Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Misery Tour - Latest Stop 

Tonight, the DFL "listening" aka "misery" tour made its stop in Burnsville. There were close to 300 people there, 130 of whom had signed up to speak.

Representative Paul Thissen moderated the session very well. He emphasized proper behavior, no booing, and no other indications of agreement or disagreement. The legislators introduced themselves and then an overview of the budget was given. Speakers were limited to 90 seconds and all were pretty much held to the time limit.

In the two hours allotted, approximately 80 spoke (a number of the original 130 were no-shows). The breakdown closely resembled this: 40-50 "don't cut my program, don't cut human services (over 30% of the General Fund expenditures), etc." but none offered any way to save money. The other 20 or so were from the private sector. They made some very poignant observations, including:
- The private sector creates the funds for all the programs, therefore, support business
- People can move out of the state
- Businesses are laying off people and cutting pay - the state employees can experience the same
- Families are cutting back, so can the government
- The recession of 1920-21 lasted less than a year b/c the government did nothing; the recession of the 1930's lasted a decade b/c the government "created" jobs, raised taxes, and tried to control far too much;
- State spending is increasing simply too fast
- Many state programs have zero eligibility requirements, thereby resulting in people using them who should be paying for them
- The rate of expenditures will be passed on to our kids - they are the people who will feel the real pain.
- Support the Racino (casinos at racetracks)
In summary, it appeared the legislators were not ready for the number who spoke in favor of "cutting spending." The officials were polite but, unfortunately, I'm not sure they understand.

A government safety net is one thing, a sticky web of entrapment is something else. Unsustainable government expenditures sap life and liberty from humans. Nothing good happens when people are forced to become wards of the state and others are forced to become servants of the state. Cut the spending, NOW.

Labels: , ,