On a scale of (0)
most disagreement , to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please
indicate how you rate the following options:
(8.4 average response)
The state should stop its practice of “deficit committing” – making
commitments with budgetary “tails” that obligate the state to higher
spending in later years.
(7.5 average response)
The state should establish total spending targets for each of the next
four years based on projected revenue growth without tax changes.
(7.3 average response)
The state should remove governmental bureaus' monopolies and let
people choose for themselves which service producers are best for
(6.3 average response)
The state should permit low-income parents to receive education
vouchers that could be used at private and parochial schools.
(8.4 average response)
An on-going equivalent to Brandl-Weber is needed to continue to offer
creative reorganization ideas to the Governor and Legislature.
Chuck Slocum (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
I urged Ms.
Heegaard to connect for a substantive briefing with each of the
candidates for governor on this topic. The questions above are pretty
simple and leave little open for nuance…but the topic is a good one.
Tom Spitznagle (7) (9) (9) (6) (8)
should be given to all Minnesota parents so that they can choose which
school to send their kids to. Competition between schools for
students will almost always lead to a better overall product. No
competition leads to self-perpetuating and much less effective
bureaucracies. It's the same in business. End result of low
competition? - Answer: the customer (kids and parents) are not
well-served, only the teachers and administrators are. How much
longer are we going to tolerate the broken public school model when
new technology and new approaches for funding public schools are
readily available to facilitate new models?
Tom Swain (10) (5) (6) (5) (10)
Gene Franchett (10) (8) (7) (4) (9)
Bert LeMunyon (7.5) (10) (7.5) (10) (10)
Deficit committing. I like the idea, but how can you maintain
programs without having to reauthorize them each budget cycle?
Michael Martens (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5)
Deficit committing. This is the Legislature lying to the
public about the cost of programs. The DFL was famous for starting a
new program in the last 6 months of a 2-year budget. And the full cost
of the program was completed until the end of the next 2-year budget.
That way the initial cost seemed small, but quickly grew in the next
Ongoing equivalent. There are lots of good ideas out there for saving
state and local governments money. What is lacking is the political
will at the Legislature. A major problem is the unwillingness of
many DFL legislators to do anything that might upset the teacher's
union or the public employees unions. Until the DFL is willing to
stand up to teachers and public employees on behalf of the common
people to control state and local spending, MN will continue to have
Anonymous (2.5) (7.5) (2.5) (0) (7.5)
Ray Ayotte (10) (10) (7.5) (10) (10)
Mark Jenkins (10) (10) (5) (2.5) (7.5)
Deficit committing. I oppose deficit committing when it is
used to buy a "benefit" today with funds from tomorrow. The only
exception I can think of would be budgeting for future benefits with
future funds. It would need to be a rare and beneficial project to
justify such a commitment.
Spending targets. While the targets should reach out for four
years, the targets should be updated every year to make sure we adjust
Competition. I think this is a noble idea, and sounds like
government would be reducing governmental control. Unfortunately,
increasing choice is all too often followed by legislation to monitor
and report on the choices made by the consumers. This opens up the
possibility of governmental oversight turning into governmental
regulation and control of each/all of the choices available. In the
end, this risks broadening regulation instead of reducing its impact.
Vouchers. I am OK with some government assistance for private
education, but I would prefer to see the funding go straight to the
school. This will allow some schools to remain completely private,
while others could open their enrollment to subsidized students. The
benefit is that schools that wish to take state aid in exchange for
subsidized students will have volunteered for the program and thus
should be willing to meet minimum state guidelines in order to receive
the state aid. Voucher programs do not provide that level of control
to the state.
Ongoing equivalent. The level of compliance to this kind of
study can be monitored on an annual, or bi-annual, basis. The study
itself should only be undertaken every 10 years. This will keep the
scope of the study long-term. The closer the studies, the more likely
the study will only focus on actions and results that could occur in
the years between the studies.
Mina Harrigan (7.5) (2.5) (7.5) (10) (10)
D. (Bill) Hamm (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5)
Deficit committing. Common sense budgeting.
Spending targets. We have a 2-year budget cycle that couldn't
react to the recent recession. The questionable use of 3rd and 4th
year projections is controversial in the real world.
