Obama plan might mean big boost for pinched Minnesota

  • Article by: PATRICIA LOPEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 23, 2009 - 12:07 PM

The federal stimulus could provide a key infusion of cash as Minnesota lawmakers try to tackle the $4.8 billion deficit.

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wagz100Jan. 22, 09 3:33 PM

Would MN be in this big hole if a few years ago they would have rebated the excess monies they collected instead of increasing the budget? Can anyone answer that for me without to snide of a dimocrat repuk comment?

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btwnthelinesJan. 22, 09 3:59 PM

I don't know if this is a fact, but I keep seeing commenters on these boards post that there was a large rebate during the Ventura years.

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cmonsonJan. 22, 09 4:00 PM

glad to see he's making the hard decisions, not the tired, worn out one's that have proven they don't work (taxing us more and more and more). We're one of the higher taxed states in America. If taxes are the answer, we wouldn't be talking right now, as our taxes we have paid to date would have "cruised" us through this economic down turn. I just hope the majority of people realize this.

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albsureJan. 22, 09 4:04 PM

No new taxes! Cut education and Health & Human services. Make these agencies run more efficiently. These two alone account for 67% of the budget. It's a fact...you can see it for yourself online. Might as well divert the tax money coming from the ill advised transportation bill that was passed. They aren't going to use it to fix roads and bridges anyway. The majority of it will go to transit, AKA stupid trains. Yeah, let's build something that's heavily subsidized and will not ever ease congestion.

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privateeyeJan. 22, 09 4:04 PM

Taxes. Cause we know how many times cutting taxes have solved a budget deficit.

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jsdlminnJan. 22, 09 4:06 PM

Yes, Ventura gave out what he called sales tax rebates. I believe he had the support of the house and senate and a little less than 500 million was distributed.

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radagastJan. 22, 09 4:13 PM

We're not in this mess due to a growing budget. We're in it because the economy is tanking. It is not a Minnesota problem, it is a *global* problem, and of proportions not seen since the 1930's. And it's going to get much, much worse. What they should have done is build up the reserves. Minnesota needs a rainy day fund of $2-3 billion so it can weather economic ups and downs without resorting to draconian cuts or unpalatable tax increases. A fund of only a few hundred million is pitifully insufficient - obviously so since Pawlenty has already burned through it just dealing with the relatively small 2009 deficit, leaving nothing to help with the 2010/2011 budget hole. Pawlenty thinks he can fix the problem through cuts, conveniently ignoring that the current $4.8 billion problem (more like $6 billion if he were honest enough to count inflation) is going to swell to $7-8 billion in the next forecast, and probably even more as we go. Having no reserve narrows our choices, and makes those remaining all the more painful.

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wagz100Jan. 22, 09 4:16 PM

I was under the impression that 2 years ago we had a $2billion surplus, and spent it by adding it to the next biennium, if we would have rebated or paid down debt witht hat money, we would not have added that to the next budget, thus making our shortfall much less manageable. This group of clowns where able to remove a larger percentage of shortfall from the budget in 03, maybe they can do it again. But our Federal governments plan is to spend our way out of debt, so why shouldn't the states and citizens fallow?

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wildbill987Jan. 22, 09 4:20 PM

They work good in households but are bad for state government accountability. 1. Legislators spend rainy day funds on things other then widely agreed emergencies. 2. If you come up short,and their is no rainy day fund, the legisture meets and hands out spending cuts, tax increases or mix of both. Then they answer to the voters as soon as the next election. No deflection time or cushion to cover inprudent financial decisions. They answer in the next election. 3. That sounds like accountability with the voters holding them responsible. Thus breeding more accountability.

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dahouseJan. 22, 09 4:20 PM

How bad was your life, and our services, back in 2000? If we had kept the same budget and increased only for inflation instead of increase spending on everything we would still have a surplus right now. So do we have a revenue problem or a spending problem? If you don't think that we can't cut, think of the fact that in 00-01' our general fund budget was $23.3 Billion, now it is $36 Billion. Did we have to shorten the school year, close down parks, cut police, not put out fires? Of course not! So ask yourself, how many more services are you getting now? $13 Billion worth?

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