majority leader, opposes revenue increases, even those that would be
temporary, to balance the state's budget. He believes a specific
redesign agenda, including local government issues, should be readied
for the interim between the 2011 and 2012 sessions. He also contends
that the state should seek federal waivers to allow more flexibility
in redesigning Medicaid.
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 Sen. Michel. 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.
(4.9 average response) Temporary
revenue increases ought not be considered in a budget settlement,
because such increases inevitably become permanent.
2. Interim agenda.
(8.1 average response) The Governor
and legislative leadership should prepare a specific redesign agenda
for the interim between the 2011 and 2012 sessions.
3. Local government.
(8.7 average response) Interim
redesign work must encompass issues related to schools, counties,
cities, and townships, because that is where the bulk of the state's
money is spent.
(7.1 average response) The state
should seek federal waivers to allow more flexibility in redesigning
Ayotte (10) (10) (10) (7.5)
Angevine (2.5) (7.5) (10) (5)
increases. The primary goal should be to define the services that
should be provided by the state and then put in place the revenues to
support that plan. To say that revenue increases should not be
considered simply because they might become permanent seems to be
saying that the legislature can't control itself over the long term.
government. Definitely agree that the major effort needs to be spent
on the areas that have the highest probability of payback and that
would seem to coincide with the high expenditure programs.
Olson (10) (10) (7.5) (10)
Anonymous (7.5) (10) (10) (10)
Halstead (10) (10) (2.5) (2.5)
increases. A small, permanent income tax revenue increases on the
wealthy and broadening the sales tax should be enacted.
A. Lundeen (10) (10) (10) (10)
increases. In addition, there is a spending problem.
government. My personal pet peeves are the abuses that have grown out
of the Department of Labor and Industries oversight of construction.
The most racist, prejudiced group of people in the private sector are
the unions and the government bureaucracy that backs them up. Local
control of this function is corrupt. Mechanical, electrical,
plumbing, fire, and all other inspections services should be
administered by the Dept. of Commerce (and the) DLI abolished for all
Anderson (0) (7.5) (7.5) (0)
increases. Maybe the temporary revenue increases turn out to be more
beneficial and streamline processes.
2. Interim agenda.
If they could agree on a specific redesign agenda. At the present rate
I doubt they could.
government. All units of government have to be considered in any
4. Medicaid. Leave
Medicaid to the federal government. It should be uniform nationally
and not subject to individual states’ messing around.
Opperman (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5)
Curiskis (10) (10) (10) (5)
increases. We need permanent fixes. And there are plenty of things to
fix to save expenditures that will give a permanent net revenue gain.
2. Interim agenda.
Yes, if the Governor and the Legislature agreed to reform the local
government tax based on household's ability to pay, the DEFICIT could
be reduced by a billion dollars because there would be no need for
property tax rebates to homestead properties ever again.
government. The threshold of local government taxes is considered at
6% of our household income, judging from past bills introduced by the
Legislature. The DOR data tells us that the average actual tax burden
for all homestead households, in MN, is less than one half of 6%.
Therefore, it is logical to reform our local government tax based on
ability to pay and increase the threshold burden to 6%. No longer
would there be the 20% and up tax burdens, but we would double the
revenue stream to our local governments.
4. Medicaid. It is
evident from the DOR data that we have a great deal of personal income
wealth in MN. It is also indicative that this wealth would not be
overburdened if we took care of Medicaid ourselves.
Dennis L. Johnson (10) (7.5) (10) (10)
increases. Needs always expand to fit the money available to meet
them, just as in any family.
2. Interim agenda.
Only with the proviso that only changes that generate reductions in
cost will be considered, any that raise costs will be rejected.
government. Fix local government units revenue on a per capita basis
adjusted for unusual conditions; then let the local units do the
redesigning if they wish. Some worthwhile innovations may then result.
Robert Freeman (7.5) (10) (7.5) (7.5)
government. …and health care.
4. Medicaid. …with
the aim of delivering services to patients more efficiently, not just
to save money for the state .
Lockhart (0) (10) (10) (10)
G. Dillon (10) (10) (10) (10)
Tremendous savings in Medicaid spending is possible without loosing
good quality care or coverage. Minnesota is lucky to have thought
leaders in efficient health care delivery such as Michael Howe (the
former CEO of Minute Clinic) and John Fraser, (the founder of ApeniMED,
a national leader in health care connectivity solutions). More could
be saved in this one area than all the others combined.
