I just got off the phone with Steve Gottwalt, who had some shocking news from the Capitol. Today, at a committee hearing, Cy Thao told Steve “When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.” This was Thao’s explanation as to how the DFL plans on paying for all the spending increases they promised their special interest friends.Just another day in the annual siege/session that is the Minnesota Legislature.
There are some sane voices out there.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposes to spend about $34.5 billion - about $3 billion more than we'll spend during the current budget cycle. Legislative leaders, however, insist a 9.3 percent increase in spending is not enough to pay for priorities like education, property tax relief and health care.We can only hope that this sound thinking catches on, even in an environment where more and more citizens (and the leaders they elect) worship at the altar of government, and see the state as the only provider of life's bounty.
Yet legislative leaders insist they can't fund the priorities they campaigned on without first raising taxes. Leaders in the House, for example, say they need to raise taxes to increase funding for schools. The Senate can't cut property taxes for homeowners without raising taxes on employers. That's upside down.
Start with the priorities, and work down the list. Pay for those things that work - that deliver expected results - and stop paying for things that don't work. Don't measure success based on how much more the state spends. Instead, focus on getting the best value for our tax dollars. That's the way the rest of Minnesota lives on a budget.