With nearly every state program (except K-12 and veterans) getting whacked again this year to solve the deficit problem, some wonder: Why not downsize the Legislature?
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, a Republican from St. Cloud, has a bill that would shrink the House from 134 to 112 representatives and cut senators from 67 to 56.
“I hear from people all over who say: Do we need to have this many legislators?” Gottwalt told the St. Cloud Times.
Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, is co-sponsoring Gottwalt’s bill in the Senate, along with Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista. They think fewer lawmakers and legislative assistants could save $1.44 million a year in the Senate and nearly twice as much in the House. And they say the Minnesota Legislature has the biggest Senate and the ninth-biggest House of any U.S. state.
What are the chances of the bill’s success? Gottwalt isn’t optimistic that legislators will vote themselves out of a job.
“History tells me no,” he told the paper. “Just because you don’t think it will go anywhere doesn’t mean you shouldn’t propose a good idea.”