How would you fix Minnesota’s budget?

Minnesota’s latest economic forecast shows the state facing a $1.1 billion deficit in the upcoming two-year budget cycle. Today’s Question: How would you fix Minnesota’s budget?

  • James

    50% from program cuts and 50% from revenue increases

    Revenue increases from a higher gas tax, a downtown Minneapolis casino, higher taxes on guns and ammo, a larger and broader sales tax (including clothing) and capped deductions or higher marginal rates for families earning $500,000 or more.

    Program cuts from the least effective and least efficient state programs. Perhaps reduce the number of subsidized students in public universities taking “liberal arts” programs. Less fixation on having perfect roads in the middle of no-where. Continue eliminating the “frills” in K-12 schools. More focus on the core teaching mission; less focus on the other things that go on inside schools. Look at the benefits packages for public employees. Move to defined contribution retirement plans. Take away the ability to bank unused sick leave and vacation. Cap annual PTO at 4 weeks.


  • Steve the Cynic

    Raise more revenue by broadening the sales tax to include clothing and services and lowering the rate a bit. After 8 years of Pawlentyism and then two years of a legislature that pledged fealty to Grover Norquist, I can’t believe there’s much spending left to cut.

    I’m less concerned than Dayton is about soaking the rich in state taxes, as long as the federal income tax remains progressive, because state spending, moreso than federal spending, disproportionately benefits the poor and middle class (and the federal programs that most benefit the poor and middle class are nominally funded by the regressive payroll tax).

  • Gary F

    I guess I’ll just buy more ammo online instead of in Minnesota stores. I’ll buy my guns in Hudson or Superior.

  • James

    How many guns do you already have Gary?

    How many more do you need?

  • Jefferson

    Just raise taxes, that’s what the people of Minnesota voted for by putting Democrats into the MN Senate and House. I would prefer that taxes for all people would increase so they can understand the pain of higher taxes but it would most likely just be the higher income people who would pay higher taxes.

  • Gary F

    You or the government knows how many I should need or want? Why would it matter to you?

  • david

    I would vote for honest, pragmatic people who would know how to fix the budget. Unfortunately very few of those people run for office, and very few people would vote for them because they either buy into the dishonest, unpragmatic politician’s BS, or are just selfish, greedy j-offs who are unwilling to make the kind of sacrifices fixing the budget (and economy) would require.

  • Jim G

    When you’re in a hole and you want to remedy the situation, stop digging, step out of said hole and start filling it in. I’d stop digging by capping spending at current levels plus inflation on most programs for this budget cycle. Then I’d start filling. The fill in this case would be new revenue. I’d extended the sales tax on clothing, internet sales, and services.

    I remember when our former wrestler governor, “we shocked the world” Jesse Venture, threw the budget surplus out of the state treasury, putting us into our current situation of continuing budget peril. Since then we had a dearth of “guts” shown by his successor, Pawlenty. His onetime fixes and accounting gimmicks failed to solve the underlying problem of revenue generation in the 21st century.

    Now, we have Governor Dayton and his hard won DFL majority in the legislature promising a serious solution to these budget deficits. I would like to take these folks at their word; however these words need to be followed by smart, fair, and prudent legislative action in the coming session. I hope this next session lights the path to the future, a state government that works for all the people; a state government we Minnesotans can be proud of again.

  • Mark

    The DFL is allready starting to overreach what they were elected to do….Do what they said they were going to do in their campaign adds or next election cycle vote them out.

  • Regnar James

    @ Gary, don’t forget the beans and Band-Aids.

    Lead… it will be a precious metal soon.

    Also, why don’t we build more sports complexes to generate all that revenue?

    PS… You can never have enough guns or ammo:-)


  • Jim G

    By the way, I’m also assuming Governor Dayton will keep his word when he states he will raise the tax rates on the upper 2% of income earners.

  • Gary F

    For you folks that only listen to government radio, the commercial airways are full of ads for South Dakota business.

  • Pat

    Why does Mark Dayton always sound drunk?

  • LeRoy

    Tax the “Rich” and watch our jobs decline…. what a great socialist plan that has proven failure time again. What the heck let’s try it … I’m sure it will work this time.

  • inuit

    Because he is an extreme 1%er wealthy Democrat.

  • GregX

    rule #1 –

    the ENTIRE state tax code cannot exceed 100 pages in length – when printed at 12 pt, Calibri or Arial font – on 8.5X11 sheets of paper.

    [] the 100 count includes front and back of sheets of paper page, so it can be printed on a total of 50 sheets of paper.

    [] the count includes title page, table of contents, index and reference listings

    Rulte #2 – everything is subject to sales tax … food, clothes, guns, tractors, bullets, services, … internet.

