Minnesota’s Catholic bishops are out with another statement today urging lawmakers to settle the budget dispute and enact policies that “prioritize the needs of the poor and vulnerable, as well as promote human dignity and the common good.”
They’d also like to see some conservative social issues included in a budget agreement.
In the statement, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said:
“We do not endorse any particular plan. Rather, we propose an ethical and moral framework based on Catholic social teaching in the hope of moving the discussion in the right direction.”
The bishops said they worry that spending cuts suggested to balance the budget “will fall disproportionately on the backs of the poor and vulnerable — particularly children, the elderly, and disabled.”
The statement said legislators should protect the state’s General Assistance program and the Minnesota Family Investment Program.
“Ensuring the welfare of all Minnesotans is a core function of government,” said Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota. “Although controlling spending and putting the state on sound fiscal footing are important goals, those with limited means should not be shouldering that responsibility, especially as politicians continue to load budgets with tax loopholes, subsidies, and spending projects that serve narrow special interests.”
And the bishops said that, in addition to protecting programs that serve as safety nets for the poor and vulnerable, a budget solution should also include:
- An end to taxpayer funding of abortions for women receiving state medical assistance
- Bans on human cloning and State funding for cloning research
- A tuition tax credit for parents of children attending non-public schools
- Opportunity scholarships for students in underperforming public schools to attend private school.