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 Response Page - Roger Moe  Interview -      

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

The Questions:

1. _7.2 average response_____On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether the failure of the Governor and majority and minority legislative leadership to collaborate with one another is a greater problem than finding a solution to the taxing and spending decisions facing Minnesota?

2. _9.2 average response_____The Governor and Legislature will face an enormous budget gap in the 2011 regular session. On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether they can't afford to wait until 2011 but should get a start on closing the gap by taking some steps in 2010?

3. _7.0 average response_____On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether state revenue policy should be redesigned to include a sales tax to clothing?

Eugene Piccolo (7) (10) (6)

Fred Senn (8) (10) (10)

Robert Freeman (10) (10) (8)

Question 1: Roger hits the nail on the head. We can't solve problems if the Governor, House and Senate aren't talking to each other.

Question 2: Agree entirely but the likelihood that the legislators will make controversial and painful changes (e.g. cutting programs or raising taxes) this close to election time if they don't have to seems unlikely.

Question 3: State tax policy needs to be completely overhauled to align with the economy of the 21st century. This could be budget neutral or increase overall revenues, depending on the mix of ideas proposed.

Dick Angevine (10) (10) (5)

Dave Pierson (2) (10) (2)

Marianne Curry (10) (10) (10)

Leaderships' failure to engage in civil debate and find common ground is absolutely a dereliction of duty. They should be run out of office for that failure. What in the world do they see as their duty? Re-election? Political posturing? It certainly is not to resolve the issues or serve the people they are elected to represent in this republic.

Glenn Dorfman (10) (10) (5)

The question is unfortunately worded. Revenue and spending policy both need re-design that is dynamic-comprehensive not linear. I inferred a need for more revenue rather than revenue policy re-design (no corporate tax, no tax on capital gains for broad-based consumer sales tax expansion to other items). This permits policy-makers to make the arguments to the voters of the need for more revenue, versus a revenue neutral (revenue isn’t the problem, the way we currently deliver services or set priorities needs greater emphasis. The demographic argument (an aging population means that seniors will be consuming more services than goods and so a broad-based sales tax expansion to services is necessary to capture that growing base in exchange for lowering the taxes on “investment-income” that consumers make by saving to take care of themselves and their families in the future) is the way I look at revenue or spending re-design.

Chuck Slocum (8) (10) (7.5)
Question 3: Must look at the spending side, too.

Paul Hauge (5) (10) (8)

Rick Bishop (10) (10) (5)

Gordy Jacobson (10) (10) (0)

Charles Lutz (2) (9) (10)

Bill Frenzel (5) (10) (8)

Question 1: Tthey are both problems which need solutions, not ratings.

Question 2: There may be economic reasons why some of the steps should not take effect until 2011, or 2012, but there is no reason why decisions on a fiscal sobriety plan should not be taken in next session.

Question 3: Our sales tax is not a very efficient revenue collector. It needs reform, but exactly how to do it is slightly above my pay grade.

Donald H. Anderson (10) (10) (7)

John Rollwagen (5) (10) (5)

Question 1: This is an odd dilemma. If the latter problem were solved in a lasting way, we wouldn’t care about the former. On the other hand, how do we solve #2 without fixing #1?

Question 2: Seems obvious, but unlikely given question #1. The earliest it could possibly happen is after the inauguration of a new Governor. The current Governor has moved on.

Quesiton 3: OK with me, but it begs the question of an overall reform of the tax code and budgeting process.

Terry Stone (1) (1) (0)
Question 1: For better or worse, the people send elected officials with well-known and opposing ideologies to St. Paul. The efficacy of government waxes and wanes, political observers complain and plot, but the system moves on as prescribed by our State Constitution.

Question 2: Senator Bakk is already calling for a special session to kick on an early pork fest. Bonding bill proposals are now about $1 billion. The vast portion of these bonding ideas is wants (right off the long-standing DFL wish-list), not needs. At some point, government will need to shrink to fit the sustainable money supply available to run it.
It would be helpful if the DFL, in preparation for the next session, started lowering expectations from their donor base, pledged to resist the urge to waste weeks of legislative time packing itinerant hearings with special interest testimony and expanded their communications skill-set beyond blaming the Governor for all budget woes.

Question 3: There is a reason clothing was not taxed in the original MN sales tax protocol. GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat Anderson just proposed a sales tax expansion to clothing; long on the DFL standing wish list of tax increases. She lacks restraint. Sales tax on the fundamentals of life disproportionately punishes those with low income. The simple solution that usually bobs up in such a discussion is the mother of all social welfare programs; a $5,000 exemption. Then we have the ultimate scheme for redistributing wealth; soak the rich to subsidize the poor.

