What should be the Legislature’s top priority this year?

The Minnesota Legislature will convene on Tuesday. Today’s Question: What should be the Legislature’s top priority this year?

  • Alison

    Researching and debating a long term budget solution that is more stable than the current mix of revenue sources. This would set the stage for budget discussions next year.

  • Gary F

    Get the school payments up to date and stop the increase in the size of government.

    Oh, the howling last year! Even though we still spent more than last year.

    The insatiable beast called government must be curbed. Government is unsustainable.

  • Brad

    x2 on Alison’s comment. Unemployment is going down, create some certainty for business and figure out a long-term budget solution while they have time before next session. Minnesota is only has a surplus now because we are currently burning through borrowed money from the schools and the tobacco settlement.

  • Tom

    Get the states finances in order – a government hiring and spending freeze would be a great place to start.

  • Sue

    A Constitutional ammendment requiring a voter referendum on any money spent on professional sports facilities.

  • John O.

    With reapportionment most likely coming through the court system, a projected surplus that goes back to the rainy day fund and all 201 legislators up for reelection this fall, the Legislature’s top priority should be adjournment.

  • Steve the Cynic

    What should happen is irrelevant. Since truth, justice and the common good neither vote nor make campaign contributions, our politicians can safely ignore such things. Expect partisan grandstanding, brinksmanship, and compromises that please no one, as we move further away from the “Minnesota Miracle” we used to be so proud of, just like 2011.

  • Hiram

    The Star Tribune op-ed pages offers a choice of priorities for this year’s legislative session. Democrats think jobs should be the priority. Republicans think streamlining government should be the priority even if it costs jobs. There is no long term without a short term first. I agree with the Democrats.

  • jon

    Put in enough bureaucracy and only enough maintain critical infrastructure, schools, state parks, etc. then once it’s in place, check back and make sure it is working, then go home and tell the voters what you did.

    Though this answer applies to EVERY year not just this one… and hasn’t been implemented that I can recall in my life time, so I’m not holding my breath.

  • Jim G

    That the Legislature hopefully will represent their districts and the common person of Minnesota with intregrity in the coming session.They should avoid the partisan snipping which led to the shut-down last summer while remembering that the percentage of children raised in poverty in Minnesota continues to grow. Do something about that and I will perhaps start believing that progress is still possible in the two party system.

  • Jim G

    That the Legislature hopefully will represent their districts and the common person of Minnesota with integrity in the coming session. They should avoid the partisan sniping which led to the shut-down last summer while remembering that the percentage of children raised in poverty in Minnesota continues to grow. Do something about that, and I will perhaps start believing that progress is still possible in the two party system.

    My apology for the misspellings in the first post. It was posted before spell check and caffeine had taken effect.

  • Lynn

    The legislature’s top priority should be figuring out how to work in a bipartisan manner. If we want to avoid another government shutdown in 2013, our representatives should learn to compromise in this non-budget year.

  • james

    Their priority should be at least starting the debate about a long term vision for Minnesota.

    What do we stand for?

    What do we cherish?

    How are we going to excel for the next 50 years?

    Everything is currently so short term. Raise taxes. Cut taxes. Add programs. Cut programs. Build schools. Under-fund schools. Provide decent services. Cut services. Subsidize outstate MN. Don’t subsidize outstate MN. etc.

    Without a long term vision of where this state is going it won’t take too long before it is no longer a special place to live, and is just a colder version of the states we love to mock.

  • david

    The Legislature’s top priority this year should be to listen to, and represent the humans of the state. There seems to be some ambiguity on who actually elected them so I used the term humans instead people to alleviate any confusion.

  • Mark G

    WIth a modest budget surplus, it seems an opportune time to reimburse schools for the “rob Peter to pay Paul” situation that’s been created. But with the continued atmosphere of partisan sniping and one-upsmanship, I expect typical election year grandstanding and finger-pointing…..and not a hell of a lot else accomplished!

  • Ron

    Echoing others here …

    - long term solution for a more stable budgeting model

    - give some thought to long term vision of the state

    And one I have not seen here but which is (IMO) critical for all interests – getting the Twin Cities’ transportation infrastructure out of the 1960s. Even with light rail and buses, the number of cars and trucks will only increase in the coming 20 years. That is an economic concern as well as a quality-of-life issue and we lose on both counts, year-in and year-out.

  • Ann

    Since I am unemployed and without health insurance, I think giving companies incentives to come to Minnesota and stay in Minnesota is important. Some jobs are coming back to the US and MN should be part of this movement. Germany is doing so well because the government worked with companies and unions to keep jobs, make union concessions, and train people in the right areas.

  • Chuck

    Developing a long term strategic view for the state:

    (1) a financial plan that balances revenues and expenses while providing the services that citizens need while ensuring that there is an adequate reserve fund for emergencies.

    (2) Ensuring that high quality, relevant, education is provided to all k-12 and that affordable secondary education is available through State Colleges and Universities.

    (3) Ensuring that MN’s natural environmental resources are protected and available to citizens.

    (4) Ensure that MN is a leader in job creation.

  • Joel Hansen

    I think the session should start with fifteen rounds of duck duck grey duck and a picnic with assigned seats.

  • David

    Well, it is a bonding year, so the top priority might be to get that passed for projects across the state.

