You must be registered to comment and vote on comments.
In budget proposal, ideas worth debating (but not all worth accepting).
The "not so good" is that he is giving 80mm to the U to freeze tuition. The well documented fiscal mismanagement at the U should should be fixed prior to the state giving them more money to play with. This puts all of the rest of Dayton's proposals in the questionable catergory. We need to spend state money like or own, wisely.....
The extension of the sales tax to services and business to business transactions is a mistake. Taxation of services will prove to be poltically impossible in the long run - small service businesses are among the most politically potent interests in the state. Taxation of business transactions will be an administrative nightmare, difficult to enforce as the transactions straddle the border with Wisconsin and as businesses maneuver to minimize this tax. As tax reform this amounts to a complexification rather than a simplification. Better to rely more heavily on the income tax and leave the sales tax alone even if it means reducing the property tax credit. The legislature will probably move in that direction when it has its say anyway. The Governor has been poorly advised by his revenue commissioner - this proposal is an own goal politically.
The authors fail to explain, having identified as challenges, how they would address public pensions and caring for an aging population. They might have done so in their third bullet point rather than lecture about personal responsibility. The fact is that Koch and Broadkorb and their ilk wasted legislative time and state resources on reckless constitutional amendments and government shutdown while offering no solutions. The reckless K-B affair has cost us 200,000 to date. Recklessness is part of human life and always has been. To hint that we need to cut certain segments off now, when recklessness in business and government is thriving, is disingenuous. Sure we need careful spending, but not helping people who've made mistakes can be even more costly.
Penny and Horner fail to ask the most important, pressing question. How can the gov transform our tax structure before we know what our true expenses are? The gov's plan raises spending 8%. Based on what? Just giving more to the current programs and calculations for the costs of new programs? While a tax restructuring may be long overdue, before any growth, changes and restructuring take place, we need to do a line-by-line review of the entire state budget. Let's find out where the money is going and reset priorities before we make major changes and grow gov't yet again. While we don't expect a gov't to be run like a business, in this case, we can learn from business and practice the common sense approach of knowing exactly what we spend money on before we finalize a budget. The average legislator has no clue to where all the money goes. It's time we find out.
In a tight budget period - like we find ourselves in right now - we do NOT need to add to the services already provided. Adding some funding for K-12 education, and maybe more for higher education, could be argued for. However, adding all-day Kindergarten and more pre-K programs and funding while individuals and the state struggle is simply ridiculous. We can't afford the programs we currently have - find a way to fund or reform those before committing to more.
Basing more and more of the budget on the backs of the wealthy will be a mistake down the road. During the current recession unemployment went from 5% to 10%, so 90% of the people still had their jobs and were paying taxes. The income tax revenue dropped close to 30%, and that's because the investment income of the retired and wealthy dropped by that much and more. Investment income is mobile, and will just leave the state if the taxes become too burdensome. The tax burden needs to be spread across the income landscape from top to bottom. Everyone should pay something, so they care about the cost of government.
Your comment is being reviewed for inclusion on the site.
Comments will be reviewed before being published.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.
425 Portland Av. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55488
© 2013 StarTribune. All rights reserved.
StarTribune.com is powered by Limelight Networks