MPR ran a story this morning the examined where Pat Anderson, Tom Emmer, David Hann and Marty Seifert stood on balancing the state’s budget. There are three other GOP candidates for governor who also have ideas on fixing the deficit. Here are the plans in alphabetical order:
1. Leslie will sign House File 888 (companion SF 705)
2. Then state-chartered-banks can create ‘debt-free’ money to pay for all approved Minnesota public transportation projects.
3. This new money is not a loan. It is a final debt-free payment for construction and maintenance of all public transportation.
4. We then rescind the laws that require transportation taxes to be used for transportation projects because future transportation projects will be paid for with the newly created debt-free money created by state-chartered-banks. (See 3)
5. Transportation taxes (fuel, axle, registration) will still be collected and used in two ways until they are ended forever:
a. a portion will go directly to the general fund to balance the budget
b. a portion will repay the State Investment Board (SIB) for the ‘Minnesota budget bond’* they will purchase as an investment
*The new ‘Minnesota budget bond’ will be purchased by the SIB to plug the budget deficit.
6. Thousands of people can now have jobs in transportation projects throughout the state.
7. The budget will be trimmed and balanced.
8. No taxes will be increased.
9. No new taxes will be added, like those proposed for clothing.
The second area we need to address is the state budget. As Mayor, Bill guided the City of Champlin through two economic down turns in his eight-year tenure. When he was elected Mayor, he said the city would no longer be a “spend and tax” entity. You don’t handle your household budget that way, why should the State? Last year’s high cost of gas, as well as the increased cost of food and other essentials, put a real stress on the family budget. What was the legislative solution? Raise the gas tax. This year the legislature’s answer was the same to Minnesota’s struggling families and small businesses. Raise all kinds of taxes. Bill believes that elected officials have a fiduciary responsibility to Minnesota’s families to spend the money wisely and yet he has heard legislators say that once the tax money is sent to St. Paul, it’s their money to spend. Bill believes we need to work with the revenues we now have; the challenge is to spend it wisely to meet the needs of Minnesota. Just as a business must continually re-evaluate how it operates to be cost effective, the state must do the same.
Minnesota needs to change how it prepares its budget. Currently we operate on the incremental budget system. Here the allocation of resources is based on allocations from the previous biennium. This system fails to take into account changing circumstances. It encourages “spending up to the budget” which leads to a “spend it or lose it” mentality.
This is one reason why Minnesota’s spending from the general fund has gone from $2.1 billion in 1970 to $37 billion now. An increase of over 1,800 percent.
We need to switch to a zero-base budgeting system. Here, every department function must be reviewed comprehensively, and all expenditures must be approved, not just increased.
This would promote an efficient allocation of resources. It channels managers into finding cost effective ways to improve their operation by identifying and elimination wasteful or obsolete operations.