Republican leaders in the Legislature have named the members of the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy, which is expected to start meeting soon to look at ways to resolve the current budget problem and to improve the state’s long-term financial stability.
Republican officials, who appointed the 18-member commission (nine from the state Senate and nine from the state House), said the group will meet to “examine competing budget proposals from Governor Dayton and the balanced budget compromise bills passed by the Republican majorities in the Legislature during the regular legislative session.”
Since 13 of the 18 members are Republicans, some might assume that the governor’s plan is not likely to fare well in this examination of competing proposals. But we’ll see.
House members of the commission are:
- Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers (R)
- Majority Leader Matt Dean (R)
- Rep. Keith Downey (R)
- Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)
- Rep. Pat Garofalo (R)
- Rep. Morrie Lanning (R)
- Rep. Doug Wardlow (R)
- Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL)
- Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL)
- Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R)
- Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel (R)
- Sen. Julianne Ortman (R)
- Sen. David Hann (R)
- Sen. Mike Parry (R)
- Sen. Claire Robling (R)
- Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL)
- Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL)
- Sen. Keith Langseth (DFL)
The commission has a ton of duties, laid out in the law:
- (1) provide the legislature with research and analysis of current and projected state revenue, state expenditures, and state tax expenditures;
- (2) provide the legislature with a report analyzing the governor’s proposed levels of revenue and expenditures for biennial budgets submitted under section 16A.11 as well as other supplemental budget submittals to the legislature by the governor;
- (3) provide an analysis of the impact of the governor’s proposed revenue and expenditure plans for the next biennium;
- (4) conduct research on matters of economic and fiscal policy and report to the legislature on the result of the research;
- (5) provide economic reports and studies on the state of the state’s economy, including trends and forecasts for consideration by the legislature;
- (6) conduct budget and tax studies and provide general fiscal and budgetary information;
- (7) review and make recommendations on the operation of state programs in order to appraise the implementation of state laws regarding the expenditure of funds and to recommend means of improving their efficiency;
- (8) recommend to the legislature changes in the mix of revenue sources for programs, in the percentage of state expenditures devoted to major programs, and in the role of the legislature in overseeing state government expenditures and revenue projections;
- (9) make a continuing study and investigation of the building needs of the government of the state of Minnesota, including, but not limited to the following: the current and future requirements of new buildings, the maintenance of existing buildings, rehabilitating and remodeling of old buildings, the planning for administrative offices, and the exploring of methods of financing building and related costs; and
- (10) conduct a continuing study of state-local finance, analyzing and making recommendations to the legislature on issues including levels of state support for political subdivisions, basic levels of local need, balances of local revenues and options, relationship of local taxes to individuals’ ability to pay, and financial reporting by political subdivisions. In conducting this study, the commission shall consult with the governor, the staff of executive branch agencies, and the governor’s Advisory Commission on State-Local Relations.
And it shall consider:
- (1) the relative dependence on state tax revenues, federal funds, and user fees to support state-funded programs, and whether the existing mix of revenue sources is appropriate, given the purposes of the programs;
- (2) the relative percentages of state expenditures that are devoted to major programs such as education, assistance to local government, aid to individuals, state agencies and institutions, and debt service; and
- (3) the role of the legislature in overseeing state government expenditures, including legislative appropriation of money from the general fund, legislative appropriation of money from funds other than the general fund, state agency receipt of money into revolving and other dedicated funds and expenditure of money from these funds, and state agency expenditure of federal funds.
The commission’s recommendations must consider the long-term needs of the state. The recommendations must not duplicate work done by standing committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.