1. _7.3 average_____On
a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, what is your view on whether shifting tax and spending
authority from cities and school districts to the state has enhanced
power of statewide employee organizations, because such groups now can
focus on the Legislature, instead of having to deal with hundreds of
local cities and school districts?
2. _6.2 average _____On a scale of
(0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is
your view on whether broadening the base of the Minnesota state sales
tax to include items now exempt from the tax, such as clothing, ought
to receive higher priority than increasing the state income tax?
3. _5.0 average _____On a scale of
(0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is
your view on whether the Civic Caucus should devote more attention to
interviewing persons capable of offering knowledge and insight to
candidates for Governor than to interviewing candidates themselves?
Do you have suggestions for who we might interview to provide such
knowledge and insight? _see responses below
Bill Frenzel (8) (7) (10)
Question 1: Powerful reference groups have always tried to kick their
issues up to the next level.
Question 2: The question is too simple. In general, I agree, but any
important change must consider the tax system as a whole. Tweaking the
system often leads to the dreaded “unintended consequences”.
Question 3: This may not be our final answer, but I believe it is the
best way to start.
Jan Hively (6) (10) (5)
Question 1: The shift has enhanced both the power of the legislators
and the access of
all pressure groups to the decision makers who hold the purse strings.
does your question focus only on employee organizations? Are you
Question 2: I have been strongly in favor of broadening the base of
the sales tax to
include clothing since the state sales tax was first approved. I would
also increase the state income tax, however.
Question 3: I believe that every citizen is capable of offering
knowledge and insight
to gubernatorial candidates. There are two questions for the Caucus to
consider: 1) How can we assure that the citizens are educated about
the pros and cons of issues that affect them? and 2) How can we assist
in the task of developing clear channels for citizen advocates to
and insight to candidates.
Question 4: How about civic education experts -- Harry Boyte, Ann
MN League of Women Voters? How about a couple of people who head
effective umbrella policy advocacy organizations -- the leader of MCEA
(MN Center for Environmental Advocacy) or Mark Ritchie (IATP, etc.)
Bill Kelly (3) (2) (1)
Paul Hauge (5) (6) (5)
Bob White (10) (10) (5)
Question 1: The shift makes inevitable the increased influence of
statewide interest groups including employee organizations. But this
does not mean that greater state fiscal authority over, for example,
school districts is automatically negative. The alternative for local
authority is greater reliance on property taxes -- which clearly puts
such authorities in more direct touch with their constituencies but is
likely to crimp their revenues.
Question 2: Broadening the sales tax is long overdue and therefore
deserves higher priority. But because the looming budget crunch
suggests that such a broadening alone would not close the gap, income
tax increases can't be ruled out. Sen. Bonoff's proposal seems to me
to demonstrate that point. 750 mil by adding clothing, plus accounting
shifts? That doesn't look like a solution.
Question 3: I give a waffling rating because this shouldn't be an
either-or. Interviewing candidates without interviewing wise outsiders
on the same issues would be a mistake. So would interviewing outsiders
or candidates alone. An essential ingredient is, as the group
discussed, assembling the right list of questions and issues on both
short-term and long-term steps the state ought to take collectively to
shape its future -- collectively meaning both government and a more
engaged citizenry (as also was discussed)..
Question 4: As to who would be the best non-candidates to involve:
Seems to me the Caucus has a ready-made list, composed of many of the
individuals you have interviewed the past couple of years.
Christine Brazelton (8) (4) (5)
Question 2: Concerned about regressive taxation. The 10th of the
population with the least income already pays the highest percentage
of their income in state and local taxes.
Question 3: Both have value.
Question 4: I can't give you any names, but hope that we can find
insightful people that are not already politically polarized, or
Terry Stone (8) (8) (5)
Question 2: No discussion of any tax should be should be engaged with
out a clearly defined tax policy intent. Priorities need to be set and
those priorities funded after low priority functions of government
have been reduced or eliminated. To facilitate this, the Legislature
really should initiate a constitutional amendment that eliminates most
or all dedicated funding. This will provide the open structure budget
environment in which real work can be done. With dedicated funding
schemes in place, services are being provided because there is a pool
of money to deliver the service; not necessarily because the service
is a high priority.
As a matter of tax policy, all taxes imposed by the Legislature should
have a sunset provision with a short time parameter to avoid
government on autopilot that leads to governmental growth and fiscal
Question 4: All of the states adjacent to Minnesota deliver their
services for far less than Minnesota. Having lived in and/or traveled
in these states, I saw little or no difference in the quality of life.
