Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How the Legislature and Governor Can Engage the People About the Budget

The Governor and the GOP lead Legislature will fight, mix it up, or posture for the hearts and minds of the Minnesota people as to what their best approach is for the $6 billion state deficit.  How the state leaders get out the information is important?  The budget proposals have to be presented in an understandable way so it can be comprehended by the people and then allow them to come to their own conclusions.  Hopefully, then the people will speak with their elected officials.

I have viewed the Governor's budget web site and the Legislature's House and Senate sites. They are not easy for the great majority of people to understand who are are not very familiar with the budget process.  How will the Governor's or the GOP's budget proposals have an an impact on you and me?  Granted for the GOP their overall budget proposals have not been presented yet, but we did get a taste of their proposals through the presentation and passing of  HF 130 which was vetoed by the Governor.

Charts of the tax proposals by the Governor were informative, the overall HF 130 pdf with tax conference report was rich with detail, and the Senate has an interesting publication called, State of Minnesota Budget Basics.

What can the Governor and the Legislature do as a public service to engage Minnesotans in the budget process/debate and to advance a greater recognition about the tough choices we need to make?

I suggest the following:

1.Offer the opportunity for the people to ask questions about their budget proposals and get prompt answers.

2.The Governor and GOP Legislative Leadership engage in several open fourms to discuss their approaches to specific parts of the budget.

3.Negotiations on the budget between the Governor and the Legislature be done in public would be refreshing.

4.Make appropriate websites understandable and easy to use.

There are no easy choices about the budget.  It is paramount the Governor and the Legislature lead.  Whatever the solutions are for the budget it is important they have the support of the public and we can live with them.

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