State Rep. Mary
Chair of the
and Means Committee, favors a state budget with no tax rate increases
viewing this approach as a strategy for encouraging job growth. She
calls for restructuring human services, a realignment of the state's
relationship with local government, and using student choice to help
decide the fate of higher education institutions.
For the complete
interview summary see:
Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement,
to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed
by Representative Holberg. Average
response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’
zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be
considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.
(7.1 average response) The state
should pay human service providers based on how well they achieve
(5.2 average response) Local option
sales taxes should be allowed if approved by voters in referendums.
(4.6 average response) The state
should provide more financial support for higher education in fields
where jobs for graduates are plentiful and less in fields with few job
4. Rail transit.
(4.8 average response) The state
should attach low priority to financing rail transit.
Ayotte (10) (7.5) (7.5) (2.5)
Anonymous (7.5) (7.5) (10) (2.5)
Anonymous (7.5) (5) (2.5) (10)
White (7.5) (7.5) (0) (2.5)
education. This view of higher education as a jobs factory is
perverse. Of course a good part of the purpose is to prepare students
for careers. A larger part is to open their minds to a wider
worldview, to broaden their horizons and to explore further what they
want in life -- including but not limited to job searching. A student
aiming for a business career may change her mind and decide to become
Kriesel (7.5) (0) (0) (0)
Anonymous (10) (10) (5) (10)
Rosemary Schultz (7.5) (7.5) (2.5) (7.5)
Bergerson (7.5) (0) (0) (0)
“Outcomes” is one thing, but moving toward sustainable care out of the
system is highly important.
2. Referendums. We
probably should be moving to a fair flat income tax that is
distributed appropriately among the units of government and
eliminating the credits, etc., that let many get out of the tax paying
arena. If everyone pays proportionately what happens to state, county
and local income? Does anyone know?
education. Education is important and it should. But, we need to
rethink how we educate. What is the shining star for today may be gone
tomorrow. What about being well rounded and flexible?
4. Rail transit.
We need a more efficient way to travel in the metro area. And our
thoughts should be away from motor vehicles and more connectivity with
rail and bus transit (if necessary).
A. Lundeen (10) (2.5) (10) (10)
As noted, this is unfair to cities without large retail base.
Anderson (7.5) (2.5) (0) (0)
Problem. Who makes the prescribed outcomes?
Those with heavy retail developments will benefit better than those
education. What are today's fields with few job opportunities going
to be when a person graduates and vice-versa?
4. Rail transit.
If financing rail transit can take the pressure off of major highways
won't that be a better solution than building more lanes or additional
Eichmann (2.5) (0) (10) (5)
1. Outcomes. It is
difficult to say what works. There are always studies showing what
supposedly works better only later to find that duplicating what
worked in the study seems impossible other places. If we were to apply
this kind of thinking to our government officials how much would they
be paid? Would they take the blame for what has gone wrong and the
current position we are in? Obviously not because government officials
continue to receive their pay and benefits like no other employees.
Though every community could reap some benefit as noted in your
comments this does little to balance things among taxpayers. LGA has
requirements attached to it. It is to be used to reduce property taxes
so I don't believe the comments regarding building ice skating rinks
are accurate. In communities like mine (Saint Peter) we have an
abundance of nonprofit organizations. This makes LGA a much bigger
education. This makes more sense but there are additional concerns. We
are allowing far too many jobs to leave this country. The companies
(their owners) reap large benefit from cheap labor abroad and reduced
taxes on their business here. It seems if all the good jobs go
somewhere else eventually we will have far too few in this country
earning a decent living. If this continues the time will come there
will be no one in this country to buy the products they produce.
4. Rail transit.
Having improved transit of some sort could assist in the reduction of
our dependence on not only foreign oil but oil altogether. This should
be a priority. Our economy is centered around oil. The rise in its
cost raises the cost of everything.
Schmitz (7.5) (2.5) (2.5) (2.5)
Measuring outcomes is the issue, as usual. What is the time frame,
how long is sufficient to keep a person dry after treatment? Who
This should be a surtax on the state tax during emergencies and then
sunset after that. As she points out a retail center is like the home
of a power plant, great local tax base but what would the other
counties (do) that provide the shoppers but get no benefit.
education. And after four years or whatever, has the market changed?
4. Rail transit.
Long vs. short term spending. Roads also cost money. We need to
provide bus or other alternatives in short term with rail long term.
Also rail is a collected service; bus is collector.
