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 Response Page - Merriam  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Gene Merriam Interview of

The Questions:

On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how you rate the following options:


1. (9.3 average response) Payment Delays. The Governor and Legislature should halt the practice of delaying state aid payments to the following biennium as a way to balance the state's budget.

2. (6.3 average response) Term Limits. The Minnesota constitution should be amended to require term limits for state legislators.

3. (6.3 average response) Corporate Income Tax. Eliminating the state corporate income tax would be a poor strategy for stimulating Minnesota's economy.

Ray Ayotte  (10)  (10)  (5)

Dave Broden  (7.5)  (0)  (7.5)

1. Payment delays. Although this is definitely a method that does balance the budget on paper it should be used only after all other approaches including rethinking the tax structure and redesign options.

2. Term limits. The limits are only an emotional expression of the concern for responsible legislators. The better approach is to get those elected to become more responsible and attentive to state business not special interests. A fixed term limit will not change the nature of how people operate.

3. Corporate income tax. Change in the corporate tax structure would be a key factor but total elimination may not. This needs positive attention to find the right level balancing responsibility of corporations with the rationale for doing business in Minnesota.

R.C. Angevine  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)

Bruce A. Lundeen  (7.5)  (5)  (2.5)

Peter Hennessey  (10)  (10)  (0)

1. Payment delays. The practice is excused by the stupidest of arguments. Imagine that the fiscal years don't match...! You'd think it would be easy to fix THAT problem.  But what would politics be without dishonesty and slights of hand?

2. Term limits. I don't know what the terms should be limited to. It should be very short for the real bad ones and longer for the good ones, whatever that means. The problem is that the bad ones are very good at demagoguing the idiots who vote them back in again and again. And there are very few statesmen running for office.  Public service was never meant to be a lifelong career. There should be limits per office and per lifetime. Or just take away all compensation, especially pensions -- in other words, make it true service -- and then see who shows up to "serve."

3. Corporate income tax. If you want growth you have to set the climate for it. Taxes are one component. Corporations do not pay taxes, they just pass on all costs to their customers -- because they HAVE to make money to stay in business. It is the end customer who pays all the taxes, all included in the sale price. So if you help businesses keep their costs low, they'll come to your State or town rather than go somewhere else.

Dennis L. Johnson  (10)  (10)  (0)

3. Corporate income tax. Corporate income taxes are not paid by corporations; they are paid by consumers in the cost of the product the corporation makes. They should be abolished as a "hidden tax" for taxpayers.

Ken Smart  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)

A.W. Rosen  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

Anonymous  (10)  (5)  (7.5)

Vici Oshiro  (10)  (2.5)  (7.5)

3. Corporate income tax. Look at tax expenditures in conjunction with any plan to modify tax rates.

Robert Freeman  (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)

1. Payment delays. Absolutely.  This has allowed legislators and the administration to dodge tough decisions.

2. Term limits. The length of tenure for some legislators, especially in the inner cities, is one of the legislature's greatest assets but also one of its greatest liabilities.  The fact that many of these seats are "for life" also prevents those districts electing people who reflect their changing demographics.  Merriam is right that no-one needs to serve for more than 20 years.

3. Corporate income tax. This fails to recognize that we are competing worldwide.  Reducing the tax would encourage more companies to relocate here.  It is also a regressive tax that is passed down to consumers.

W.D.(Bill) Hamm  (10)  (0)  (10)

1. Payment delays. I wholeheartedly agree; it's deceptive and dishonest.

2. Term limits. The problem with term limits is that by the time your new legislators have made their way through the learning curve it's time for them to leave. The reality under the term limit scenario is that more power shifts to non-elected bureaucrats whom we have even less control over.

3. Corporate income tax. Most especially if it meant broadening the regressive sales tax. The reality is that corporate taxes are paid by the consumers of that product or service, by shifting to the regressive sales tax you are pushing the burden down onto our lowest income individuals who will see the greatest percentage of their income disappear. This is the mechanism by which the richest 38% of our society, who run both political parties, agree to shift the tax burden to those of us on the short end of the stick.

Anonymous  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

Sondra Erickson  (10)  (10)  (0)

Chuck Slocum  (10)  (5)  (5)

Chuck Lutz   (10)  (7)  (10)

Wayne Jennings  (10)  (5)  (9)

Bright Dornblaser  (10)  (5)  (10)

2. Term limits. Need details on how often and how to preserve legislative memory.

Jerry Fruin  (9)  (7)  (5)

Phyllis Kahn  (9)  (0)  (10)

We have term limits. They are called elections. Every state with term limits is in worse shape than MN.

Carolyn Ring   (8)  (8)  (8)

2. I used to be opposed to term limits, but, at that time, the legislature was not a career job. We need more "citizen" legislators, and there are good qualified people who would serve for a limited time.

3. Corporate taxes should be lowered, but not eliminated.


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;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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