By Rep. Dean Urdahl
The 2012 legislative session is not a budget year, but budget methods and spending principles will certainly be at the forefront.
This likely will be the Session of Reform as we work to put our state on stronger fiscal ground for the long haul. The reality is an unprecedented number of people will be retiring in the next decade, leaving fewer workers to support our state. It is our responsibility to make wise decisions that help us navigate this issue.
It will not be enough to simply cut spending or raise taxes to sustain ourselves. That is why we are focusing squarely on increasing economic growth and making the best-possible use of tax dollars. We have spent the entire interim meeting with citizens and developing a plan called Reform 2.0 that will bring across-the-board improvements to Minnesota.
Our Reform 2.0 jobs package will expand economic freedom for entrepreneurs, create opportunity for workers, cut red tape and get government out of the way of job creators. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and are what will lead us back to prosperity.
There are three common goals in Reform 2.0 measures: restore confidence in the economy, improve education and health care, and transform government to make it more efficient and effective. I personally will be introducing two bills pertaining to education and another regarding nursing home regulations.
We made some reform-minded inroads last session by streamlining burdensome business regulations and establishing a Sunset Commission to identify ineffective government practices. There still is a lot more room for improvement in those areas and we have created an opportunity to do more in putting Minnesota on a sustainable course. I will continue working hands-on with this reform endeavor as co-chair of the House Redesign Caucus. Change is not always easy, but we are better off working toward it instead of waiting for its arrival.
I will do my best to keep local citizens up to speed as things develop in St. Paul this session. Public input remains vital in this process and I welcome ideas from local residents as we continue this massive undertaking of redesigning our state. You may call my legislative office at (612) 481-7459 or email email@example.com. A Reform 2.0 website (www.reform2.mn) also provides information related to the initiatives being proposed and their progress this session.