Notes from all over

by GDA gda@accessmn.com

5-21-2015

The 2015 Minnesota Legislature, made up of the DFL controlled Senate and the Republican controlled House, have had 5-1/2 months to come up with a two-year budget. That means they have had nearly 170 days to come up with a new budget. This should not be that tough of a job. They have the old budget and they have the actual revenues and expenses that went into it. They should have an idea of what the income will be over the next two years or at least a conservative estimate. All they really had to do was figure the percent of income needed for the different categories and factor in the new estimated costs.
Then they could sit down and fine tune the whole thing. Businesses do this every year and they have to get it done and be accurate or the business is in trouble. Of course, if a business over-estimates the income or underestimates the expenses, they have to make cuts to stay in business. The Legislature just looks for ways to bring in new income or taxes.
Of course, we then have a governor who seems to be out of it. He is supposed to be the leader and bring both sides together. Well, the two sides are apparently about ready to pass the budget, but the governor wants a hundred million more for pre-kindergarten classes and he swears he isn't going to budge.
Now, that hundred million sounds familiar, doesn't it? Could they be thinking of the hundred and ninety million surplus and ways to spend it? For many legislators, leaving tax money unspent is a sin. It is their money, after all, not ours.
Well, they don't want to go into special session, either. They would continue to get their "M&Ms" (mileage and meals) and that is a lot of money for most of us. No, they realize they have to get out of their cushy part-time settings so they can spend $300,000,000 for their new Taj Mahal-like quarters for their part-time jobs. They wouldn't have a place to meet. Our brilliant governor thinks they could put a tent up on his lawn. Hey, Gov. Dayton, you don't have the room. Of course, they could buy some of the unused office space in downtown St. Paul and at a fraction of the three hundred million, but it wouldn't be as impressive.
Just think, they could not build their fancy quarters and save $300 million, add that to the $190 million surplus and then pass the bill that the House and Senate have apparently agreed on which would save another hundred mill and the state would have nearly $600 in surplus.
The reality is, they will build their three hundred million fancy offices, will spend the $190,000,000 surplus and will probably cave in to the governor.
To get all of this done takes 203 legislators at close to a hundred million a year cost to the taxpayers over 5-1/2 months. Good thing they aren't on piecework.
Don't get mad, you voted for them.
* * * * * * * *
The weather was rough over the opening weekend, but remember, you had Gov. Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk in the same boat. The hot air generated there could bring us a heckuva storm. Have a good week.


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