The Governors of these states should be a refreshing source of useful
perspective on governance and budgetary insight. How about a
A key question for all gubernatorial candidates should be: What role,
if any, can a state Governor play to stop the march of federal power
over state’s rights and state authority?
I asked candidate Pat Anderson this question last Tuesday and she
acknowledged that the weapon of choice for federal control is money.
She said that the governors have got to form a solid front and refuse
federal money in order to regain control over their future. She has a
whole bag full of rock solid budget ideas. For the record, Anderson
seems a perfectly acceptable and qualified candidate; although she
polled at 9% among northern Minnesota likely delegates to the state
GOP convention October 3rd.
David Detert (8) (7) (7)
Robert J. Brown (8) (10) (5)
Question 1: I think this has happened, but at least equally important
is the removal of responsibility from local elected officials for
decisions about their spending when a major share of their funding is
coming as intergovernmental payments. The disconnect of authority to
spend from responsibility to tax is a major part of our problem today.
Question 2: Broadening the sales to clothing and food along with a
credit towards income tax (with the credit going to those who don’t
even owe a tax) would make sense. This type of sales tax would
actually be progressive since more affluent people would be buying
more expensive clothes and food. Also it would gain us more revenue
from tourists in our state. Unfortunately, it is hard to present this
concept to the unthinking public when the demagogues would be
confusing people with emotional arguments about taxing the poor as
Dave Graven found out when he tried to run for governor.
Question 3: I don’t think it is an either –or question, it should be
both. Interview the knowledgeable people to gain insights, but use
those insights for more thoughtful and penetrating interviews with the
Question 4: I would not suggest specific names, but I think you should
look at different types of people such as key strategists for each
candidate, thoughtful think tank leaders and editorial writers, key
leaders of business, labor, foundations, nonprofits, etc.
Carolyn Ring (10) (10) (5)
Question 2: As we know from spending winters in Florida, taxing
clothing pays off and is among the reasons Florida has no income tax
and Minnesotans move there. There could be some exceptions such as
Goodwill and church Clothing Centers, or tax credits for low income,
or a combination thereof.
Question 3: Both are important and a good mix would be best.
Question 4: Past congressmen, legislators and other state leaders who
experienced true bi-partisan government as they might have valuable
insight. Maybe Al Quie and Roger Moe together could be an example of
Norm Carpenter (9) (9) (9)
Question 4: John Gunyou and Jay Kiedrowski (again and again), Peter
Hutchinson, Arne Carlson, Peter Heegaard, Larry Pogemiller
Phil Herwig (10) (_) (1)
Question 2: I don't favor broadening the tax base or increasing the
state income tax. We need to cut spending!
Question 4: Civic Caucus needs to interview the candidates. Does
anyone believe that dumping knowledge on people is going to give you
any idea of where they intend to go with it? The Caucus needs to find
out and question a candidate's guiding principles. "Experts" and
knowledge are fine---what about wisdom?
Bert Press (10) (10) (5)
Al Quie (10) (10)(8)
Mary Rossing (7)(5) (8)
Charles Lutz (7) (9) (5)
Jill Sletten (5) (4) (4)
Question 4: We'll have to see who's in the race at the end of filings.
Perhaps the end of filing is too late but certainly later when we can
discern who's for real.
Scott Halstead (10) (10) (5)
Question 3: I would prefer to see a listing of the most important
issues and a report card for the Governor, majority and minority
leaders for the session and wide distribution of the results.
Jason Mooty (7) (0) (6)
Greg Davidson (3)(10) (9)
Question 2: WITH the condition that clothes costing under $50 are tax
exempt. I believe that any needed item of clothing including warm
coats/boots; can be purchased for under $50. Using this exclusion
would minimize the argument that sales taxes hurt the poor.
Question 4: - Former Governors especially Carlson
- Former state Senate and House leaders (Majority and Minority
- History Professors
- Business and University/College leaders. Whatever happened to the
- former VP Mondale, Rep. Ramsted, other long term serving elected to
federal positions who still reside in MN.
Bill Kuisle (10) (0) (5)
I think we have to look at the fact that by broadening the sales tax
you provide a wind fall to the legacy account. The public never
thought legacy fund would get a boost everytime you broaden the sales
tax. It really was a bad piece of legislation.
Connie Morrison (0) (0) (0)
John Adams (8) (10) (5)
Peter Hennessey (10) (5) (5)
Question 1: Huh? I can't believe MN has actually done that. Why?