Competition. I very much support moving all decision-making
possible back to its most local level. The Dept. of Education should
be the first power structure eliminated or at least downsized to [a]
helping rather than controlling agency.
Vouchers. So long as teachers unions undermine quality
education, I will support this option.
Ongoing equivalent. Only if broad-based involvement can be
Vici Oshiro (7.5) (7.5) (5) (2.5) (5)
Competition . [There is] no one answer across the board.
Vouchers. This would require accountability; not sure that is
adequate now - or, in some cases, desirable.
Ongoing equivalent. The discussion needs to continue, but may
take a different form.
Ken Smart (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
Deficit committing. Although I agree strongly, I really doubt
there is the political will to accomplish the goal.
Spending targets. When one looks at Minnesota State spending
as a percentage of state GDP, one has to conclude that enough spending
occurs - it is more of determining if we are allocating this spending
to the right areas.
Competition. In general, I think we have learned that private
service producers generally provide better customer service
experiences at a lower cost.
Vouchers. This often is the best way for economically
disadvantaged children to break out of the cycle of poverty and
Ongoing equivalent. Having an independent commission free of
the political environment can offer better solutions than politicians,
and a commission's recommendations can also provide some political
cover for good, but politically unpopular solutions.
Dave Broden (7.5) (0) (10) (10) (10)
Deficit committing. Deficit committing must stop. There
should, however, be some format in which very high priority quality of
Minnesota activities may have commitment for which long term funding
requirements are needed. This should, however, be very limited and
done with a definite plan for long term funding.
Spending targets. Budget projections are required, but to be
able to project 4 years is likely not a sound statement--a 4-year
budget plan with some income projections is OK as a guide but must be
updated at selected intervals to have any value. The idea of locking
into "no tax changes” is not wise--keeping the options open should be
a reasonable position.
Competition. Moving to "open sourcing" by government will
bring multiple benefits without risks to the function of government or
the services provided to citizens. Setting up and implementing the
"purchased services" will be key to the success of this approach.
Vouchers. A voucher system offers many types of incentives
both to the schools as alternatives and to the parents. Vouchers, if
implemented, do require a good monitoring system which should be
established and applied uniformly across all income levels.
Ongoing equivalent. An on-going process is valid and should be
addressed. The only problem I see is if we set up an on-going system
it will become another state agency that can become an end onto itself
and not a creative system. The benefit of a new group periodically is
that new fresh ideas come and the risk of focus on a "pet rock" idea
is lower. Thus the on-going idea should be addressed but how, who, and
how new thoughts keep coming is key. Perhaps an organization which is
set up and organized such that it must evolve each year with some
members added and some leaving each year--also there must be turn-over
on some staff to avoid internal focus.
Peter Hennessey (10) (10) (10) (10) (2.5)
Deficit committing. There is nothing more immoral than locking
in commitments that some future generation will have to pay for. Pay
for your present needs here and now. There is no reason why a State
should plan and handle its budget any differently than private
individuals and businesses. In fact there is every reason why a State
should do a better job, because they have access to the services of
experienced professionals who should do better at this job than
ordinary husbands and wives. Just keep the politicians out of the
process; this is an administrative / managerial chore.
Spending targets. Sure, as long as there is also planning for
possible negative "growth" which is another way of saying, saving
something for a rainy day. Learn from the past 2-3 years. OK, this is
one place where politicians can have an input, helping to decide
Competition. The State should not have any legal right to
provide any services that are also provided by someone in the private
Vouchers. The problem with public education is that it is a
monopoly. Nobody has any incentive to improve if there is no
competition. Nobody has any way of measuring his own performance if
there is no one else to compare with. If parents have a choice, they
can vote with their kids' attendance clearly enough. If they have to
make a choice, they will also care more. But why bother if you don't
have a choice anyway? You can't yell at the teacher to do a better job
if your kid will continue to see the same teacher.
