Response Page - Joe Atkins
Interview - The 2020 Legislative Conference
These comments are responses
to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Interview of 2/22/08.
_____ On a scale of (0 ) not helpful at all, to (10) very helpful,
what do you
think of the role of the 2020 Conference, a bipartisan legislative
_____ On a scale of (0) not needed at all, to (10) very much needed,
what do you
think of the 2020 Conference's emphasis on promoting long range
planning in the
Donna Anderson (9) (10)
Leadership with vision and attention to details and energy to
establish and keep momentum is key to success of 2020 caucus.
John Gunyou (0) (0)
After three years of "getting to know each other," I think it's time
to ask whether the 2020 Caucus has actually enacted anything that will
help prepare the state for the next 20 or 30 years, much less the next
two or three years, or simply serves as a convenient excuse to talk
the talk and continue avoid making the hard choices.
Scott Halstead (10) (10)
I want to see more legislators voting for their constituents/citizens
of Minnesota and not their party and the influencers. I think the 2020
conference offers are legislators an opportunity to discuss matters
without outside influence and hopefully we will begin to see the
results of working together.
The long term planning is an essential part of Government. We need to
identify and prioritize the long range needs and put our financial
house in order to pay for the highest priorities.
Eric Schubert ( ) (10)
I think it could be very helpful if they moved ahead on something.
Steve Alderson (8) (12)
After fifty years of planning I can see both the benefits of the 2020
strategy and the pitfalls. Concern for the future and an appreciation
of the past are hallmarks of civilization. At the same time the future
so surprises us that preparing for it can be an act of folly. A
conference of elected officials risks that folly.
All successful planning ventures have been backed by clear and
effective administrative level planning roles for agents such as
college administrators, utility engineers and medical practitioners to
say nothing of well financed entrepreneurs.
Looking to politicians without building effective and at least
semi-permanent planning organizations is what is causing the mess at
present. The first budget cuts seem to hit the planning offices. The
papers have more interest in bashing the commissioners than in
understanding the issues or supporting the strengthening of the state
staffs. Until we can alert citizens and local politicians to the
importance of permanent quality planning work in schools, public
offices and safety nets such as medical and social services we will
have limited progress.
Don Fraser (3) (5)
Marina Lyon (4) (5)
This group hasn't been very visible during the past year. This is one
of the reasons I don't think their role has been helpful --it could
be, but it hasn't from my vantage point.
Re: long-range planning -- excellent idea that doesn't fit with a
"now" culture. Cost is also high and probably wouldn't get broad
Joe Mansky (10) (10)
Excellent idea and long overdue. The state of Minnesota may be the
only large organization I know of that does not have a capital budget.
Hence our deteriorating roads, parks, etc. It's a direct consequence
of not budgeting money each year for capital improvements. And as
Jerry Knickerbocker once told me, long range planning is not a
strength of the state government. Maybe it's time to deal with that
Paul and Ruth Hauge (10) (10)
Chuck Slocum (5) (10)
As they say "the proof is in the pudding." These kinds of legislative
caucus groups are numerous and I have seldom, if ever, found that they
have made any major difference in policymaking. That influence seems
to remain with the Governor and legislative leadership. It seems to
me, too, that such an initiative needs a focus and it appeared that
Rep. Atkins was pretty broad brush in his views.
The idea of 2020 is, indeed, a good one, with the demographics of
Minnesota changing. Certainly, we have lost our one time emphasis on
planning at the state level--something that does demand attention for
precisely the same reasons they founded the 2020 Conference. We need
to include citizen input in both the short term (3-5 years out) and
long term (10-30 years out) strategic planning at all levels of
government. It is a role of responsible government, in my view.
Charles and Hertha Lutz (9) (9)
Sheila Kiscaden (5) (9)
Larry and Ann Schluter (8) (8)
I don't think we will see much action from the legislature on long
Clarence Shallbetter (2) (7)
Tim R. McDonald
7 (+/- 2pts); tentative upon understanding more fully how they conduct
9; legislators need to push the talk, not just interest groups. This
is a good forum to do it.
Good memo. See work the Chamber and Private College Council have done
re: demographics by 2020. The boomer/youngster swing is exacerbated by
an 18 percent decrease in white 18-yr-olds; almost 50 percent increase
in 18 yr-old people of color. Income and educational patterns
correlate as usual, creating significant affordability challenges for
higher ed and an educated workforce shortage.
Wayne Jennings (7) (9)
Bob Brown (9) (7)
It is encouraging to see any legislators talking on a bi-partisan
basis. It is important for them to maintain a reasonable balance of
the two parties and the two houses of the legislature in such a group
as they apparently now have. It is also encouraging that they are
looking outside for ideas and research. One thing that strikes me is
that they might go back and examine the Association for Generational
Equity in which Durenberger and
Tim Penny were major players some years ago- it seemed to have a
similar long range focus.
I am a little skeptical of attempts to budget 10 years out. It may be
good to have some fairly long range targets (3 or 4 biennia ahead) as
long as they are revised annually based on changing economic
conditions, governmental needs, and technological or scientific
breakthroughs (such as in energy production or medical advancements.)
While long range budgeting may be not be realistic there are some
areas of public policy in which long range comprehensive planning
would be very useful, particularly if it used as a guide and not as
dogma. State comprehensive plans dealing with transportation and the
acquisition and development of parks and open spaces are a couple that
come quickly to mind.
Tom Swain (10) (10)
Pat Lichty (8) (10)
I believe bipartisanship and long range decision making is very
I hope the number of legislators (and perhaps our next governor?)
participating in this increases.
I would like to think that the passage of the transportation bill
could be a positive sign that we are seeing the beginnings of
increased bi-partisanship in our state legislature. However, based on
media news of Rep. Siefert's response to the 6 House Republicans who
voted for the bill, I wonder if ever we will see the bipartisanship
public policy making and voting that we so desperately need again- (as
we did decades ago.)
I am very concerned about any additional cutting of state government
during this latest shortfall. The state budget has been slashed so
many times since the 1998 tax bill that the state can no longer do its
job well. The breakdown of essential state services is currently most
easily seen by the poor status of our transportation system, but also
by problems in other state agencies that have become public. For
example, unemployment checks have not come out in time and the poor
decision-making by the Commissioner of Health over cancer on the Iron
Range. Another example that our state government not working; the
number of lawsuits brought by the AG's office over inappropriate
annuities and other securities being marketed to seniors. In former
years, such securities would not have been allowed on the Minnesota
market in the first place because the Department of Commerce would not
have accepted them for public policy reasons. I digress..... I just
hope that our state agencies are not slashed further. The core of
their work is consumer protection. I fear that we have already lost
too many of the benefits and protections we formerly enjoyed because
we had an appropriately funded state government.
Long range thinking: we need to completely re-do Minnesotas tax bill.
Revenues should be revenues are sufficient for appropriate services
and investment, more predicatable so that budgeting can be done, and
the tax burden is more fairly shared.
Marianne Curry (10) (5)
Question 1: Give it a 10. How sad that members of the same caucus
don't know each other across the House and Senate. This is a good
Question 2: Give it a 5. Where are you going with this question?
Create new structures? I don't think so.
Professionals in these existing state departments know what the
priorities are. Funding is the issue!!!
Lyall Schwarzkopf (9) (9)
The Civic Caucus
is a non-partisan,
tax-exempt educational organization. The Core participants
include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and
business. Click here
to see a short personal background of each.
Verne C. Johnson, chair; Lee Canning, Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel,
Paul Gilje, Jim Hetland, John Mooty, Jim Olson,
Wayne Popham and John Rollwagen.