Archived Story

Batting 2 for 3

Published 8:45am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Batting two for three isn’t bad, unless the failed third attempt is a clutch situation. The analogy illustrates Minnesota Senate Republicans’ efforts to date at rolling out plans for job creation and government reform: Good idea, but not solid hits.

Senate Republicans eagerly announced on Monday that they plan to ease some regulatory burdens on businesses, adopt a priorities-first budgeting strategy and reduce taxes on businesses by some $100 million per year. There is no doubt that the state’s regulatory system makes it a far-from-friendly place to operate. Anything that requires a state permit or approval – which seems to be just about every business activity — is almost certain to become mired in Minnesota’s bureaucracy; anything the Legislature can do to fix that long-standing problem would be welcome. Likewise, as we have noted previously, Minnesota’s budget process is long due for an overhaul. For decades, lawmakers have mostly just tinkered with a basic plan, slapping on so many band-aids and quick fixes that the way the state spends money has become quite detached from its needs. So far so good.

Unfortunately, in proposing tax breaks for businesses, Senate Republicans struck out. They provided absolutely no hint of how those tax breaks would fulfill their stated purpose – job creation – or, more importantly, how they would be paid for at a time when Minnesota is projected to face a $6 billion-plus deficit. Cutting taxes always sounds good, but unless there are some serious plans behind the plan, it all amounts to no more than politics as usual.

We’re glad that the Senate is taking a look at some things that need doing. We just hope that when it comes time to step up in a pressure situation – creating jobs while correcting the gigantic, looming deficit – lawmakers have a little more to offer than they have so far shown.

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