John Marty understands the big picture of the state budget crisis and what needs to be done to fix it. His work is grounded in common sense and fiscal responsibility. The way to save money in the long term is: (a) don’t spend money on things you shouldn’t spend it on, (b) fight waste and abuse at every level, and (c) identify and take advantage of public programs and services with a high return on investment.
After years of mismanagement, one-time shifts and accounting gimmicks, it is time for real solutions to Minnesota’s budget problems. To get Minnesota back on track, we need to put the long-term interests of the state ahead of short-term political gains and engage in an honest conversation about what is required to reclaim a healthy budget process.
Given the current realities of the budget situation, each of these steps is necessary, though none can be taken lightly. We can reverse the effects of Governor Pawlenty's shifting of the burden to city, county, and school districts and property taxpayers. We can reverse the short-sighted tax policies of prior administrations that led to the current shortfall. We can once again invest in schools, public safety, and public health, which create and sustain productive jobs with good wages, stimulating the economy and strengthening communities.
Recent budget cuts have ignored social ills, left dilapidating infrastructure unattended to, hurt vulnerable people, and failed to take advantage of public investments with long-term returns. This failure to invest in physical and human infrastructure has ultimately driven up the state’s expenses. Economists agree: (a) using cuts as an economic development model has failed, (b) Minnesota’s budget deficits are a structural problem that require structural solutions, and (c) Minnesota has been missing a focus on long-term planning and investment.
John Marty’s legislative strategy has always had one key consideration at its core: Do what is in the best long-term interest of Minnesota. Whether the issue is crime, health care, education, infrastructure, or the environment, John Marty knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Minnesota has a rich tradition of shared accountability and taking the long-term view. John Marty will continue working to maintain that proud heritage by making smart choices that offer the public a strong return on its investment. We will build a better Minnesota and ultimately, reduce costs to taxpayers.