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A Capitol full of adults ...

January 22, 2011 - Lee Smith
The grown-ups are in charge. You can tell.

It has taken Republicans, who are in charge of the Minnesota House and Senate for the first time since 1972, just a few weeks to zero in on the problems facing the state and its budget. Their solutions are right on target.

Among other things, GOP leaders want a two-year freeze on teachers’ salaries. Minnesota school districts have not seen any increases in their state aid in three years. Eighty (80) percent of schools’ costs is for personnel. It’s just an economic reality that teachers’ wages need to stop going up. They can endure a freeze. We know that is what private-sector workers are seeing, if not wage cuts or job losses.

Republicans also have proposed a 15 percent reduction in the state’s workforce. Again, right on. And again, see the private sector losses for the past few years.

Republicans are also proposing making permanent numerous budget cuts approved in 2010. These will save the state $1 billion.

Finally, Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is talking about spending $1 billion on a public works bill. This would fund construction of various infrastructure projects around the state. The Republican whose committee would take up such a bill in the House says forget it. He won’t even put it on the agenda.

This managing a state thing really doesn’t look that difficult with Republicans in charge. I hope they stick to it. Their courage will show double when the economy really starts recovering.


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