those three agencies?”
Parry: “You might be correct on that.”
Cohen: “So I guess, my question is: Why are the largest cuts made to the blacks, the Latinos and the Asians?”
Parry: “Senator Cohen, when I met with the minority councils, and I explained to them that there would be cu
ts, none of them even argued the point.”
Parry said when he met with representatives from those groups, they talked about ways the three agencies could work together to achieve the same outcome with fewer dollars.
“They said they worked so well together … and they were okay with those cuts,” Parry said.