My first Questionnaire

I’ve got a dozen questionnaires sitting on my desk unopened. Until this election I always filled them out without fail. This time I’ll wait to see if I get past the primary.

I just filled one out however for the local organization that lobbied long and hard to skyrocket our taxes for the Red Plan. It seems they’ve suddenly discovered fiscal restraint.

Here are the questions they gave me and the answers (under 50 words) I returned. Too bad they can’t keep their questions to 50 words.

1. Minnesota faces a large fiscal deficit. Does business pay its fair share of taxes, yes or no? What would you cut or increase to make it fairer?

Tax increases are inevitable but no state spending should be sacred. A six billion shortfall will make LGA hard to justify. I’d give local government greater authority to adjust property taxes and direct them where needed. School building bonds should always be approved by referendum to keep school districts in check.

2. What is the role of government when it comes to regulatory issues? For instance, is it the role of government to tell hospitals what the nurse to patient ratios ought to be or should it be up to the hospitals and their accrediting agencies? Secondly, would you agree that state agencies ought to give permits in a timely manner or should those permits be automatically issued if the state is not timely?

When the state pays the bill it will play a part in such decisions however, in this case I’d incline toward neutrality. There should be a timely permitting process but permits should no more be granted under rigid timelines than murder suspects freed when speedy trials fail to materialize.

3. How can the legislature improve school outcomes without increasing funding?

I’m skeptical of the potential for success of, though not opposed to, merit pay. Paying students would be more effective but is not politically acceptable. I believe that public education has benefited from Governor Rudy Perpich’s Charter Schools which effectively broke up a monopoly.

4. What is the role of government in promoting private sector jobs?

Usually ham handed. Oh, you asked “what” not “how.” I think the prime generators of jobs ““ small businesses ““ should be cut some regulatory slack and offered tax breaks.