    Rule # 3 – sin/damage taxes can be applied to products that have known extra damage costs to society. guns, alchohol, cars, …. that require pulbic safety systems like : inpsectors, police, fire, …

  • david

    If south dakota is soooo great, move there. Oh wait it sucks because THERE’S NOTHING THERE. That’s why their taxes are so low. Few people would move somewhere just to get out of taxes. Most people with disposable income prefer to live places where they can spend some of that income on things beside subway sandwiches. So bringing it up daily is a useless point.

  • georges

    The only way to fix Minnesota’s financial problem is to legalize all forms of gambling, including casino and sports betting, and license them to all upstanding and moral citizens of MN who apply for said license. Then tax the proceeds heavily but wisely.

    That will never happen, of course, as the Tribes have bought the state legislators, one by one, with cash and prizes, so as to keep their monopoly intact.

    There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that Democrats will not do for money. They worship it, love it, eat it for breakfast. Study the history of east coast cities and States, which have been under Democrat Party control for a long, long time. The greed, crime, outright theft, murder, etc., practiced by the Democrats to the detriment of the citizens is too outrageous for a decent person to digest.

  • Pearly

    LOL @ James

    “How many guns do you already have Gary?”

    “How many more do you need?”


    Guns, one part of manufacturing that is WAY UP. Two fellow machine shop owner friends of mine can’t make parts for the “evil” black gun fast enough. I guess they could tax them until taht well runs dry and move on to the next. LOL

  • Gary F

    The insatiable beast called government will never have enough.

    It’s never enough.

    It will never be enough. Ask California.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Another molotov crock tale from georges/jockamo….

  • david

    Jackatrollgeorges might have had a suggestion worth discussing, the legalized gambling idea. Unfortunately he shot himself in the foot and destroyed all credibility in that second paragraph with his childish pointless unproductive rant.

  • georges

    Now, if you want extract a higher tax on individual products, based on their “cost” to society, as has been done for a long time with such things as booze and cigarettes, we can institute such a plan.

    First, we would have to completely eliminate taxes of any kind on firearms and ammunition, as those products actively reduce the costs and problems of civilized life and government expenses and are, indeed, such a positive plus that we should give tax credits to people who buy them, as well as drop any sales (or other) taxes on them.

    After all, we should reward the good things in life, the best products and practices, whenever the opportunity arises……..

  • Allen

    Solution is easy = Stop spending so much money. When my kids asked for expensive things I coudn’t afford I said “no”. Isn’t very hard really unless your only reason to give everyone everything they ask for is to get re-elected. I guess until we have term limits we have no solution. I think one unpaid term would work out fine. If you can’t afford it don’t run and stop whinning.

  • Tyler

    Oh, come on, seriously? A sin tax on ammo? What other strategies do you have for selectively penalizing the GOP base? That didn’t even work in Chicago.

  • Ann

    Since Minnesota is one of the most highly taxed states, it is obvious that there is a spending problem. Some states don’t even have an income and sales tax. If so many high paying jobs weren’t leaving the state, we would have people paying more income tax.The leaders should be doing all they can to keep employers from going to other states, They should bring employers to Minnesota. The fact that so many people work for the state doesn’t help.–the taxpayers are paying them. The leaders spend their time discussing sports stadiums. Vikings, Twins, Wild–how many good jobs are they providing for the state?

  • joberg

    Tax the wealthy and pass onto public employee unions. When this money runs low, tax the middle class and pass onto the public employee unions. When this money runs out, institute a wealth tax and pass onto public employee unions. By this time the DFL will be so busy kissing the butts of the public employee union leaders, they won”t have any more time to tax whatever is left remaining in the state.

  • Gary F

    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of someone else’s money”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • Really?

    A combination of across the board cuts to get us into balance and legalizing/regulating/taxing recreational marijuana use to increase revenue. ‘Nuff said.

  • Typical Babyboomer

    Ignore it. It isn’t my problem. instead cut my taxes and let me buy knickknacks.

  • Chris

    Don’t be so quick to dismiss South Dakota. Get off the interstate and drive around Sioux Falls. You’ll find all the bells and whistles of the twin cities, except the crime, congestion, and poor pro teams (except the Lynx).

    You can tell when you’ve crossed the border by the sudden absence of wind mills and the emergence of small business after small business up and down interstate 90 and 29 going into and out of Sioux Falls.

    Drive around our cities and you’ll see entire neighborhoods still being stamped out to provide new housing for our new workers and tax refugees.