Ongoing equivalent. You need a commission and on-going studies
to tell you: 1., to model your State functions after the federal
Constitution [with] limited powers, specific responsibilities; 2., not
to duplicate services available in the private sector. Contract with
private providers for all services. Government at any level has no
business running power and water plants, schools, research labs,
hospitals, roads, trains and buses; and even social services can be
provided by others, such as churches who have done that job for
centuries. State functions could easily be reduced to contract
awarding and contract administration. [and] 3., to apply normal
business practices. There is no difference between private and public
bureaucracies; paper-pushing is paper-pushing in any context. There is
no need to pretend there is any difference between private and public
administration; the lessons derived from operations research in the
private sector apply equally to government.
Anonymous (5) (5) (7.5) (5) (5)
John Sievert (10) (7.5) (7.5) (0) (7.5)
Vouchers. This is a guaranteed recipe to destroy the public
school systems, one of the finest in the state. The real issue is
that we put total accountability on the school for things that need to
happen at home. Parental involvement is the #1 predictor of academic
success, so if parents are not engaged with their child's education,
how is that the school's fault? If anything, we need to hold these
parents accountable for this. For example, in the Philadelphia school
system, while the schools got report cards on their performance, so
did the schools rate the parents on their performance. I think that
is a great feedback mechanism and would work well here.
Dan McElroy (2.5) (7.5) (2.5) (7.5) (7.5)
Deficit committing. Some programs, such as education and
health care, need a degree of predictability in funding. Lower
priority programs may need to be stopped altogether. Some could be
funded on a year-to-year basis.
Spending targets. Moving toward priority-based budgeting with
a fixed bottom line and variable "sub budgets" would be ideal.
Disrupting the systems that rely on state funding will be very
difficult. As the demographics of the community change, raising taxes
will be more and more difficult.
Competition. Competition in some areas, such as education, may
be helpful. Competition in areas like human services and
transportation may not be realistic.
Vouchers. Why limit freedom of choice to low income parents?
Why not allow all parents to chose the education they believe to be
best for their learners?
Ongoing equivalent. More citizen involvement is a great
thing. How to go about this will be an interesting discussion.
Dennis L. Johnson (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
Vouchers. This should apply to all parents, not just
Grant Abbott (7.5) (7.5) (5) (0) (10)
Deficit committing. I would agree strongly, but there are the
issues of employee pensions, maintenance of additional parklands (Lake
Vermillion), and upkeep of new buildings and other infrastructure.
When decisions are made to add staff, land, buildings or other
infrastructure, there should be serious consideration to the ongoing
costs of those additions to the state.
Spending targets. I agree, as long as there is the possibility
to change those targets when dramatic changes take place, such as, the
influx of refugees from Southeast Asia and east Africa or another
Competition. Who are the "people"? Are we talking about
individuals or communities? How would those "choices" work? At a time
when many people are talking about the need for the efficiencies of
large-scale organizations, this seems to be decentralizing services to
smaller businesses or nonprofits, that is, until these new competitors
get bigger and bigger. Will they really be less costly and more
efficient than the government we have? Is there proof, or only
Vouchers. I have real problems with vouchers until the playing
field is leveled. It's not fair that public schools have to play by
much stricter rules and regulations that charter, parochial and
private schools. It's also not fair to give out vouchers that can't
really make it possible for poor children to attend the school of
their choice that will accept them. What would happen if every child
received a $20,000 voucher to attend the school of his or her choice?
Ongoing equivalent. The legislature could ask the Citizens
League, or the Civic Caucus for that matter, to take the lead in
updating the Brandl-Weber study, especially if it seems to be so tough
for people to come up with today's replacements for John Brandl and
Bob White (10) (7.5) (7.5) (5) (10)
Anonymous (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10)
Charles P. Lutz (7.5) (0) (7.5) (7.5) (10)
Spending targets. State government must seek avenues to
increase revenue, including tax increases. Some of the tax cutting for
higher-income Minnesotans within the past decade has to be reversed.
Ongoing equivalent. Some vehicle for developing
recommendations reflecting a political middle, outside the
Legislature, is obviously needed.
Jack Swanson (7.5) (7.5) (5) (0) (10)
Ongoing equivalent. it seems to me the greatest economic
driver in our ongoing fiscal problem is health care, and more
specifically, health care and long-term care of senior citizens.
Until we, as a society, determine how we intend to pay that
ever-growing bill - we cannot resolve those fiscal problems.
Anonymous (10) (7.5) (10) (10) (5)