Editorial: A good dialogueMuch has already been made of the State of Minnesota’s projected $4.6 billion deficit. As a result, cities and counties will almost certainly have to carry an additional burden in times of already-tight budgets.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
Much has already been made of the State of Minnesota’s projected $4.6 billion deficit. As a result, cities and counties will almost certainly have to carry an additional burden in times of already-tight budgets.
The Redesign Project, an effort being led by the Association of Minnesota Counties (www.mncounties.org), is aiming to reshape state government. The project lists three specific goals — governance, transparency and flexibility — that advocates believe would improve the state legislative process.
In a visit to the Daily Globe Monday, Association of Minnesota Counties Executive Director Jim Mulder said the “big issue for us in the short term is (the state) needs to give us the tools to respond. ... What are the tools we need to keep our budget balanced by the end of the day?” Those comments, of course, recognize the likely state aid cuts. Mulder, though, added that the primary reason behind the start of the Redesign Project three years ago was — in recognizing the possibility of future budget woes — that “we decided it was going to require a new look at how we’re doing business; the relationship shouldn’t be about a math problem.”
With governance, Mulder said that when counties make decisions, “we need to have the tools to carry them out.” Greater transparency would improve citizens’ trust in the ability of government to serve the people. In terms of flexibility, state legislators would be given a greater ability to be innovators.
Accompanying Mulder at the Daily Globe Monday were Nobles County Administrator Mel Ruppert and county commissioner Norm Gallagher, who gave first-hand examples of how the Redesign Project could pay off in our backyard. The project has many specific components and will require plentiful dialogue, but we feel it’s a conversation worth having.