Need proof that state government has a spending problem? MPR provided yet another example in a recent story on Lutsen Mountain violating a permit on water sourcing:
[Rep.] Dill and [Sen.] Bakk say if Lutsen is forced to take water from the lake [Superior] instead of the Poplar River, they will ask taxpayers to underwrite the cost.
It is a fact (and an economic principle) that resources are limited. State government collects tax money and then chooses how to spend it according to the requirements and powers granted by the Constitution. The problem is that lawmakers discovered that they could spend your money on other things. Throw in the power of taxation and there’s no need for prioritizing or making a hard decision.
Minnesota will have an additional $4 billion in revenue during the biennium to spend through the general fund. That’s a 12% increase from the last budget! There is plenty of money to spend.
Lawmakers don’t want to tell constituents (or donors or patrons) that they can’t have something. It usually isn’t good for them personally (think: re-election) even though it’s good for every one else.
Why are we cutting allowances for traumatic brain injury patients but paving a bicycle trail from Saint Bonifacius to Mayer?
Why are the budgets shrinking for the courts, the third and equal branch of government, but we bailed out the Buffalo Regional Railroad for almost $3 million?
Why do we sit in a bottleneck traffic jam on I-494 in Plymouth but spend almost $6 million on prairie restoration?
What is the next Constitutionally mandated state service that will suffer because Rep. Dill and Sen. Bakk want to subsidize a private business in their area?
I wrote about this last October. Our state’s budget problem will not be solved with class warfare, but with fiscal responsibility and the courage to prioritize. The state Legislature did its job and passed a balanced budget that spends within the means of the state. It’s time for Governor Dayton to sign those finance bills or he will bear the responsibility for shutting down state government.