Letter to the Editor
Government Will Have to Live Within its Means
The latest budget forecast for Minnesota was issued today and it,
unfortunately, is not good news. The forecast indicates a $1.2 billion
shortfall through June and a $5.4 billion shortfall in the two-year
cycle which follows.
State officials indicate about 70 percent of the shortfall is linked to
a decline in income tax received by the state. The combination of a
higher unemployment rate and 5.5 percent less wages being paid to
workers has been detrimental.
Now, the days of government growth and excessive spending must be
replaced by long-term commitments to job creation and fiscal
responsibility. First of all, it is more important than ever to create
jobs in Greater Minnesota to stimulate our economy and broaden
Minnesota's tax base to provide the state with an infusion of
We need more job incentives and burdensome regulations repealed on job
creators instead of increasing the tax burden.
Minnesota's spending has increased by about 140 percent since the early
'90s and our taxpayers simply cannot afford to sustain that growth. In
2007, when the Democrats took control of the Minnesota House, we had a
$2 billion surplus in Minnesota. To quote a former DFL minority leader,
when he called out the current Speaker last spring for "failed
leadership," it is one big reason we've had a string of budget
shortfalls adding up to a shift of several billion dollars toward the
Re-sizing, re-prioritizing and reform must become a part of the
solution! This is largely why the Governor has recently unveiled a
proposal to match state spending with revenue received. It's what
families and small businesses do and may go a long way to helping us off
our budgetary roller coaster.
I am empathetic to our local governments and schools who establish a
budget only to have numbers change when actual revenue is tallied.
Basing our budget on the prior two years of revenue received would
eliminate the guesswork and protect these entities from being blindsided
by necessary cuts.
If Minnesota citizens are sacrificing to make ends meet, government
will also have to live within its means; that applies to government at
all levels--from local to state and federal. Talk of matching government
spending with revenue received has moved beyond a seemingly novel idea;
this approach may now be imperative.
The Senate Tax Committee is holding a hearing on this proposal on Dec.
7 to begin the discussions. The upcoming session which begins in
February will prove again to be a challenging one.