Editorial: A plan is needed

Published 10:15 am Thursday, February 10, 2011

Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton fired the latest shot in an ongoing political battle when he said that candidates for public office in Minnesota should face stricter rules for reporting the names of, and amounts given by, campaign donors. The issue has been a burr under some DFLers’ saddles since the gubernatorial vote recount raised questions about who was funding candidate Tom Emmer’s challenge to the original tally. Dayton’s point, that transparency is better, is well-taken. However, it’s not the biggest need, at the moment, for more transparent government.

The biggest need facing Minnesotans right now, the thing they most need to hear from their elected leaders, is a comprehensive plan for addressing the state budget crisis — a situation which is likely to reach into every Minnesotan’s life, whether because of a lost job, an increase in taxes or a decrease in services. Instead of a plan, we are treated to nearly random-seeming bits of budget cutting, interspersed with legislation that would actually increase the budget deficit while bringing no tangible benefits to residents.

We have noted for weeks, ever since new leadership took over at the Capitol, that it’s time for a step back and a solid, overall plan for dealing with how Minnesotans’ taxes are levied and how the state spends the money it takes in. Five weeks into the session, no sign of such a plan is forthcoming from the Legislature.

Email newsletter signup

Minnesota’s leaders can — and do — argue over political minutiae until the sun sets. What Minnesota needs before too many days have passed is some sign that there’s a vision for the future coming from the House and Senate.

— Austin Daily Herald, Feb. 8