Cairns (0) (5) (10) (0)
increases. There is no budget solution that can emerge without
additional revenues... sunsetting at some later date could be
2. Interim agenda.
Interest in redesign will be pretty low among government employees if
the Republican effort to eviscerated rights/benefits ends up in law
--- doubtful given the Governor's loyalties and attitudes. I have yet
to see any specific "redesign" proposal from the Republicans and my
skepticism is increasing as the mysteries of their asserted "savings"
emerge and are analyzed. I am disappointed that Senators Michel, Hann,
etc., were not challenged to offer specifics that are more
sophisticated than simply providing less money. This is particularly
true on the illogic of asserting that lower taxes on high-income
individuals will produce economic growth and jobs.
government. The discussions have to have great substance and include
wise people who grasp the fact that less money alone will get us
nowhere. Plus some sign from the Republicans that they want real
solutions, not just political rhetoric --- e.g., acknowledging that
they don't have all of the best ideas.
4. Medicaid. We
should also figure out a way to tax Indian, Chinese and Brazilian
citizens to fund Minnesota government ... worse than wishful thinking
since the Republicans apparently believe that there is some reality to
waivers coming to be.
DeMars (0) (5) (10) (5)
increases. Senator Michel should go serve on a city council somewhere
to find out how tough it is. He also forgets that much of the State
revenue comes from efforts and programs that cities and counties have
worked hard on to increase revenue.
government. It's also where a large part of the State revenues come
from, (through) efforts by the local units of government with little
or no help from the State.
Sievert (7.5) (2.5) (7.5) (10)
2. Interim agenda.
They should have plenty of time to get their work done during the
Michael Martens (7.5) (5) (10) (10)
2. Interim agenda.
I would have to see the specific proposal before expressing an
opinion. There needs to be a balance between what can be considered
and not being too specific about how redesign should be done. " The
devil will be in the details"
government. The state cannot force redesign down the local
governments’ throats. It will need to use a carrot-and-stick
approach, i.e., giving more funding to local units that change and
reduced funding at some point in the future for local units that don't
change. The major problem with redesigning schools is the teacher's
union. Until the ability of the teachers union to obstruct change is
reduced, no meaningful change will happen.
Hennessey (7.5) (7.5) (10) (10)
(Bill) Hamm (10) (5) (7.5) (7.5)
increases. (Consider) our sales tax, which was sold to us in the
Northland as temporary and at 3%; look what we have now.
2. Interim agenda.
Need to see the agenda. It could easily end up being just another
government. This statement only describes where and not what is eating
up our budget, (i.e.,) healthcare costs.
4. Medicaid. Again
the proof is in the pudding; while the concept is good, serious
political issues could undermine the credibility of any such effort.
Broden (7.5) (10) (10) (7.5)
increases. Temporary revenue increases are likely as stated to evolve
to permanent in some form. Increasing revenue is the easy solution to
a tough problem and it is time to work the real issues of government
cost and related redesign. Temporary revenue changes may be useful
after all other factors have been addressed including a complete tax
structure overhaul and redesign.
2. Interim agenda.
This should be a top priority of both the legislature and the
executive branch. However the legislature must be the driver since
their legislation must drive the change. The redesign agendas would
benefit if coordinated and common but it is more important to have a
focus or multiple focuses for the interim than to squabble over what
is and what is not in the redesign agenda. Let each move toward the
goal and then coordinate during the time or as the new session begins.
government. In the entire debate of the budget shortfall there is
often too much focus on the role of the state in the process without
listening to the people and leaders in the other levels and
jurisdictions of government. A one-sided discussion leads to one-side
results and conflict. Solutions will come when all levels of
government begin working together to (a) common goal. Agreeing to this
format should be the first step.
4. Medicaid. I
would like to say (that I) strongly agree, but again the federal
government and the states need to be on a coordinated approach and
plan. To have to chase paperwork and delays to get a waiver approved
is not the answer--we need a plan for state and federal partnership
that is clear in how the role and cost of each unit of government and
the decision of each are made. Without this type of agreement there
are simply too many special interest ties and decisions that drive the
Sluss (0) (0) (0) (0)
Klein (0) (10) (10) (10)
Fraser (0) (5) (5) (5)
Senator's background, I thought he might not (be) so tightly tied to
the “no tax” theme. He seems to ignore that many states dealt with
revenue issues in the prior sessions - something precluded because we
still had Pawlenty. Too little information to judge the merits of 2, 3
William Frenzel (6) (9) (8) (10)
Carolyn Ring (4) (8) (10) (10)
With a DFL
governor and a legislature that is not veto proof, some compromises
are going to have to be made. A temporary increase in some taxes with
a beginning and ending date may be necessary.
Brazelton (0) (10) (10) (na)
increases. As our population grows and our infrastructure ages, it
should be expected that our budget for serving that population and
rebuilding that infrastructure will also
2. Interim agenda.
We absolutely need to work on redesigning delivery of services, as it
is natural for processes to become obsolete. There is always room for
improvement and ways to utilize innovations in technology and
Seeking waivers and getting them are two different things, and
throwing disabled human beings to the wolves in order to save money is
not the answer. Seek waivers if you find a better way of meeting the
needs. Ignoring the needs won't make them go away. Thank you for
your work on these important issues.
