Wednesday, May 5, 2010

If you’re the Governor of Minnesota….

The Minnesota State Legislature has a bit over a week left and we still have a deficit looming. Currently the deficit for Minnesota sits at $536 million. Governor Pawlenty has proposed his cuts that range from a reduction in local government assistance and cuts to health and welfare programs. Programs spared under Gov. Pawlenty's plan include the military, public safety and K-12 schools. What are your thoughts on how Minnesota should balance the budget? Do sacred cows exist? Or are all programs open to cuts?

In an effort of fair disclosure I will start. My hope is that others will post their ideas before we debate mine or those that will follow. To me nothing is sacred. Granted we need to ensure public safety and ensure our infrastructure is intact. While time is not a luxury at this point some moves will have to be done in haste even though more time is required. To start, I'd get my staff looking for duplication in programs and budget items for elimination. K-12 would be slashed along with local government assistance. Now the cuts to both programs would be carefully plotted out. Localities that do not require the need for LSA funds to keep operating will be trimmed. K-12 will be trimmed based on enrollment to start with. The trouble is that I do not have exact numbers so I am unsure how close I am getting.

Another item I'd look at is pulling back the Minnesota National Guard from deployment in an effort to flex State Rights. Bringing our men and women home will serve multiple purposes. It will save money on our budget, remove Minnesotans from a needless war and force Congress to declare war from now on before they can pull the Minnesota National Guard. These changes should get us close.