Legislators must back up actions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Now that the senate and house have both overriden Gov.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Now that the senate and house have both overriden Gov. Jesse Ventura’s veto of their hastily and privately crafted budget-balancing bill, voters need to be particularly careful to hold legislators accountable for their actions.

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The bill, designed to quickly correct a gigantic looming deficit, might be a necessary short-term move, but it falls far short of correcting the state’s long-term budget problems.

Working behind closed doors, lawmakers cobbled together this bill, which would eliminate the state’s projected 2002-2003 budget deficit – primarily by using up budget reserves and making other one-time changes.

Legislative leaders claim the bill also takes a big bite out of a $2.5 billion deficit projected for 2004-2005. What the bill does not do is raise taxes or cut much spending in politically sensitive areas. That, in turn, raises suspicions that lawmakers who face re-election this fall took the easy way out.

Minnesotans need to insist that lawmakers put their noses back to the grindstone during the rest of this legislative session to hammer out policies that will truly correct the 2004-2005 deficit before that, too, becomes a crisis.

Now that the House has overriden the veto, it will be easy for lawmakers to claim they have saved the day with last week’s Band-Aid approach. Voters need to insist that lawmakers look further down the road than this fall before they adjourn.