Obviously way too much DFL. As Ayn Rand observed, Divide and Conquer,
Unite and Rule. Democracy works best when power is closest to the
people. Of course, it's simpler to deal with one Legislature than many
city councils and school districts! By the same reasoning, let's elect
a "president for life" and everything will be much more simple! Good
grief... does anyone remember we are Americans?
Question 2: There are all kinds of benefits to be reaped from going to
a consumer tax, and while you're at it, dumping the income tax. With a
sales tax, you are in charge of deciding if, when and how much you can
afford and want to spend. A sales tax is also inherently,
automatically fair. You can live as simply and as frugally as you
want, and pay little or no tax, or you can live as extravagantly as
you want, and pay a lot. The mechanism for collecting the tax is
already in place and it's automatic, at the time of sale. There is no
need for the tremendous waste of time in collecting receipts and
filling out forms for individual tax returns, there is no need for the
tremendous bureaucracy to process all that paper, there is no need for
the additional bureaucracy to do enforcement. There is no more social
engineering through tinkering with the tax code, there is little or no
more need for lobbyists to "advise" legislators in such efforts. The
people win on all counts; that's why it will never happen.
Question 3: Why the false dichotomy? Are people's opinion about a
candidate more important that you own evaluation of the same
candidate? Whom do you trust more, yourself or some pundit or
John Nowicki (5) (1) (1)
Question 4: This gets you into the political arena. Do you really want
to be there. You might lose objectivity.
Steven Hardie (5) (0) (4)
Alan Miller (8) (10) (8)
Question 4: How about interviews of average, intelligent, voting
citizens who are leaders in their communities or organizations rather
than such a heavy emphasis on elected or formerly elected officials
John Milton (5) (0) (0)
Glenn Dorfman (5) (5)(5)
The Civic Caucus should put a packet of position papers together on
what it considers the key issues for the 2010 Governor’s race and do
the difficult work of meeting with the candidates to explain the
reasoning behind its recommendations. It would also be helpful to put
the Civic Caucus positions out for public consumption and reaction
---on the Internet ---prior to finalizing the positions. This allows
for public education and input which is imperative in the new world
order versus the old elite model of “we know what is best for you” on
both sides of the political aisle.
David Dillon (10) (10) (10)
Bill Hamm (10) (0) (0)
Question 1: Much to our detriment, the central planning model will
always cost us more and put more power into the hands of public
employees while undermining efficient low cost local decision making.
It undermines the very fabric of our society by undermining local
input and reducing the number of local citizens involved with real
decision making that has always taken place locally until recent
times. Whether it is schools or land use decisions every layer of
bureaucracy adds tremendous cost when figured across the state while
stealing our voice in process. In rural Minnesota this is how our
local economies are being undermined and we are being driven off our
land by twin citidiots.
Question 2: This is at least the third time this year you have
reframed this garbage and stuck it in our face. Nno, this is by far
the most regressive tax in Minnesota and you keep trying to add to it.
The key here isn't increasing revenues but rather returning control
and decision making back to the local level to reduce cost of
government. Let's take some time to look at a fair, say 15%, flat tax
with a drop off at the poverty line instead of trying to find more
ways to attack the poor people of this state.
Question 3: Your attempts to influence the political system will prove
futile and ignorant. Stick to airing issues where you at least have a
chance of uncovering some useful truths.
Your progressive (spelled socialist) core is sticking out more and
more lately making it harder and harder to view you as an unbiased
think tank and putting you more into the arena of Matt Entenza's
Minnesota 20/20. I strongly suggest moving back to a more even handed
Perhaps you could take a look at what's going on with the Civic summit
over in Minneapolis for some new material particularly a group called
www.vote18.org, and help us put MN back on a positive track instead of
helping the Socialists undermine us.
Rick Krueger (5) (9) (9)
Question 4: I would suggest securing a panel or a series of meetings
of former state Finance Commissioner including Kiedrowski, Wheelock
It seems to me that in an age when technologies afford us access to
more and higher quality information including for state issues and
candidates that the same technologies are creating opportunities for
greater noise, clutter and confusion. Consequently we are trapped in a
situation where we probably could better understand issues but instead
are drowning in meaningless campaign slogans.
What does “no new taxes” mean? Apparently shifts of ever growing
fiscal structural problems and accounting gimmicks into the future
qualify in some people’s minds for fiscal responsibility. All sides
blame the other for irresponsibility, even though a day of budget
reckoning will ultimately come. The next governor of Minnesota may
will to deal with the largest percentage deficit in the nation when
taking the shifts as a percentage of the state budget. I chaired State
Government Finance and am appalled at what is being offered as
“solutions”. We need to become more substance versus slogan driven in
our public policy decisions.
