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 Response Page - Marx  Interview -      
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These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Bill Marx Interview of


The immediate priority for legislators in the 2013 session will be balancing the FY 2014-15 biennium budget, currently forecast to run a $1.1 billion deficit, Bill Marx says.But the newly forecast $300 million surplus in FY 2016-17 could put a reverse on tax and spending reform efforts, since that biennium's budget appears in good shape. He emphasizes that it is very difficult to remove the state from what happens in the economy and says that changes in the economy over the past 60 years, especially in recent years, have resulted in lost sales tax revenues. State and local revenue as a percentage of personal income in Minnesota (the price of government measure), he points out, has decreased from about 17 percent 20 years ago to about 15 percent this biennium. He encourages a more deliberative legislative process for reaching budget decisions. All of our funding formulas and structures, he concludes, encourage or allow one kind of behavior or another. We ought to think about that when we're putting them into law, he says, because they can be very difficult to change when you're trying to change behavior.

For the complete interview summary see:

Response Summary: 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 Marx. 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.

1. Revenue will track personal income. (6.6 average response) Revenue for the Minnesota state budget is likely to grow at the same pace as personal income, a pattern that has prevailed for the last 20 years.

2. Tax more services. (7.2 average response) The state sales tax should be applied to more services, reflecting a 60-year shift in consumer spending from goods to services.

3. Include impact of inflation. (7.6 average response) To force a more realistic assessment of the state’s fiscal condition, budget projections should reflect the effect of inflation on both revenue and spending.

4. HHS share could swell. (8.5 average response) Unless fundamentally restructured, health and human services will continue to capture ever-larger shares of state revenue.

5. Redesign fervor could wane. (4.9 average response) However, the impetus for redesign of government services to lower costs and improve value could be lessened if, as projected, the state's budget shows a surplus in another few years.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Revenue will track personal income.







2. Tax more services.







3. Include impact of inflation.







4. HHS share could swell.







5. Redesign fervor could wane.







Individual Responses:

Anonymous (7.5) (0) (7.5) (7.5) (2.5)

Chris Brazelton (10) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (7.5)

Bert LeMunyon (5) (5) (10) (10) (2.5)

5. Redesign fervor could wane. Government must learn to operate efficiently and effectively regardless of the resources available.

Dave Broden (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (0)

1. Revenue will track personal income. Income revenue may grow, as suggested, but total revenue may not have similar growth since the economy and types of transactions are changing.

2. Tax more services. A tax policy that adapts to the changes in the economy, demographics, etc. must be established.

3. Include impact of inflation. Realism is key and without all factors uniform the process is not real.

4. HHS share could swell. This is discussed over and over again with the same answer: change must occur. The real question is how does the needed change become accepted by the public and the legislative leaders?

5. Redesign fervor could wane. Focus must stay on the need for redesign regardless of if the economy strengthens.

Mic (0) (7.5) (5) (10) (7.5)

3. Include impact of inflation. One problem with the current budgeting process [is] that politicians sometimes start by assuming the forecasted spending is the base amount and that it needs to increased from that amount. So if one is fiscally conservative you want the starting number as small as possible to counter the above process.

4. HHS share could swell. The growth in health & human service cannot continue [to] grow at the current rate.

Richard Lees (7.5) (7.5) (10) (10) (7.5)

4. HHS share could swell. Our demographics would certainly point that way. Our wages paid to workers are not enough to keep up with costs. When CEO's average 1000 times what the average worker gets (our town is a prime example, but this trend is nationwide) people must depend on human services to care for their family.

R.C. Angevine (5) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (7.5)

Ray Ayotte (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (0)

Ralph Brauer (7.5) (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5)

Don Anderson (5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5)

Mark Daleiden (7.5) (10) (5) (7.5) (0)

4. HHS share could swell. In most cases the more people are unemployed the more they will need those services. If this part could be streamlined there could be substantial savings in employees. If you are questioning whether this is heavily paper-laden, I suggest you visit a County health and human services center and fill out the paperwork that is required. One comment by a person was that the county spends it and the state gives it away. I think he has forgotten the main reason the county is spending it is because the State has mandated it be done.

5. Redesign fervor could wane. If that is the case then those people do not belong in public service. Whether its private or public business, that business must look at ways to improve and streamline operations. Surpluses never last, as the past has shown us.

Scott Halstead (2.5) (10) (10) (10) (0)

1. Revenue will track personal income. We may need to analyze the U.S. Income tax code if their rates and deductibles are inadequate or unfair.

2. Tax more services. We need to broaden the sales tax to more services, reduce the sales tax rate, allow local governments to have a minimal sales tax and tax Internet purchases.

3. Include impact of inflation. Based upon our national political problems, I wouldn't have a very optimistic projection of revenue from grants, possible increases in unemployment and primarily retaining the previous administration tax cuts.

5. Redesign fervor could wane. The Government always should be seeking the best methods of meeting needs and being as effective as possible, while keeping waste and inefficiency negligible.

Anonymous (5) (5) (7.5) (2.5) (5)

Anonymous (10) (0) (0) (10) (10)

Chuck Slocum (2.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10) (7.5)

5. Redesign fervor could wane. Minnesota needs an "everything is on the table" approach to a long term, bipartisan solution to our roller coaster state budgeting. We must examine services, their delivery, and the best and most competitive taxing system reflective of our current economy.

Arvonne Fraser (9) (9) (10) (6) (4)

Improving value is in the eye of the beholder.

Robert J. Brown (8) (10) (5) (10) (10)

3. Include impact of inflation. The effect of inflation and loss of purchasing power of individuals should be considered when determining the state's spending.

5. Redesign fervor could wane. Unfortunately, government will not reform or redesign unless there is a crisis.

William Kuisle (7) (5) (2) (10) (6)

If you put in inflation for spending than those groups expect that as a floor for spending. No one should expect autopilot inflationary increases.

Chuck Lutz (9) (9) (8) (9) (6)

Lyall Schwarzkopf (9) (5) (8) (9) (9)

Alan Miller (5) (10) (8) (8) (4)

Al Quie (10) (10) (10) (10) (0)

2. Tax more services. The most important is a sales tax on clothing and Internet sales.

Tom Spitznagle (3) (5) (8) (10) (0)

Paul and Ruth Hauge (8) (7) (7) (8) (5)


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.

   David Broden,  Janis Clay,  Bill Frenzel,  Paul Gilje,   Jan Hively,  Dan Loritz (Chair),  Marina Lyon,  Joe Mansky, 
Tim McDonald,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and Bob White

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
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Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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