Tonight, we roll out Almanac’s effort to get candidates to get specific about their budget priorities. It’s called “Budget Slap Shot” because we wanted a visual way to talk about the difficult topic of the budget and so many candidates have hockey connections. First up is Tom Emmer a former college hockey player. The Republican nominee for governor did detail his budget ideas by stacking hockey pucks in all the major budget areas. He spent most of his money, 30%, in education combining k-12 and higher ed. Next was health and human services at 22%. The combined budget area of agriculture/veterans got 10%, by far the most of any candidate. Transportation came in at 9%. Emmer ranked public safety spending higher than the other DFL and IP candidates with 8%. Local government aids and bonding debt each got 5%. Environment and economic development each had 4%. State government came in at 3%.
But the tough part of the budget exercise was forcing the candidates to account for a 10% budget shortfall with 10 hockey pucks. Emmer did not seek any revenue as a solution, the only candidate to leave our “Revenue Bucket” untouched. After about an hour of talking and pushing and prodding, Emmer agreed to detail where his budget savings would come from announcing “she finally twisted me.” His government redesign with us created 5% savings in health and human services, 2% from debt service, 1% economic development, 1% local aids, 1% state government. He wanted to be careful that those “redesign savings” are not seen as cuts. Hear Tom Emmer explain much more about how he’d balance the budget in our segment tonight on Almanac.