Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The nonpartisan Minnesota Office of Legislative Auditor has been in the headlines a number of times recently with reports it has issued on a variety of topics.
Earlier this month, an OLA study concluded Minnesota's teacher licensing system is "confusing," "broken" and in need of reform. This is a factor in our state's teacher shortage. Frequent changes to licensing laws and a lack of clarity are causing problems. There also is a lack of accountability since decisions are split between the Minnesota Board of Teaching and Minnesota Department of Education. This subject has many layers and angles to it, so it will be important to conduct thorough discussions as plans are formulated.
Another report from the OLA issued last week is a rather scathing indictment of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, a panel that distributes tens of millions of dollars in grants and loans each year in an attempt to spark economic development in northeastern Minnesota. I delved into this subject in a legislative column I recently submitted to newspapers in District 33A. Here is a snippet:
"The bottom line is that the IRRRB has made some modest improvements to the regions diversity, but given its 75 years of stewardship to diversify the region, it certainly appears that it has been more a failure than a success. It is rife with failures of accountability, providing subsidies year after year to failing enterprises and has serious constitutional issues with its structure of sitting legislators serving upon its board. The IRRRB is an example of big government central planning failure. Instead of allowing the efficiency of the free market to determine success and failure of local businesses and the local markets they serve, the IRRRB has wasted untold hundreds of millions of dollars of public treasure in supporting failed or failing enterprises."
Click here for the full column.
Also last week the OLA issued a report indicating the Minnesota's Department of Transportation’s processes for selecting trunk highway projects are not transparent. "In particular, MnDOT has chosen projects under the Corridors of Commerce program subjectively and in a manner not fully consistent with the law," the OLA said. The department is advised to increase transparency and fix the Corridors of Commerce selection process. Citizens deserve to know projects are selected based on merit, not just hand-picked picked bureaucratic preferences.
All three of these reports include valuable information that can be applied to drafting legislation geared toward improvements.
Rep. Jerry Hertaus