Like private sector, government must downsize and streamline

We have it good. I know the economy can feel like a 1,000-pound gorilla on your back. But relative to the rest of Minnesota, we are doing pretty well. In job growth alone, Rochester ranks No. 1 (even exceeding the state average). On top of that, the industries we’re known for — health care, hospitals and hospitality are top industries for job growth.

While many Minnesota cities grapple with job loss, Rochester can tout a 1.3 percent increase in jobs. We’ve positioned ourselves well by enhancing growth industries in our neck of the woods through strategic business ventures, keeping a keen eye on the future.

We’ve encouraged forward thinking partnerships between organizations like the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota, which formed the renowned Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Genomics and the establishment of the BioBusiness Center, which seeks to attract biotechnology and medical device companies to the area.

These efforts help foster job growth and economic prosperity in our region. By being open to innovation and entrepreneurship, we are working to ensure long-term fiscal health for southern Minnesota.  

However, all of our work to keep pace with the ever-changing economic and industrial landscape hangs in the balance. Minnesota is facing a fiscal crisis with a $6.2 billion budget deficit. Minnesota is not alone; a number of states have budget deficits.


The Great Recession has forced the private sector to downsize and streamline. From that reorganization, we are seeing recovery. But economic recovery is slow and fragile. That’s why it’s so critical for the legislature and governor to work together to produce a budget that downsizes and streamlines government as well. This is necessary to have a sustainable, structurally balanced budget.

Minnesota has the third-highest combined federal and state business income tax rate in the industrialized world. We are such a highly taxed state that Minnesota was recently named one of the top 10 worst places to start a business. We absolutely cannot afford that title!

The way to restore Minnesota’s competitiveness is by lowering the tax burden on job providers and streamlining government to live within its means. Businesses are no longer tied to bricks and mortar – we live in a mobile society. As a result, job creators can easily pick up and leave unfavorable tax climates.  

As I said before, Minnesota is not alone. Many states are tackling deficits — they are doing so responsibly through spending reductions and holding the line on new taxes. What’s more? This approach is receiving bipartisan support.

Democrat governors, like Andrew Cuomo in New York, are proposing common-sense budgets that do not include higher taxes.  We know the detrimental effect tax hikes can have on our communities. When the state of Maryland instituted a "millionaire’s tax" in 2008, within a year, one-third of the state’s top earners moved away and consequently, state revenues plummeted. The plan to raise taxes would make Minnesota an island of higher taxes, putting businesses and job creators at a fundamental disadvantage.  

One of the budget plans on the table now would give Minnesota the highest tax rate in the nation and increase spending by more than 22 percent.  How many families do you know are increasing their budgets by 22 percent this year? This proposal is both shocking and unsustainable. The facts do not support the premise of closing the budget hole through tax increases.

We have enough money in St. Paul.  In fact, the $32 billion in projected revenue is already a 5 percent increase. In order for Minnesota to be competitive, its government should match the leaner, meaner private sector.

No economic theorist would support raising taxes in the midst of a recession. We cannot create incentives for people and job creators through higher taxes. Tax increases are dangerous even to propose because they send a horrible message to job providers in our state when they are trying to position their businesses to expand and take risks again.


In a mobile society where labor, capital and job providers can relocate at a moment’s notice, Southern Minnesota cannot afford a tax structure that erases all of our efforts toward job growth.  You sent me to the Senate to lower taxes and reduce government spending in order to grow jobs and keep the district on the path to prosperity.

We’ve positioned ourselves well and it is our responsibility to ensure that our children can benefit and participate in the tremendous, innovative industries we’ve built in our region.  We cannot risk our future — our children’s future — by raising taxes, increasing spending and driving jobs out of the state.

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