Proffering reform 2.0


Nearly a month after the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton agreed on a budget plan to end the state government shutdown, Republican leaders announced an effort to hear from Minnesotans about how state government should be reformed.

In releasing “Reform 2.0,” House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) said elected officials need to work on reforming how government works because the status quo is not sustainable. “Our state’s economic climate and fiscal future rely on the reforms we are able to make today.”

House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) said some reform began in the 2011 session, noting education and health and human services changes, but the reforms were overshadowed by the special session.

“There is a public appetite and demand for change that we haven’t seen in several years,” he said, adding that the lining up of revenues and expenditures is key.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) said one such reform would be requiring a supermajority of legislators to approve any tax increases, saying it would force the Legislature to do a better job of reviewing government activity. He and Sen. Benjamin Kruse (R-Brooklyn Park) introduced HF1598/ SF1384 this session to put the question to voters through a constitutional amendment. It was approved by the House Taxes Committee, and awaits action by the House Ways and Means Committee. The Senate version did not receive a hearing.

Zellers said Republicans will be at the state fair to listen to Minnesotan’s government reform ideas, and have set up a website and Facebook account for users to post their ideas, as well as @reform2 on Twitter. He said e-mailing members is also a good idea.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) said the proposal is more of the “giveaways” to corporate special interests.

“Minnesota state government is one of the most efficient governments in the nation.  But we can never rest on our laurels. We will succeed if we recognize no party has the corner on good reform ideas.

“I am hopeful about enacting smart reform in 2012 if there is a commitment to work across party lines and to make sure that the voice that is heard the loudest in St. Paul is the voice of the people.”