The next governor needs to commit to Minn.

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some governors are more powerful than others. Their power comes directly from their state’s constitution, state Supreme Court decisions and legislative law. The office of Minnesota governor is very powerful in comparison to other states.

Minnesota governors have the power of the veto. With the flick of a pen, the governor can override the wishes of 201 locally elected legislators. Last session the House voted 125-9 on the General Assistance Medical Care legislation only to have the governor veto it. When attempts were made to override this veto, which needs to be done by a two-thirds vote of each chamber, members of the minority party switched their original votes to avoid an override. This is an example of the Republican Party not working across party lines.

Minnesota governors have the power of the line-item veto. They have the power to veto any individual expenditure in an appropriations bill for any reason. The Shooting Star Trail was line-item vetoed by the governor.

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Minnesota governors have the power to appoint state Supreme Court justices without the advice, consent or a confirmation vote of the state Senate. This provides excessive power of the executive branch over the judicial branch of government.

Minnesota governors have the power to change previous legislative appropriations when the state budget unexpectedly becomes unbalanced. This authority has reduced local government aid to cities and counties and has postponed state aid to schools, forcing many local school districts to borrow money and to pay interest in order to pay their bills on time.

Minnesota governors have demanded that inflation is taken into consideration when calculating future revenue, but inflation is not taken into consideration when calculating future expenditures. This makes it very difficult to actually calculate the state budget and has also resulted in future state deficits to be hidden from the public.

Our next governor will make very important decisions within the first days of the administration. One decision is whether to participate in the Early Medical Assistance Option, which would provide $7 of federal funds for every $1 of state aid for 102,000 Minnesotans.

There are only three ways to balance a budget:

1. Cut expenditures such as tax deductions and government programs.

2. Increase revenue by closing tax loopholes or expanding taxes.

3. Do a combination of cutting expenditures and increasing revenue.

As voters prepare to go to the polls on Nov. 2, it is important that all candidates for governor lay out specific plans on how they are going to provide adequate funding to public schools, colleges and universities, nursing homes, transportation systems and human services to create a real balanced budget.

Finally, the next Minnesota governor needs to be fully committed to serving Minnesota and in providing the political and economic leadership to create a transparent balanced budget while protecting the priorities of the Minnesota people.

Joan Anderson is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.