Monday, June 14, 2010

Grogan session recap: DFL ignores spending problem, at state's peril

By Brian Grogan

The 2010 session opened with legislators being informed that due to declining tax revenues, our state faced a $1.2 billion deficit. The deficit grew to $3.5 billion when the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned Governor Pawlenty’s 2009 unallotment. Sadly, during the 2010 session our legislative leaders worked harder at avoiding rather than dealing with our state’s fundamental issue: unsustainable spending. Minnesotans are poorer for it!

For the last four years, the Democrats have had significant majorities. They have controlled the legislative agenda in both chambers (Senate and House). During this period they have repeatedly communicated that our state faces a revenue problem. As proof, in the last three legislative sessions our state faced a deficit of $1 billion or more. But rather than having a serious bipartisan discussion on how to reduce government size, the Democrats have chosen to use tax increases (gas tax, sales taxes and others), accounting shifts and delayed payments to address the majority of the deficit problem. In other words they have consistently booted the deficit problems into the next session.

Is our state facing a spending or a revenue problem? Minnesota’s revenues are projected to grow by nearly 5 percent during the next biennium, but analysts are still projecting a $5.5 billion deficit. If revenues are growing in a slow economy, why is our state still facing a deficit? Because our state’s spending is increasing faster than revenues. In fact, under law many state programs have automatic spending increases regardless of whether our state has the revenues to pay for the program. We have a spending problem in Minnesota!

If you have cancer and your doctor told you not to worry about it. What would you think about his advice? The Democrat party wants Minnesotans to believe we don’t have any structural problems in our state’s budget. They want us to believe we can basically maintain the current spending programs while addressing our deficit problems with increased taxes, federal bailouts, shifting money and deferring payments to later times. They hope revenues will catch up with spending. This is a false hope the Democrat party is promising us.

Cancer treatment is painful and scary. Likewise redesigning our state’s commitment to children, families and the poor will be challenging. People will face difficult choices. If our state leaders address the state’s spending problems today, we will be an in better position to thrive in the future. The greater good is served by getting our fiscal house in order.

How well would you grade the 2010 legislative session? Could you take a brief moment and complete this survey?

Brian Grogan is a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives in House District 43B. His campaign web site is at

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