  • David Poretti

    Since this is the 12-Step state, here are my suggested 12:

    1. A voluntary tax on people that can’t do math – give it a catchy name like Gopher 5 – just don’t call it a game of (fat/slim/no) chance. (Admit we are powerless…)

    2. A sales tax anything that is not food. Edible does not = food. Net nutritional benefit = food.

    3. A penny tax on tweets, text messages, emails, faxes, internet searches and so on. We have payed for much of the development and infra-structure, we can re-coup via a user tax (or fee, if you are of the “no new taxes” posse).

    4. A discounted sales tax on anything made in the USA. A further discounted sales tax on anything made in Minnesota. This, of course, would encourage shoppers to read the label.

    5. A sales tax on internet purchases. Not only would this level the playing field, it would also bring paying customers back into our stores.

    6. Repayment of the “Jesse checks” that got us started down this path in the first place.

    7. Remove the tax-exemption for political organizations disguised as churches.

    8. Remove the tax exemptions for private clubs – golf, horse, country, sports, hunting…

    9. An honestly progressive tax, that doesn’t have loopholes and exemptions that are only available to those that have a two-year lease on someone in St. Paul.

    10. A tax credit for every added employee a company takes on; a tax penalty for companies that lay off yet still pay executive bonuses.

    11. Lease the naming rights for Minnesota landmarks, just as for stadiums. 3M Itasca State Park. The GM Loop instead of 494/694. Lake Betty Crocker instead of Lake Minnetonka.

    12. Once we are balanced, with an appropriately financed emergency fund, stick to a Pay-Go system – for each dollar spent, it must be accounted for on thee other side of the ledger with a corresponding revenue dollar or budget cut. The school budget is not an ATM. Pay back what was taken.

  • Kent

    1) Don’t build a $1 billion stadium FOR the Vikings. Apply the funding sources that were planned to pay for the stadium (gaming revenues etc.) to deficit reduction.

    2) Require each department squeeze their vendors for a 10% price reduction on all existing contracts. Re-bid as necessary.

    3) Target cost reduction for delivery of government services. Identify high-quality cost-effective methods for delivery of the states services using best practices from other states or national governments.

    4) Increase taxes only if they can apply to the proceeds to deficit reduction.

  • Michael

    Lift all restrictions to Hemp (Cannabis sativa). In essence, repeal Prohibition for the sake of all Minnesotans and life on this planet.

    Time to partake in the Plenitude.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    Get rid of those in state offices. We have a $1.2 billion issue yet the Democrats in charge are asking for $5.8 BILLION more?

    This need for more is as bad as most other mis information they spew….no different than the past 40 years where we were led to believe that the GOP is racist. It was a Democrat group that had MLK jailed, but a Dem had him eventually released and won black votes. They were mis led. The Republican General Eisenhower was the one who enforced desegregation in the military. it was the Democrat progressive Margaret Sangar who spoke of euthanasia of blacks and called them deficient and worthy of abortion, that led to Plan Parenthood’s mission of directing millions of abortions. Dems want moire money to spend for more waste…period. Just like Obama wants more taxes from higher successful people for meeting his socialist ideology. Wake up MN_ stadiums and other wasted funds will NOT build MN. Raising taxes is moving more business out of MN just as happens now in California and NY.

  • steven

    The DFL owns the problem but if they follow Obama’s arrogance with the lack of leadership, then nothing is fixed. The housing collapse was caused by DFL leaders forcing banks to make unworthy mortgages. They caused this problem along with more out of control spending.

    Obama is to leave for 20 days vacation costing YOU tax payers 2.2 million. He doesn’t worry about the rest of us, he doesn’t order FEMA to get some trailer homes moved in to help NY residents that are now still without shelter after a month, but he will be on the beach in HA spending more. He simply has no leadership for the better of our country..fact. Dayton carries his water, so don’t expect much from him.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could tax specious political rants?

  • Joe Padden

    The Depression caused lawmakers to craft Glass Steagall~

    “Banking Rules”

    Glass Steagall was repealed under Clinton & ~~POOF~~ look what happened to our economy.

    Senator McCain was for reinstatement of Glass Steagall. When he ran

  • Ralfy

    Irma Thomas, “Loving Arms”. A lonely, heartbreaking song of reflection and sorrow.

  • JasonB

    I was dating a girl who confessed that “Drive” by The Cars was a sad song for her because it reminded her of a break up with an old boyfriend. Then she broke up with me and it became my sad song by association.

    • Stephanie Curtis, MPR News

      That’s a great tale and a great sad song to have as your sad song.

  • Jeanne C

    Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – Falling Slowly

    • Stephanie Curtis, MPR News

      The guy who made that movie has a new one coming out this year!

  • maryonearth

    Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley.

  • Gnosis Sisong

    “When You Walk On” by Eliza Gilkyson