Highlights of the budget forecast, from Tom Stinson, the state economist: Here's the entire budget forecast.
Why are so many jobs being lost when the state has been approving record bonding bills. "It takes awhile for jobs to materialize under bonding bills," according to Stinson. "We've had an enormous depression in the housing construction industry... it's an enormous turnaround. You just can't overcome that overnight."
I saw three Minnesota Public Radio reporters at the news conference. Expect a plethora of coverage on tonight's All Things Considered broadcast.
If this were happening in a company or organization there would be an immediate look to reorganize and become more efficient. All the government and school will ever say is we need to cut or we need more money.
Now is the time for the government to look at itself and find ways to become more efficient at all levels including cities, townships, counties and states. Same with schools.
The issue comes down to the fact, that jobs will be lost if more efficiencies are found. Who wants to cut their job. If they dropped down to 10 counties that is 77 less Sheriff positions (which could mean more police on the road). In schools it would mean fewer Superintendents and other admin staff (which might mean more classroom teachers).
A perfect example of this is several years ago the University was left with the same budget for the extension service and it had to change. With an more complex farm environment and other areas it serviced it needed more specialists and less generalists (an extension agent in each county). It created about 15 regions around the State and it provides much better service for the same price.
Running state government is fundamentally different from running a business. It is different from running a department at the University. And it is different from a family figuring out its budget at the kitchen table.
We can certainly look for and find efficiencies, but only if we recognize how very, very complex state government is.