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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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A RETURN TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY NEEDED

Friday, February 29, 2008
To the editor: After hearing our state’s budget shortfall is predicted to reach nearly $1 billion, I was curious to find out what I had to say a couple years ago, back when we were looking at a $2.17 billion surplus. Here’s a quote of mine from a Nov. 29, 2006 press release. It was under the headline: BUDGET SURPLUS RESULT OF GOOD FISCAL MANAGEMENT “We’re finally experiencing the results of our fiscal responsibility. The surplus was created from spending cuts and from no tax increases. This is a sign the state’s economy is moving forward.” Now, a couple years and a few billion dollars in the opposite direction, a return to that common-sense model is in order to get us back on firm financial ground. The current $935 million shortfall projection is more than half a billion greater than last November’s figure. It represents 2.7 percent of our state’s total general fund spending. Our state economist strongly cautioned against breaking the 3-percent threshold as may be very harmful to the state's fiscal credibility. The source of the problem is the way the House majority overspent, overtaxed and overregulated last session, and kicked of this session with the largest tax increase in modern Minnesota history. Please realize this deficit is projected, meaning we’re not a billion dollars in the red right now. Rather, the predicted shortfall says this: At our current pace we are outspending the estimated revenue we’ll generate by nearly a billion dollars. Last November’s projection of a $373 deficit should have been a warning signal to the Legislature that a return to fiscal responsibility was needed. Some legislators apparently didn’t get the memo and excessive taxing and spending last session and again this year means our deficit is predicted to rise by $562 million. It’s important to understand we still are in a situation where this shortfall can be managed, but we must make necessary adjustments to make sure we balance the budget. A good start would be if certain legislators kicking their tax-and-spend habits instead of ignoring reality. Sincerely, Bud Nornes State Representative
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