Letter: Time for legislative leaders to step upMinnesota’s latest budget projection is better than it could have been, but that the revised amount is still staggering.
By: Dist. 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, Worthington Daily Globe
Minnesota’s latest budget projection is better than it could have been, but that the revised amount is still staggering. State economists said the February financial forecast for Fiscal Year 2010-11 would have shown a $6.393 billion deficit, but if Minnesota relies on $1.8 billion in federal funds — which it will — the latest deficit projection stands at $4.57 billion.
The thing we need to keep in mind is that this is one-time money from the federal government. We should be concerned that this funding will preserve and likely expand some of the government programs where spending is out of control. The federal money is a temporary fix, but does nothing to address our state’s long-term spending problems in certain areas.
Minnesota’s budget woes continue because spending continues to rapidly outpace collected revenues. Tax collections are down $1.16 billion while state spending is rising by $152 million.
In Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013, revenues are now expected to be $5.133 billion less than projected expenditures before adjusting for inflation, creating even greater problems once the federal funds have dried up.
I’ve been repeatedly contacted by several residents who basically ask what the incentive is to work, to run an honest business or make responsible investments, if government is going to bail them out every step of the way. And I have to agree! Healthy, able adults need to take responsibility for their own lives and stop expecting the government to be the cure-all, end-all. You can’t accept only the reward and not accept the possible risk.
The governor’s plan has been out there for weeks, and to date we have had no budget solutions given by the leadership that controls the House and Senate. It’s time for them to step up and put some ideas on the table, because this latest forecast proves our budget needs significant spending reform and responsible investments both now and in future years.