Dennis L. Johnson (7.5) (2.5) (5) (10)
Joseph Lampe (10) (10) (10) (10)
4. Rail transit.
There is no meaningful market for long distance or high-speed
passenger rail; so public subsidy is not warranted. LRT carries only
a trivial percentage of daily urban trips, at an enormous life-cycle
cost per passenger mile; so public subsidy also is not warranted for
it. It does not provide meaningful reductions in road congestion, and
serves perhaps 2-5% of urban residents.
Shapira (0) (10) (0) (10)
1. Outcomes. I
know from personal experience that some human service providers have
much tougher tasks to perform and more difficult problems to solve
than others so this would be totally unfair.
2. Referendums. It
should read "...should be allowed only if approved by voters in
referendums." The Pohlads extorted us out of hundreds of millions of
dollars for the new Twins stadium five years ago and Vikings
super-rich owner Zygi Wilf now is aiming to raise the ante to a
billion dollars. www.startribune.com April 5 p1A: “Two Republicans
advocate for a stadium bill that would do an end run on the state law
mandating a referendum on proposed local taxes.” Tim Pawlenty and the
Legislature five years ago gave that gift to the Pohlads and Gov.
Dayton is ready to do likewise. I believe Civic Caucus needs to
review for us the state constitution so we all can become familiar
with the sections dealing with impeachment of a governor and recall of
state legislators. We are being sold down the river again for the
benefit of a wealthy sports mogul with no public benefit whatsoever.
At least the raid on the public treasury this time is bi-partisan.
education. Makes no sense at all to me.
4. Rail transit.
Light rail and commuter rail were over-priced scams from the
beginning. The answer is cheaper, more flexible Mega-buses. Look into
who profited from light rail and commuter rail and check their
campaign contributions to key politicians involved and report to the
public since the media won't.
(Bill) Hamm (7.5) (5) (7.5) (10)
1. Outcomes. For
full support I need to see the so-called “outcomes”.
While I like the local referendum idea, I hate sales tax as one of the
most regressive we have. This is why it is so easy for the rich and
middle class in control to collectively agree to attack we of the 62%.
education. My problem is with the legislature deciding which areas get
funding. A very ignorant idea.
4. Rail transit.
If it were in any way profitable the private sector would have already
done it. In its present form the whole light rail concept is a lie and
a con on the people of Minnesota.
Barnum (2.5) (5) (2.5) (10)
1. Outcomes. What
are the unintended consequences of this? Will providers only want to
treat those that have a high likelihood of improvement or recovery?
Who will want the chronically ill patient? Or those that go home
unwilling or unable to continue with the prescribed treatments or
medicines only to return shortly with the same ailment? Who is to say
what is "how well they achieve prescribed outcomes"? Some government
The danger is that the "haves" can easily out organize, out market,
and out GOTV the “have-nots”. Those who believe a few hundred dollars
a year in increased taxes are no big deal should not have the right to
force that on those who do not have that additional fluff in their
wallets. On the other hand, the more locally controlled a tax is,
generally the better.
education. To answer this question you must assume it is OK for the
state to provide any financial support for higher education. But if
it must, this is a shortsighted tactic. Let me give a real life
example of how this can hurt our economy long term. I work in the
printing industry. It's a mature industry by all accounts, and has
been cut into by electronic communications in a noticeable way in the
past decade. But printing will NOT go away. Look about you to see how
many posters, signs, labels, cartons, menus, books (yes books!),
forms, periodicals, and the biggest piece - advertising - are around
you this very minute. Yet high schools have cut and cut their
industrial tech programs. High school technical education classes feed
the post secondary schools, like MNSCU's Mesabi Range, Dakota County
Tech, Hennepin Tech, and the great private schools like Dunwoody.
Without these feeder programs, and with the statistics of fewer job
opportunities than something more glamorous tracks like Cicso network
training, college after college has abandoned its print program. Kids
think a "printer" is only that thing that sits on their desk. They
have no indication that printing is the 4th largest private employer
in the manufacturing sector of this state. And of those employees,
like most workers across the country, a huge percentage is within
spitting range of retirement. While the industry is contracting right
now, in a few years it will need skilled, dedicated workers to
backfill all the retirements. And there will be no one there to fill
them. How long before employers of this strong element of our economy
(36,000 well paid employees) will move outside the state to find a
qualified workforce elsewhere? And that is just one segment of our
economy whose name doesn't end with "technology". I am sure there are
many more examples of this.
4. Rail transit.
When your family income resources are strained you do not purchase a
Cadillac to sit pretty in the driveway, and only drive on Sundays. Why
does is state spending on a different plane than the rest of us?
