Minnesota government reform efforts may benefit from budget surplus

The projected state surplus announced last week means legislators and the governor will have more time to focus next session on the exciting task of government reform, says the Fargo Forum’s Don Davis.

Although not much was accomplished this year on reform, Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders hope they can get more done in the session starting in January, without the shadow of a shutdown taking so much time and energy.

Wrote Davis:

Dayton used the example of this year’s reduction of red tape for businesses seeking environmental permits as an example of how Democrats and Republicans can work together.

Republicans say government reform will be the focus on next legislative session.

The surplus does not change anything, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said: The top 2012 priorities remain making government more effective and helping more people to find jobs.

 Employers are looking for government stability, House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said. Reforms could help Minnesota move in that direction, he added.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 12/05/2011 - 02:51 pm.

    Having a budget surplus is good news, but I see little else to be happy about.

    I suppose I might be happy about that bipartisan co-operation on environmental permits that Governor Dayton mentioned, if only I knew the details about that deal.

    But I am not happy about the strange accounting that has suddenly changed a deficit into a surplus. Was the state budget deficit ever really real? Is the surplus real now? How can we know for sure?

    ‘The surplus does not change anything, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said: The top 2012 priorities remain making government more effective and helping more people to find jobs.’

    This is a rather telling remark. It isn’t really correct for Senator Koch to claim that the “top 2012 priorities REMAIN making government more effective and helping more people to find jobs.” The word “remain” implies that the top 2012 priorities Koch mentions will somehow be the same as our state government set in 2011. According to my own recollection of the year 2011, the top priorities set by our state government this year, particularly by our legislature, have been budget cutting, budget cutting, and budget cutting, with very little said, particularly by Republicans, about either jobs or government effectiveness.

    I really hope the state budget is less tight than we thought, and I also hope that our elected officials may now be able once again to focus on what works the best and not merely what saves money. However, I have no idea what to expect. My expectations certainly aren’t as high as my hopes.

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