By State Rep. Dean Urdahl
The 2009 session has begun and the Legislature is turning over every rock in an attempt to square our $4.8 billion deficit. Here’s your chance to participate first-hand in the process.
The House of Reps. launched a Web site that allows people to share their thoughts and ideas with the Legislature in a secure forum. Just log on to http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/budgetsuggestions.asp to offer your input. Or, as always, you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I encourage you to be creative in your approach. Where do you think we should prioritize, reduce, combine, eliminate, etc.? Tough choices? The Winona State Model Legislature recently reduced funding to its own university by 18 percent to balance the budget during a classroom exercise. Those same students later confided to a local newspaper reporter their cuts would have been difficult to pass in the “real world.”
Since we have to do more than just make cuts to balance the budget, it would be helpful to hear how you feel the state can generate more revenue (beyond increasing taxes or raising fees).
How about Minnesota turning over its prisons, airports and/or the lottery to private parties? Business owners, what do you think we could do to create more jobs in Greater Minnesota, generating more tax revenue and stimulating the economy?
As you can see, there are numerous avenues to getting our state out of the red ink. The challenge is to meet the task with clear vision so our work results in lasting, meaningful solutions that can even help us weather future downturns in the economy.
This is a great opportunity for you to have your voice heard beyond the walls of local coffee shops. Your input is valued and I look forward to hearing from you.
Dean Urdahl represents District 18B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes most of Meeker County and a portion of Wright County. This is Urdahl’s fourth term in the Legislature after being elected in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.