Archived Story

Editorial: Haste makes waste when budgeting

Published 9:21am Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Word from the Capitol toward week’s end was that Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders were working closely to resolve their differences about how Minnesota’s budget should be configured for the next two years. That negotiations seemed to be nearing their final stage was good news for every Minnesotan, because it may mean that state spending and tax plans will for once not be the result of desperation and haste.

With control of both legislative houses and the statehouse, the DFL should of course have no trouble finalizing a budget, probably one that includes major spending initiatives and a variety of tax increases. Whatever the plan’s contents, it would be refreshing to see it emerge prior to the last minute. It would be even more refreshing to see a final budget plan and the bill on which lawmakers would vote made available for inspection several day before the final vote. Most of the time, the budget is a frantic, last-minute effort. Given its size and complexity, few legislators and virtually none of the public ever get a chance to fully understand the plan’s implications before it becomes law. That’s bad government, and Minnesotans by now have had their fill of it.

The intent of this commentary is not to make value judgments about the philosophy underlying the state budget. Rather, the point is that it behooves the state’s leaders to let the sun shine on their work for a few days while they listen to what Minnesotans think of it — before voting.

Haste undoubtedly makes waste when it comes to budgets. This year, there is no need for haste and every reason to follow a course that lets everyone understand what’s in store.