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 Response Page - Dane Smith  Interview -      

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

The Questions:

_8.1 average_____ 1.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether significant efforts need to be undertaken to improve accountability of state and local government to the public?

_6.7 average_____ 2.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether one high-priority strategy for improving government accountability should be restructuring of government institutions and organizations?

_5.5 average_____ 3.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether a need to increase Minnesota income taxes on wealthy individuals overshadows a risk that many such individuals would choose to move to lower-tax states?

Lyall Schwarzkopf (9) (10) (3)

Donald H. Anderson (8) (8) (10)

People, today, are more interested in electronic gadgets than government and their own ability to sort out fact from fiction - which opens the door to the lack of accountability in government.

Chuck Slocum (10) (10) (5)

I find Dane Smith and his work at Growth & Justice very interesting and often persuasive.  He is correct about the need to recognize the importance and mutual self-reliance of both government and the private sector. Mr. Smith appears to be open to looking at all things public and is optimistic and upbeat in doing so; he seems less interested in defining the role of private institutions and the public good.

I re-read the Ted Kolderie speech of eight years ago in which he talked of leadership requirements necessary in Minnesota in 2001 to face the future and that politics was all about the “art of making possible what is necessary.”

I think, too, that the five foundation sponsorship of the “Bridges to a Better Bottom Line” this year was enlightening, noting that many of the short term recommendations concerned health care costs (and quality). 

In my view, we have not made much progress—and have retreated on some fronts— concerning the government and private marketplace roles in our future in the last decade; let’s hope that enlightened leadership will forge a consensus in the next ten years about “making possible what is necessary.”

Ray Schmitz (10) (10) (10)

Terry Stone (10) (3) (0)

The metric for justifying taxation should not be “tax them until they leave in quantity; then back off a bit.” The rich should not be taxed for a number of reasons among which are that they use less government than any others in Minnesota and their capital should be used to create jobs with the incentive to create more capital left intact.

Wayne Jennings (5) (7) (8)

One valuable part of this interview was the mention of MinnPost and Growth and Justice. I’d heard of them but hadn’t bothered to look into their work.

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (9)

Question 2: Reduce the number of legislators by 40%.   Reduce the number of cities in the Twin cities metro area so communities in the developed area have a minimum population of 75,000 and the school district boundaries are the same as the city.  Schools and transportation services shall be shared to obtain better usage.

Timothy Utz (10) (3) (1) 

Question 1: We do have an accountable document setting forth the power, authority of government, our state constitution. I continue seeking opportunities to engage dialogue around restoring adherence to that document.

Question 2:  Our country is only 225 years or so old, thus I find his historical perspective somewhat distorted.

In addition he commented “Lots of things are obsolete. Two chambers of the Legislature, given one-person, one-vote. The Electoral College. County governments with a courthouse that’s one day’s horse travel away from every resident” This comment disturbs me greatly as media, political groups, think tanks, policy groups and others continue bashing constitutional truths set forth by our forefathers as archaic, old fashioned, out dated, to the point few citizens know the power of our country or states foundation “the constitution”. We need political leaders willing to defend our constitution from all foes including the afore mentioned groups, and preserve such law for our citizens.

Thus, I run for office in Minnesota, and win I win in 2010, then protect and enforce constitutional rule of law over government. Perhaps we should provide opportunity to transport unhappy American citizens to other government locations around the world, where their personal views of “The State” are more reflected.

Question 3: I see the issues of revenue shortages largely on government overstepping the authorities appropriated within our constitution. Government growth continues exceeding the legal authority, imposing will, lording over the citizen with threats of stealing additional personal revenue to satisfy government power and growth. The underlying issue is not increasing taxes, but government spending and loss of liberty. Folks leave for those two reasons, the increased taxes are a symptom not cause.

Jan Hively (6) (6) (8)

Question 1:  Strengthen the role of the  legislative auditor.

Question 2:  Bring back the state planning agency.

Don Fraser (4)(6) (9)

Vici Oshiro (6) (6) (10)

Charles Lutz (6) (7) (9)

Rick Bishop (8) (5) (0 

Alan Miller (8) (6) (2)

Bert Press (10) (10) (0)

Robert J. Brown (10) (0) (0)

It is great to have two think tanks in Minnesota headed by responsible individuals who understand the need for reasonable discourse on public policy - Dane Smith and Mitch Pearlstein.
Question 1:    Part of the accountability problems relates to the fact that state and local governments have become too dependent on transfer payments (federal and state aids to lower levels of government.) This separates the responsibility of raising government revenue from the privilege of spending public monies. It would be better if we restructured the tax system by doing such things as creating a local income tax so local government could be responsible for raising its own taxes and then be better held accountable for its expenditures. It is laughable to hear local governments cry about cuts in local government aid as though it has always been there. The fact is that aid existed only since the passage of the sales tax in 1967. We are going to see some more whining after the locals spend the new pork from Washington and then moan a year later as that money dries up. Some of these people are the worst kind of addicts, always needing a fix whether it be state LGA or "free money" form Washington.

Question 2:   I believe it is a saying of architects that "form follows function." If we followed that concept in government we should regularly look at the structures of government as the functions change to meet the needs of society.

Question 3:   The wealthiest people are the ones best able to relocate so if they feel they are getting picked on they can easily change their tax home. Then we get nothing which is worse than having them pay a slightly lower rate than the ideologues of the left want them to pay.

Ray Cox (8) (8) (10)

Bill Hamm (7) (5) (5)

I am not greatly impressed with the strongly Socialist and pro metro leanings of this group in the last few months, what the heck.

Question 1: Yes but not in the direction Dane Smith believes. When I first became involved in political things about 35 years ago I could attend a public meeting of a School Board, a City, or a County Board and give input on agenda items. In most cases I could even speak to non agenda items at the end of the meeting. Starting in the 80s the progressive shift toward the concept of these meeting becoming meetings before the public rather than "Public Meetings". I have watched this trend encompass virtually every public body in the State undermining the greatest thing we had going, real public input. Elected Boards and bodies have become more afraid of public input as they have became progressively more about rubber stamping the one size fits all outside solution and less about thinking toward creative new local solutions. A solid movement toward the central planning model and away from local control and creativity has undermined the greatness that was Minnesota.

Question 2: In the context of my first answer, yes we need to restructure, backwards, away from progressiveness that has undermined local control and involvement and move back toward greater public involvement and away from the central planning model we have been following. I use the 5 as I see nothing to get excited about here.

Question 3: This question does nothing to get at the issue of fairness of taxation and provides a very good example of why I am a strong supporter of a simple flat tax structure that would draw (at least theoretically) an equal % of every citizen's income and end this foolish argument between the middle class and the rich that always leaves those of us in the 62% class making up the difference.

Ray Ayotte (6) (5) (6)


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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