“It’s a sad day for Minnesota”

The budget forecast delivered by state finance officials on Wednesday is perhaps the bleakest outlook in Minnesota’s history.

“This is the worst, without a question,” said Jay Kiedrowski, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

As the state’s chief financial officer under Gov. Rudy Perpich in the 1980s, Kiedrowski dealt hands-on with the fallout from another major recession.

What’s compounding the current shortfall is that it comes on the heels of already deep budget cuts and under a governor who refuses to raise revenues, he said.

The trends, if left unchecked, will have widespread consequences, from larger K-12 class sizes and higher college tuition rates to bumpier roads and fewer police officers.

“It’s a sad day for Minnnesota,” said Kiedrowski. Continue reading ““It’s a sad day for Minnesota””

GOP candidates for governor talk about fiscal crisis

A panel of Republican candidates for governor on Wednesday painted a dire portrait of a state in fiscal crisis.

Speaking at a private forum for Medtronic employees, the five GOP contenders described a state budget broken from unsustainable spending. And they spoke about an alarming migration trend they see in which businesses are fleeing the state due to taxes and regulation while indigents flock here to take advantage of overly generous social programs.

The solution, according to former State Auditor Pat Anderson: Be more like South Dakota, a state which has no personal or corporate income tax and fewer public services and amenities.

Minnesota should do “the exact same thing,” Anderson said. “I think the key is to have a good South Dakota-style business climate and then get out of the way.”

But state Rep. Marty Seifert said calling for the elimination of income taxes is “pandering” to voters and that state government needs to use certain subsidies in order to accomplish its goals.

The exchange was one of a couple barbs traded between Seifert and Anderson in what was otherwise a friendly and uncontentious forum, sponsored by Medtronic’s employee political action committee and moderated by Rick Kupchella of BringMeTheNews.com. Continue reading “GOP candidates for governor talk about fiscal crisis”