Frenzel (10) (5) (0) (10)
Bales (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (0)
Carolyn Ring (8) (4) (7) (5)
Miller (2) (5) (3) (0)
William Frenzel (5) (1) (2) (10)
Lockhart (5) (0) (0) (0)
1. Outcomes. It
depends it on how outcomes are measured
Leanne Kunze (8) (3) (6) (6)
Triplett (8) (9) (5) (3)
Christine Brazelton (5) (8) (9) (2)
1. Outcomes. While
I believe that outcomes must be an important part of the equation,
some providers’ services are necessary and certain outcomes are more
difficult to qualify. Some services by their nature must be based on
"fee for service", not on "outcome" per se. For example, services and
shelters for victims of domestic violence: What kind of "outcome" can
you attach? There must be access whether or not there are victims
this week. So we provide "fee for service" and those programs that are
in highly populated areas have a financial base from which to operate,
and those in rural, isolated areas are unable to support services,
putting the population at greater risk. Another example would be care
for an autistic child. The outcome is that the child was cared for
and perhaps the family got respite. Yet it is still "fee for
service". The child may not show much improvement, but quality of life
in a compassionate society should still be an important factor.
3. Higher education. When the state is footing the bill, return on
4. Rail transit. Once built, rail can move people using a variety of
sources of fuel. In order to change the source of energy on bus
transit, one has to reinvest in new buses. A bus needs to be replaced
more often than a railcar and requires a higher drivers-to-rider
ratio. Regardless of which form of mass transit, the cost/benefit
ratio of all forms of
transportation must include a complete analysis, including the cost of
infrastructure including construction and maintenance, ongoing
personnel costs, access, pollution, and utility. Rail may be more
efficient in the long run in high-traffic corridors, while bus transit
allows for more flexibility.
Arvonne Fraser (4) (6) (3) (2)
How can we know
prescribed outcomes are correct or valid? How do we know when and
where jobs will be plentiful? Careers are long and people move or
jobs are moved--history majors become CEOS (I actually know of a
history-major lawyer who is a CEO of health care institutions.) And
rail transit has to be part of our future.
Priscilla Klabunde (na) (na) (na) (na)
… are urgently needed in human services, where the state needs to
begin paying for results, or outcomes, and to stop just reimbursing
vendors for delivering services. Let us stop paying again and
again for human services that prove to be ineffective. Let us stop
having to burden taxpayers for the 45% of the staff and infrastructure
costs to pay for these ineffective services.
Jackie Underferth (9) (10) (8) (0)
Sheila Kiscaden (6) (10) (2) (1)
prosperity, investment in human capital and infrastructure is vital.
Human services are many different kinds of services that assist,
protect, or support a wide variety of groups, most of which have high
needs, great vulnerability, and limited potential for rapid
improvement. In addition, conditions vary from community to
community. Outcome measures would need to be tailored to the realities
of different communities, disabilities, and risk factors.
Connie Morrison (8) (5) (5) (8)
I noticed Rep.
Holberg didn't suggest Technical and Community College courses. I'd
hate to see them ignored.
Bishop (8) (8) (8) (0)
Schluter (7) (4) (4) (5)
There should more
discussion on looking at LGA. It has not been revised in years. Some
communities are getting too much and others not enough. The
representative did not offer much in good ideas.
Lutz (9) (9) (5) (1)
Detert (1) (1) (9) (0)
As a physician my
opinion on paying based on outcomes is for many reasons best described
as what we do to keep busy until the system goes bankrupt. To control
health care costs I believe you have to redefine what role government
is to play in health care and to decide how much we can afford to
spend on health care. The discussion is then what do we and don't we
provide. Pay-for-performance has a role but only minor. The ultimate
thing that people have chosen to ignore is that when we in health care
do a better job the costs go up and not down because people live
longer (and) develop more medical problems which over time become more
difficult to treat. The proof of this is the problem with Social
Security, (i.e.,) the financing of Social Security. The costs
continue to go up because people live longer because of better medical
care and improved ways of treating disease and so the projections of
what we need to pay for Social Security always come up short because
of the continued lifespan of American citizens.
Most of what Rep Holberg advocates is conservative philosophy, which
is not connected to reality.
Edberg (7) (3) (3) (2)
Robert P Dettmer (8) (10) (8) (10)
Stone (7) (7) (7) (10)
1. Outcomes. The
payment of human service providers based upon how well they achieve
prescribed outcomes is conceptually laudable. I remain unconvinced
that objective metrics, suitable for private (Rothschild) and public
reimbursement, can be achieved.
