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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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STATE OF THE STATE HIGH ON WISHES, SHORT ON ANSWERS

Thursday, February 10, 2011
“The State of the State is (fill in the blank).” Usually, that is what we hear in the Governor’s annual State of the State Address. Not this year. Governor Mark Dayton made Minnesotans feel lousy in his speech, highlighting everything negative that’s happened in his opinion over the last ten years as opposed to offering a true vision of hope and belief. The move isn’t surprising. If you believe all the gloom and doom talk and actually think the sky is falling in Minnesota, then you’ll probably believe that the answer to all our economic problems is increased state government spending. It’s clear Dayton wants to spend first and ask questions later. He talked about needed “investments” (aka increased spending) in areas like education and transportation, but other than a passing mention of tax increases, gave no other thoughts as to how he would like to pay for the increased spending. He also gave no highlights as to how he wants to eliminate our $6.2 billion deficit, or divulged how these “investments” would cause that deficit number to rise. In fact, the only thing Dayton really mentioned about the budget deficit was that it was the result of the choices made by previous administrations. That’s rich. First of all, why run for the job if you don’t want to tackle Minnesota’s most pressing problems? Our Republican majority in the House has been hard at work over the first several weeks of session, bringing forward sound proposals to reduce the size and scope of state government, to allow the government to live within the means of the people of Minnesota. We are working to demonstrate that we can and will do this without raising taxes. I was hoping the Governor would offer to us some of the same type of can-do leadership today. He did not. Governor Dayton’s speech was long on more spending and higher taxes, but short on specifics about how he plans to balance the budget deficit. We need to see more details about how he plans to reign in the expected 27-percent growth in spending, not increase it even higher.