Another possibility would include how to use information technology
(and specifically the ‘new media’ to better inform the public. I don’t
know if there is a single person I would recommend, but I have some
ideas as to who might be provocative thought leaders in e-democracy
Ray Schmitz (1) (5) (9)
Question 1: Formerly they had the ability to play one district against
the other, now the decision does not stop at the board so they can
just blame the legislature.
Question 2: I am just not sure income is the issue, spending tends to
go up if there is revenue to support it, but when the revenue dips
there are not similar cuts. We need base line budgets that can be
sustained, then additional spending can be used for programs/projects
when it is available but when not then they can be scaled back or
Question 3: You are right the candidates have gotten so sophisticated
at staying on message, and the message has become so bland, that
interviewing them is a waste of time.
Question 4: Thinking I hesitate to say business types because they
also have messages and agendas, the former governors/finance comm, etc
have provided interesting points in the recent past. Government profs
and similar often have valuable perspective, and often can use
examples from other states and cities.
Jim Keller (10) (10)(0)
Robert A. Freeman (8) (9) (2)
Question 2: Even though I appreciate the argument that this is
regressive, it is clear that the state needs a more stable source of
revenue and I think this would discourage consumption by people who
cannot afford it. In the UK children's clothing (but not adult's) is
exempted from VAT, which I think is a reasonable compromise, since
kids need new clothes much more regularly and this unfairly impacts
parents of young children.
Question 3: Think both have equal merit. Like the idea of getting
candidates to think about these issues if nothing else.
Mary Rossing (7) (5) (8)
Question 4: As to suggestions of folks who could provide good insight,
appreciate the comments of those who have formerly held the position
since they know more than anyone the challenges as well as have had
time to think of the opportunities that they may have missed. So,
former governors would be interesting.
Also I am personally interested in the relationship of the state and
local government, so someone from the MN League of Cities. Or a former
mayor--again those currently in office are too encumbered by what they
want to accomplish and perhaps not able to provide objective insight.
Kent Eklund (8)(9) (5)
For your Aug. 14th meeting on aging issues, LaRhae Knatterud has
headed Project 2010 and done a lot of good work. You might also ask
Mark Thomas, CEO of Ebenezer, who is at the forefront of the critical
linkages between acute care and senior care issues. I have contact
information for both if you are interested.
We would benefit greatly from asking Ray Sheppach, who has been
Executive Director of the National Governors Assn for decades to be
our guest sometime. To trace what he has seen in the demands on
Governors and the nature of the people who are being elected and the
national forces at play in leadership on public policy. The same would
be true of a former Governor from the 1970/80s still active in
public/civic affairs. George Voinovich of Ohio retires from the USS
this year. Bob Kerry did a few years ago as did Dave Pryor of Ark,
Dick Schweiker or Dick Thornburgh in PA - the list is long if you're
Among the various factors that I believe have changed significantly
enough to affect how productive a Governor can be are, in no special
Public, public opinion, and sources of reliable information on which
to base decisions...this includes special interests, parties,
journalism, the media, punditry and its economic rewards, -- no one
seems truly "independent" any more.
Decline in pride of place, respect for and recognition of leaders and
leadership...candidates have been running so long against the
government they are supposed to become that they've left little room
for genuine innovation in governance and policy.
I like your questions on leadership. I'd ask every candidate to
compare themselves with prior Governors and be specific - back as far
as they can recall.
As long as I've been a candidate I've never known a time that
candidates created the issues. They are there and have been polled to
death and millions of dollars collected to be for or against whatever
the two big issues will be. Independents and self-financed GOP or DFL
can create an issue that doesn't surface with a champion to espouse it
and make it important with his/her bucks.
I didn't much like Tony Sutton's responses about the MN tax climate.
Presumptions about why 3M expands abroad or in tax-free states while
it hires a Brit to be its CEO and live in Chicago just don't help. Nor
does the colony of MNs in Naples who take their MN-financed success
off to the west coast of FL - or the irrigated deserts of AZ - until
they need long term care or grandkids to care for more than their
beach homes and then they return.
Or the notion that policy ideas come only from the fringe of politics
not the middle. This is why in a real middle ground, battleground
state like we are, Republicans have ceded both the middle and the
elections to DFLers for much too long. If Harry Blackmun hadn't spent
all that time in Mayo's library setting up Roe v. Wade, there wouldn't
be a GOP in this state any more.