    I think the voter ID legislation makes sense too, since the marriage amendment is already on the ballot in November. It might increase voter turnout.

    And the elephant in the room, the Vikings stadium. No matter how you feel about it, they don’t have an option next year.

  • Maria Kaefer, MD

    The legislature should focus on:

    1) providing health care affordably to all of its citizens, including assuring emergency medical assistance and expanded coverage of MA to those eligible so that our emergency rooms do not take all the cost and pass it on to us as an “indirect tax” that no one can see.

    2)improving education for all of its citizens

    not just those lucky enough to live in affluent neighborhoods, but ALL. we have a shameful achievment gap between people of color and white people in this state.

    3) passage of the DREAM act so that all students can pursue higher education regardless of their parents choices for them when they were infants.

    it should not in my opinion, waste our valuable time with discussions of voter ID and same sex marriage. enough diversion of time to these non-issues for most citizens. lets focus on real issues, real suffering, real solutions, not partisan politics.

  • GregX

    Alison as post # 1 nailed it. Gary as post #2 – was partially correct. so I would restate and extend as ….

    1) pass a bill that assigns the state demographer and the dept. of Revenue to create a report on the states economy. It should review and project the stability of various revenue streams – inlcuding those not currently in use – for example taxing of internet sales.

    2) Bring past arears in school payments up to date .. schools are spending money on interest to borrow money that they state ( like it or lump it) promised them.

    3) Quit vaguely talking about “government being expensive” and start figuring out how to liberate government from its own legislatively-imposed arcane “business rules. Analyse where similar programs are run by two agencies, where different programs overlap, where counties & state are BOTH performing part of the overall process,

    4) Don’t agree to disagree. Agree that its better to give something up to get an overall improvement.

  • Ricky Rocket

    How about the first order of business being to stop a few things. Stop the christian terrorist and their homegrown version of sharia law. Gay marriage and abortion are no concern of government. Please keep your misguided religious views to yourselves, this includes trying to impose your religious views on public schools. Separation of church and state, remember it? This “under God/in God we trust” BS came about in the 50s, when the boogie man of the day was the godless communist, instead of the godless gays, or wrong God worshiping Muslims. When will the thinking people see these allegedly christian, hypocritical politicians for what they are and run them out of town on a rail? And while we’re at it voter ID laws are only to disfranchise voters of a certain political leaning so others of an opposite political leaning can steal elections. It has nothing to do with election fraud. Stop voter suppression!

  • Joanie Jet

    I strongly believe that until MN get Voter ID settled, everything else is a sham for outcomes representing the citizens of MN.

    In 2008 MN had 200 vote ballots found in a car trunk and not counted correctly, the state excused possible fraud by using the statute of limitations for recount.

    USNews reported that Al Franken won by a small margin yet, 341 convicted felons voted in Minneapolis’s Hennepin County, and another 52 voted illegally in St. Paul’s Ramsey County, the state’s second largest. The number of felons voting in those two counties alone exceeds Mr. Franken’s victory margin. At one polling spot in northern MN, residential care takers were caught bussing in groups of mentally challenged and showing them where to check the box. In Indianna this past month, they recently discovered hundreds of fraudulent voter signatures used to get Obama on the candidate list to go against Hillary. Had they caught that earlier, Obama would not have been eligible in that county to run against Hillary.

    Other states have found similar recent fraud. In South Carolina, where it was reported that at least 953 votes had been cast by people who were listed as dead.

    You need a picture ID to drive, to buy liquor and to enter TSA controlled airlines but we don’t need proof of citizenship to vote??? Incredulous. My mother is 90 and doesn’t drive but she has photo ID and she votes.

  • Ricky Rocket

    Her we go again. Joanie Jet, if that is your real name, first and foremost, driving and buying liquor is NOT a right, voting IS.

    If 341felons voted for Franken, that’s not an issue that would have anything to do with voter IDs. Felons can still get an ID. It’s a voter registration issue. Regardless 1000s could potentially be disenfranchised by a voter ID law. A hand full of felons voting is a small price to pay to maintain all peoples rights. BTW this felons voting for Franken myth and ballots found in a trunk is another bit of debunked propaganda spun by our good old friends at fox news.

    You mommy is 90 Joanie? One would guess your age to be in your 30′s from some of your other posts, so she was 55-60 when you were born???? lies lies lies…. You are only hurting your cause every time you open your ridiculous mouth Joanie, really.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Joanie, what makes you think all those convicted fellons voted for Franken?

  • KevinVC

    To reverse the job finding and training cuts that have hurt our economy.

    To Assist those who were laid off.

    To end the independence of the Dislocated Worker Program and is misconduct.

    To reverse the trend causing increasing property taxes.

    To fix the failed legacy of our FORMER governor Pawlenty.

    To return to properly overseeing and doing even JUST the basics the state has a obligation to and is clearly ignoring.

    To Jail any legislator who brings up any stadium bills which the owner of said team can more then adequately pay for in their chump change in their sofa cushions.

    To reverse the tax breaks to the job hoggers, who think they create jobs, when in fact they just ship them over seas and lay people off. (Its the middle class and lower who create… the rich just ride on royalties…)

  • Janice

    Reschedule Cannabis, legalize Cannabis/hemp for every good purpose!