Harrigan (0) (10) (10) (8)
Fruin (0) (7) (9) (9)
Bright Dornblaser (2) (10) (10) (6)
4. Medicaid. Yes,
if the Governor can veto flexibility reforms that focus only on
cutting benefits vs. redesign to provide benefits in new ways that
emphasize increasing assets vs. control and reducing the cost of
administration and beneficiary participation.
Lutz (0) (10) (9) (8)
increases. Why must revenue reductions, such as those enacted about a
decade ago, be viewed as permanent? If higher rates of taxation on
those with higher incomes were then viewed as not needed, why should
not those rates be restored when there is a clear need?
Jennings (2) (10) (10) (6)
I am glad to hear
that redesign efforts will continue during the interim. This provides
a calmer atmosphere and an opportunity to prepare legislative
Edberg (1) (8) (8) (5)
The example of the
Quie era surtax is entirely appropriate. We should have done the same
thing (i.e. temporary rebates) when the state was flush with money
during the Ventura administration. The focus on redesign of processes
at the local level is appropriate. In fact, so appropriate that the
redesign should keep on the table the idea of using more stable
statewide tax bases (sales, income taxes) to buy down costs of
delivering services in low-tax-base localities. We continue to miss
the discussion about whether or not we are one state, and how that
manifests itself in our taxing decisions.
and Ruth Hauge (5) (7) (7) (5)
Shirley Heaton (na) (na) (na) (na)
Although I am not
familiar with the interim between sessions practice, my past
experience in the work world showed, time and again that much more was
accomplished when the private sector (business etc.) was deeply
involved. In Washington, the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Ave. and
the transformation of Union Train Station to a Visitor's Center, come
to mind. A consortium of public and private forces can work wonders.
Milton (na) (na) (na) (na)
I'm not interested
in anyone who's totally opposed to revenue increases. If this guy had
been around in 1971, there wouldn't have been a Minnesota Miracle.
Face it: these new folks are marching to crazy drummers, with plugs
in their ears.
Zimmerman (6) (6) (9) (10)
I am a little
concerned that Minnesota leaders are spending too much time
postulating what processes will be used to improve Minnesota's
prospects for the future. Sometimes, I wish that more could be done
right away to improve the State's financial status in a shorter time
frame. Some of the actions that seem overdue are the following:
- Increase the retirement age for public employees to at least 68
years -- now.
- Consolidate some of Minnesota's 79 publicly supported institutions
of higher learning and have them specialize more -- as is the case in
- Revise Medicaid reimbursements so that radiologists,
anesthesiologists, orthopedic surgeons and some other specialists are
not able to earn $500,000 per year.
- Require people in education, both K-12 and post secondary, to work a
full year like everyone else does. K-12 teachers work a 35-week year.
The average teaching load at most colleges is around 330 contact hours
per year, and sometimes less. Regrettably, some students are
graduating with four-year degrees when the vast majority of their
classes have been taught only by graduate students. The predominant
work ethic in education needs upward revision.
- Get rid of some of the bloated economic development staffs we have
at cities, counties, regions, and at the state level and replace them
with practical people with established contacts in industry. Then
focus efforts on what will differentiate Minnesota industrially. Many
such programs could be effective.
- Tax somebody. Many people pay no taxes at all. Others employ exotic
schemes to escape paying taxes. Perhaps we should institute some
creative taxes on things that interfere with education or health such
as a $.30 tax on each 12 ounce can or bottle of beverages, a $10 tax
on each video game, A $1.00 tax on French fries, and a $50 tax on each
television set sold.
- Reduce health costs by pricing health insurance premiums by the
pound for each of the insured.
- If it is reasonable to charge a traveler $25 for a 40 pound bag, why
not levy a charge of $25 each passenger 40 pounds overweight? Then
give the money to the Metropolitan Airport Commission to cover their
George Pillsbury (5) (10) (10) (1)
Hutcheson (2) (8) (9) (8)
I'm pleased to
hear the optimism about a happy ending to the regular session; I hope
Sen. Michel is right about that.
Tjeltveit (0) (5) (7) (1)
Schluter (1) (6) (8) (6)
Stone (10) (10) (10) (10)
increases. Temporary revenue increases ought not be considered in a
budget settlement. This is not only because such increases almost
inevitably become permanent, but also because government with a
spending problem is not mitigated with additional or enhanced
Spitznagle (10) (10) (10) (10)
Press (10) (10) (10) (10)
Schwarzkopf (7) (8) (9) (9)
Clarence Shallbetter (5) (9) (9) (8)
Swain (0) (7) (7) (5)