David Pundt (10) (0) (0)
Question 1: There seems to be a playbook a number of pressure groups
have in use. I'm an ELCA Lutheran and 'voting members' will cast
ballots next month on questions dealing with same-sex marriage and
ministers involved in same-sex relationships. Over time, voting rules
have been changed so that no congregations or members of congregations
not involved in the process have impact on the actual voting. Voting
members are volunteers who are told that they do not represent the
views and opinions of their respective congregations and are to vote
their consciences when deciding these matters. Looks like a parallel
to me. And the pressure interest groups - in this case those who want
bigger, more intrusive governments, have had their way, so far. And I
don't see a sizeable push-back effort. Perhaps, like in the case of
the church, most of us won't realize what happened until long after
it, whatever the goal of the pressure group happens to be has
Question 3: If I understand the suggestion, the CC would then talk to
the campaign manager or publicist or think tank operator for that
particular candidate? I guess my question would be why would these
people give answers more frank and revealing than the candidate
themselves? Perhaps retired, less involved persons who had held the
position before; Al Quie, Wendy Anderson, Jesse Ventura? And their
opinions about individual candidates. Perhaps the grilling needs to be
more intense to get at the kernel of stuff. Specifics.
David Broden (8) (10) (10)
Question 1: The shift suggested in the question certainly has occurred
and is an barrier to resolution of issues as suggested. Further the
approach has weakened the role and more importantly the responsibility
of the local units of government. This of course must be balanced with
the importance of ensuring uniform base of education and local
services and safety and providing for balance in funding where funding
resources due to property value and income factors cannot ensure the
quality. Minnesota quality of life has been high across the state
because of the concern for all of Mn--this must be maintained but the
impact of special interests in defining programs and funding must be
minimized. We must ensure that the local units have some ownership in
the management and funding of all activities not just taking "free
money" and using it in some way. Government in all areas needs to be
more accountable for the activities, revenue, and spending and this
has eroded as we have shifted responsibility. This thus gets to
rethinking who should make what decisions, what are the units of
government, how do we keep local and citizen involvement and process
involvement. A good reason for a focus on a new state structure
document re: what is a county--what is a region --who does what--and
how do we deliver public service--how and who raises revenue
etc.--sounds a bit like perhaps some form of a Mn Constitutional
Rewrite--pretty radical ideas to start the discuss--it is time to move
toward this with some good and well set goals.
Question 2: The revenue base must be expanded to reflect the type of
economy that we are living in today. Sales tax across all segments
should be a first step. Income tax that continues to be only
progressive without reaching to all who use services is only hurting
the growth of many aspects of the state. I do not want to be labeled
as a anti-tax person I want to be labeled as a pro-Mn quality of life
and pro-jobs person. We can adapt the revenue side with some
innovation to encourage all sides if we begin with expanding the sales
tax to capture revenue from the full economy of the 21st century.
Question 3: The future of Mn must be based on the needs of the
stakeholders from all segments of the economy, the diversity of the
population, areas of the state, etc. Only by capturing the thoughts
and priorities of the leaders in key parts of the state, in key
businesses, in education, in diversity of population can the framework
for leadership and direction be defined. People with knowledge and
insight can offer this vision. From a series of interviews with
thought leaders from across Mn --regions and topics--the CC could form
the top 5 common themes which we can then use with the candidates for
governor. There will be many organizations and the press focusing on
the candidates--we can provide a service to the state by asking the
question of Key Thought leaders--What is needed for Mn future, why,
and how--and driving those ideas to the attention of the media and the
candidates. Later in the process we can bring in the candidates as the
list gets smaller.
Question 4: We should establish a list of thought leader and community
leaders from across the state--to begin we could ask key organizations
who the leaders are that they recognize. One approach might be to go
a)League of Counties and ask Mulder who are the top 5 people in the
counties statewide, b) go to Mn Bankers association and ask who are
the bank leaders in each area of the state or just ask the bank
association to come in; c) how about someone from the 9th fed--Rolnick?;
d) Perhaps John Himle may have some thoughts since he has had
statewide PR leadership; e) Mn Ag Council; f) state labor leaders--ask
someone in labor leadership to come in and discuss what is needed; g)
how about someone from Farm Bureau or Farmers Union etc. . What is not
needed is a focus on elected leaders--or academic--we need real stake
holders. This may take a bit more work than we have the resources for
but to try one or two and see where it goes is a good idea.