To the editor:
With the recent news our state is projected to face a $5.2 billion deficit, it’s clear that our days of government growth and wasteful spending must be replaced by long-term commitments to job creation and fiscal responsibility.
We had a $2 billion surplus two years ago but slipped $373 million into the red in 2008. Now we’re projected to be in a $426 million deficit for the current biennium ending June 30 and a $4.8 billion deficit for the coming 2009-2010 biennium. And our Rainy Day reserves were largely drained to help balance the budget last spring.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the shortfall calls for reorganizations and efficiencies. I agree, especially since state spending has grown by about 140 percent since 1992 and taxpayers already are carrying an excessive burden.
If Minnesota citizens are sacrificing to make ends meet, government also must live within its means; that applies to government at all levels, from local to state and federal. Talk of a government spending freeze warrants serious consideration.
House Republicans have supported a respective 5- and 4-percent cut in state agency operating budgets during the 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions. We also proposed to reduce legislative appropriations by $1 million, place a cap on per diem and limit member housing to six months.
I feel it is more important than ever to create jobs in outstate Minnesota to stimulate our economy and broaden our tax base to provide the state with more revenue. This is a time we need to provide business incentives instead of increasing the tax burden. I will continue working to kick-start the rural Minnesota job market by promoting business growth.
Please feel free to pass along any thoughts you have as we get ready for the 2009 legislative session starting in January. E-mail correspondence always is appreciated.