2. Referendums. The ability to tax is the ability to accrue debt. The
ability to accrue debt is the ability to use public money for
political gain, cut easy deals with public employee unions while both
diffusing and delaying accountability.
A city whose numbers show (it to be) in de facto bankruptcy,
has the people of Minnesota over a barrel; a financial default by any
city tells bond-holders that the state is sleeping at the wheel. The
bonding rates for all Minnesota governmental entities are at risk. So
far, bailouts of municipal over-spenders have largely taken the form
of low-profile pension fund bailouts, e.g. Minneapolis Public
Employees’ Pension Fund.
If the ability to raise and spend money is granted to Home Rule and
Legislative Charter cities, then attendant, corresponding and
appropriate control must be put in place to assure that no public
state money is ever expected to bailout any entity with spendthrift
3. Higher education. State financial support for higher education in
fields where jobs for graduates are plentiful makes sense if those
jobs will stay in Minnesota; presently an unlikely scenario.
Financial aid interest rates and repayment schemes need to be tied to
post-graduation work in Minnesota to provide incentives for graduates
to stay. We are doing business as usual while the national labor pool
has become far more mobile. An estimated eight million Americans
change states every year.
4. Rail transit. The state should attach low priority to financing
rail transit because passenger rail is more based upon social planning
ideology than constitutional governance and economic sense.
· Rail projects are consistently underestimated and consequently prone
to large cost overruns.
· Ridership is always over-estimated.
· The level of subsidy is always under-stated.
· The cost to rebuild rail bed, track and rolling stock is never
· Rail systems need to connect employees with employment instead of
recreational shoppers with retail outlets.
· Private investment will eagerly build any rail systems that are
· Rail supports adopt a particular mind-set and become untethered from
both reason and economics.
Quie (10) (0) (8) (10)
Clarence Shallbetter (8) (4) (8) (10)
Cox (10) (5) (7) (8)
support should be considered as part of comprehensive development
tools, not as a stand-alone transportation plan.
Harrigan (8) (5) (0) (0)
Schwarzkopf (9) (5) (4) (4)
Zimmerman (9) (5) (5) (7)
The state should
spend somewhat less time deciding what to do and spend more time
developing methods for accomplishing desired objectives more
efficiently and at far lower costs. Education, health care, and social
services are all very inefficient and unnecessarily costly. In higher
education, for instance, the average faculty load ranges from about
160 to 400 hours out of a 2000-hour work year. The result has been
that tuition has been rising at three times the rate of inflation for
many years. Within the framework of mass inefficiency, there is little
sense in anyone talking about "financial support."
Iverson (na) (na) (na) (na)
We are praying for
Mary Liz. She is anti-women.
Halstead (8) (5) (na) (10)
We have been
wasting vast financial resources on rail transit with minimal transit
benefit. The North Star Commuter and the Central Corridor
will never achieve a reasonable level of transit benefits and will
require very large subsidies forever. The high-speed rail proposals
will never make any financial (sense). They certainly are not cutting
edge technology and do not offer any benefit compared with other modes
of transit. The State of Minnesota needs a complete review of rail
transit including statutes, financing, planning, (and) management.
Bright Dornblaser (8) (6) (0) (0)
and Sally Evert (8) (5) (7) (5)
Brauer (0) (5) (0) (0)
In short number
one is pabulum--in an area where signs of progress may not occur for
several years, how do you pay for "outcomes?" Second, who measures and
decides the outcomes? Experts in the field or legislators? I also love
the willingness of Republicans to specify "accountability" for the
public sector but none for the private. For example, where is the
accountability in their so-called job creation efforts? As a systems
thinker I can predict number two will have the unintended consequence
of making richer cities richer (if you have the Galleria this is a
gold mine, but what if you are a rural community with a K mart out by
the interstate?). Number three is patently ridiculous--and dangerous.
In an economy where experts say the average person will make at least
four major job changes, funding education in "fields where jobs are
plentiful" would require a crystal ball I am afraid none of us
possess. By this measure colleges would still be training people in
COBOL. It also assumes higher education's primary mission is job
training. Why not just send everyone to Brown Institute if that is
your goal? If you do not fund mass transit, then how do you propose to
deal with crowded freeways, polluted air, and wasted resources? We
live in the 21st century. We cannot go back to the 19th.
Jennings (8) (3) (6) (2)
Swain (8) (5) (0) (1)