On April 2, 1981, a headline in the Minneapolis Star sounded an increasingly familiar refrain: "Revenues fall short, set Quie scrambling." A week later, a headline in the Daily Journal in Fergus Falls made the new damage explicit: "Quie must cut $503 million."I think this budget crisis is an opportunity to get somethings right if spending isn't increased. It's the only way to force the legislature to do things differently. For instance, many state education mandates on public schools should be eliminated and school choice initiatives instituted which will give parents additional options and reduce public costs by enabling some kids to attend nonpublic/government schools.
And a week after that, a headline in the St. Paul Pioneer Press a described the governor's new attempt to stop the bleeding: "Quie asks tax hike, more cuts, curbs on city-county spending."
Six weeks later the Pioneer Press was able to announce: "Quie, DFL agree on sales, income tax hikes." The number, more precisely, was $555 million worth.
"Quie likely to call 3rd special session," read a headline in an October edition of the Star.
A November headline in the Star blared: "Deficit put at $860 million; Quie calls for special session."
A little under three weeks after that, a story in the Dispatch opened: "Gov. Al Quie today recommended reductions of more than $775 million in state spending... ." The year ended with Lori Sturdevant writing in the Tribune that the governor's "hard-line opposition to an increase in state income taxes appeared to soften a bit Monday. ..."
Revamping our health care programs so participants have more responsibility for controlling costs. And cutting back social programs which simply hand out condoms or pay other people to take care of people's children, e.g. early childhood programs.
These will be extremely difficult decisions to make and will mean the support some people have grown to expect from government won't be there. But it's vital we change the way things are done so people's expectations are changed and the community, friends and family step to the plate instead of simply passing on these problems to the state.