To the editor,
It is good to be back at the Capitol, where we face another crucial legislative session and an opportunity to build on improvements we made in 2011.
This is not a formal budget year, but many of the things we do in 2012 will be designed to put our state on a better fiscal course. Our focus is on accountability, transparency, sustainability and streamlining. Reform 2.0 is a package of bills we have spent the interim shaping to help us improve in those areas.
The Reform 2.0 initiative all comes down to the fact that, like Europe, it is going to become more and more difficult for us to pay for past promises. Experts indicate as many Americans will turn age 65 in the next decade as in the previous four decades combined. As those folks retire, workforce growth is going to dramatically slow and leave fewer workers to support our retired population.
We have faced a tough economy during the recession and most budget discussions revolve around cutting services or raising taxes. Our search for solutions must shift past that tired debate to include two other components: doing all we can to increase economic growth, along with helping government do things better, providing better service for less cost.
That is the essence of Reform 2.0 and it includes everything from education to regulatory burdens placed on private-sector job creators, and health care. I am introducing the Affordable Health Insurance Choices Act this year to provide more individual flexibility. I will provide details of that measure and others as they make their way through the legislative process.
This is a crossroads in state history and I welcome your continued input as we put the pieces in place to create a sustainable future for Minnesotans.
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen