I continue to post regularly at the Star Tribune as a member of the Your Voices forum. My most recent post relates to the current state budget problems in Minnesota, where the Legislature and Governor continue to disagree about an appropriate fiscal response to recession and to the structural imbalance in the budget existing before the economic downturn.
Multi-billion dollar deficits don't come with easy fixes; plans relying exclusively on service cuts or tax increases are similarly painful to implement. This biennium, the Governor is using an executive power known as unallotment at an unprecedented level, to reduce spending unilaterally. From property taxes to transportation infrastructure, this approach is sure to impact those of us involved in redevelopment and placemaking.
Already, forecasts have been presented suggesting that this deficit is not a product of recession alone, but another iteration of a chronic budget imbalance. Jay Keidrowski, former finance commissioner, and nonpartisan Minnesota Senate Research analysis indicates the budget deficit for the next biennium (2011-12) to be in the $4.5 – $4.9 billion range.