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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Donkey basketball and the State of the State Address

Thursday, February 10, 2011
DONKEY BASKETBALL AND THE STATE OF THE STATE By Rep. Joe McDonald I had a blast participating in a recent game of donkey basketball. Insert your own punch-line here: _______ In all seriousness, the donkey basketball game was a fantastic fundraiser for the Delano schools and it provided some relief from my hectic schedule at the Capitol. Constituent work, committee meetings and floor sessions continue dominating our time. We also recently hosted Gov. Mark Dayton in the House chamber for his first State of the State Address. The governor was cordial in his speech, but I came away feeling he spent way too much time making promises without explaining how he’ll deliver. Dayton used the word “investment” repeatedly as a euphemism for raising taxes to support increased government spending. He talked about spending more money in a number of areas, but failed to shed light on his plan to cover the expenses, other than to mention he remains committed to increasing taxes on our hard-working entrepreneurs and small-business owners. I disagree with the approach of having our job creators foot the bill to grow government, especially as we work to recover from the Great Recession. It just seems counter-productive to me. My faith lies in the citizens of our fine state, not in new government programs. The details of just how far our new governor wants to go with his tax increases will be available soon, allowing us to go in greater detail. I was pleased to hear the governor focus on jobs during his speech, especially since it is a priority we share. He expressed his support of House File 1, a bill to help us streamline our system of permitting businesses. The key for us is to use areas of agreement like this to help improve the economy, grow new jobs and get our work in the Legislature done on time as Minnesotans have asked us to do. Dayton did throw a couple verbal jabs during his speech. He blamed former Gov. Tim Pawlenty for handing him a fiscal mess, but I’d like to point out governors can’t increase state spending. The Legislature is responsible for crafting spending bills and an inability to exhibit fiscal responsibility is the main reason we face a substantial budget shortfall. Dayton also called out state agencies for being mismanaged. I think what he meant is we need to find areas of reform to help government run more efficiently. That’s another place we can agree. As always, I welcome your input as we make key decisions in St. Paul. You can reach me by calling (651) 296-4336 or by e-mailing rep.joe.mcdonald@house.mn. -30-
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