The Moe interview was disappointing. He sidestepped the question about the nutty extremists who reign over caucuses on both sides of the aisle. More importantly, Moe never strayed off the DFL script. He even had to take a stab at blaming the governor. I flatly disagree that the best governors act to imprint a legacy on the state. The thought of Growth and Justice as a neutral arbiter of civic policy is laughable. “Fixing” GAMC seems to mean restoring GAMC a largely duplicate welfare program. This is hardly a state priority although the DFL seems to think so.

Moe makes a surprising mention of personal responsibility in the context of eating better, doing exercise and stopping smoking. It’s unfortunate that his instrument of implementation is unknown. His party seems to favor nanny state legislation to achieve such goals.

It should be noted that Moe (or someone) has the sales tax mentioned in #5 wrong. The correct number is 6.875%.

Babak Armajani (5) (10) (10)

Ray Schmitz (10) (10) (0)

Question 1: As long as we have the divisive margin controlling the parties this will be the situation, the issues are not even controlled within the state many of them are national party decisions. Move to the center, and this is not happening in the IR or the DFL with the announced candidates.

Question 2: Obviously they cannot wait, this should be the only focus of the preliminary process and frankly we would be better off if they forgot about the election other wise unfortunately the house and senate will have not only posture on taxes/spending but also look for other legislation that they can brag about.

Question 3: At this point, to mix metaphors, this is throwing a drowning man a fish, they will consume it and still not know how to swim. When I hear candidates talking efficiency and economy I will have some faith that a tax change would help, we do know that much of the problem is the changes that were made and perhaps should be unmade, but perhaps not. I asked one of our legislators for his top ten efficiency changes that they had made, he talked about allowing county boards to reduce their salaries and other nonsense. This is where we need to focus, that is on efficiencies.

Peter Hennessey
Question 1: No way. A government divided against itself can do no harm. Hurray for politicians refusing to collaborate. Hang on to your wallet and run for your life when they do.

Question 2: Yes, if you have a serious problem, be a man and face it before it gets worse. Do you have to call a special session because MN legislature meets only every other year? Do so.

Question 3: No, micromanagement is not the answer; how do you decide what items should be taxed? Quit looking for more things to tax. Cut the government bureaucracy, cut expenses, cut the taxes and the regulatory burden on the private sector. Governments, bureaucrats, regulators, accountants and lawyers do not produce anything, they do not contribute to the GNP. If they did, we'd get fabulously rich as a nation simply by suing the hell out of each other. Remember, every tax is eventually paid only by the end customer anyway, by being included in the price of good and services, so keep it simple. The lower the prices, the more people can and will spend, and everybody benefits, even the tax-hungry government. The stupidest thing the government can do is to increase mandates and taxes in a recession.

Jackie Underfurth (5) (3) (10)

Wayne Jennings (6) (10) (2)

Bert Press (5) (10) (10)

Dennis L. Johnson (2) (10) (0)

Kent Eklund (9) (5) (10)

Question 2: It will be way too political or partisan -- no matter how great an idea it is.

Vici Oshiro (8) (5) (_)
Question 1: But don't put all the blame on the elected officials. This is in response to those who nominate and elect them.

Question 2: Depends on what they do and upon feds. I expect feds to pick up some of that deficit, but don't know when. I'm hoping for early 2010

Question 3: I suggest that before you go very far with this proposal you consult with Ann Lenczewski. She suggests that instead of taking the political hits for just one change, e.g., extending sales tax to clothing, we consider broader changes to sales tax and reduce the rate. If I remember correctly she said that sales tax is only levied on about 30% of economy - and that share is shrinking.

Ann spoke yesterday (11/8/09) at event sponsored by The DFL Education Foundation. Excellent job. Podcast will be posted on; not sure how soon.

Al Quie (10) (10) (10)

David Broden (10) (10) (10)

Question 1: Anytime that individuals and/or organizations move from collaboration to parochial views and positions there is gridlock that does not change. Solutions are difficult but solutions do evolve when discussions can be used. Leadership in a positive sense by both sides fosters win-win for both sides. The problem is that the organizations and individuals are focused on ideology vs. purpose. We also have far too much focus on "think tanks" and "related people" giving ideas vs. people generating ideas. Leadership will start when the real leaders begin to show up. Neither political party or other types of political leaders will change the situation-the public must do the change.

Question 2: Change and establishing a path forward must begin in 2010. This necessary because since 2010 is an election year the discussions of alternatives and steps forward must begin and provide a framework for the political debate. If not the resolution may be delayed until after 2011 and the level of problem will only grow.

Question 3: The evolution of the economy must drive the sources of revenue. Sales taxes on all goods and services represents the economy. This also ensure that all citizens participate in the funding of services that each of us utilize for education, safety etc. Further this approach removes the sensitivity of the income side to the spending etc.

Don Fraser (5) (9) (8)
Question 3: Only if the funds are devoted to early childhood education for at-risk kids.

Kathleen Anderson (5) (10 )(10)

Question 1: I think they are equally important.

Bob Whereatt (5) (10) (10)

Alan Miller (2) (10) (10)

Jim Keller (5) (10) (10)

Question 1: I believe they are the same problem/solution approached from different directions.

Carolyn Ring (8) (8) (5)
Question 1: If they collaborate with each other, they should be able to come to solutions.

Question 3: Perhaps there should be some selectivity in the type of clothing items that are taxed.

Gary Clements (9) (10) (5)

Question 1: That’s kind of a tricky question, because there are ills present in both failures. However, it occurs to me that had there been collaboration during the last 6 years, there might not be as difficult a budget problem to solve, ergo the taxing and spending decisions that loom larger due to the inaction.
Question 2: Duh. But this is a political arena, right? In today’s political world, that means little will get done unless a way can be found to shed the blame and snag the credit. My, I seem to be getting cynical about the process, hmmm? Say it ain’t so, Joe.
Question 3: I’m going middling here, which doesn’t help the averages, but I strongly feel that taxation based on consumption is a more progressive way to tax people, and more fair. However, on clothing, which is a basic need, I would start the tax only on items that have a price of, say, $50 or more. Those who can afford the designer jeans can afford to pay the tax. Those who have little income still need to buy clothes, and can then make choices based on lower cost items. It’s sort of like you pay tax on candy and pop, but not on nutritious food.
Austin Chapman (8) (9) (10)
Greer Lockhart (10) (10) (10)

Question 1: Without collaboration the parties never get to solutions.
Question 2: They should start right now.
Question 3: As part of overall state revenue policy.

Ray Cox (10) (10) (10)
Question 2: I believe it is essential that the legislature start addressing our budget problem in 2010. We cannot wait until 2011. There are major changes occurring in Minnesota that are causing our revenue system to essentially be structurally deficient.

John S. Adams (_) (10) (10)

Shirley Heaton

Question 1: Would you believe but it seems the only thing our Florida leaders rant and rave about is last November's election results? My parents -- active politicians in Minneapolis -- always took the position that once the election is over it is time to bury the hatchet and get down to governing. If you think Minnesota is bad in this area, you should live in Florida!!!

Question 2: Are there enuf band aids to cover the hasty, short-term solutions????

Question 3: What is really needed is a re-evaluation of the tax structure to see if that's the best place to find the extra money. For example, I agree with Moe in that programs and expenditures in health preventive measures carry far better returns in the future.

Sheila Kiscaden (9) (10) (8)
Question 3: We need a full redesign of sales tax....In the age of a "knowledge economy" we need to move from solely taxing goods and add services ...the Ventura Administration had such a proposal...and this approach has been reaffirmed by others since then.

Bill Hamm (8) (8) (0)
Question 1: The way the question is stated seems to put more blame on the Governor than the DFL leadership's blatant refusal to negotiate in good faith. Their lockstep refusal to back away from huge tax hikes set this whole situation up. This year was grandstanding partisanship at its worst.

Question 2: While we may believe as we will this legislative body is so sure they are going to get a DFL Governor that they will do everything possible to stall any way but their way until after next years election.

Question 3 This is by far the most regressive tax we pay and its effect on the poorer end of the wage scale is the worst. We need to be taking a serious look at what departments we can cut or eliminate instead of how to keep increasing the size of government and the number of state unionized employees.

Who on the Civic Caucus board, is so obsessed with curing our state budget problems with the sales tax. If you really want to be "progressive", give us a simple fair "flat" income tax and put H&R Block out of business.

John Milton (_) (10) (10)
The greater problem is that we're stuck with a governor that has no interest in solving this . . . He's running for president . . . And he never did, it was always "my way or the highway" . . . His predecessors, including Republicans Elmer Andersen, Harold LeVander, Al Quie, and Arne Carlson, could have worked with the legislators to resolve the impasse but not Pawlenty . . . We'll just have to hope the wheels don't come off before he's gone.

Dan McElroy (8) (8) (3)

Rick Krueger (_) (10) (10)

Question 1: I don’t know – the former certainly impedes the later from happening but I’m not sure one is a greater problem than the other; they are both significant.

David Detert (9) (10) (9)

John Nowicki (10) (10) (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.

   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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