Posted at 12:45 PM on July 5, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Two former Minnesota lawmakers have organized a panel to make recommendations on ending the state's budget stalemate.
MPR's Tim Nelson has the story:
Minneapolis -- Two senior statesmen of Minnesota politics have stepped forward to try to help end the state government shutdown.
Former Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, a Democrat, said today they will assembled a blue-ribbon panel of political and finance experts to help resolve the state's budget impasse.
Carlson said he hopes the group will work quickly.
"Our fear is that large sums of money, large interests will come into Minnesota, and cause a freezing of attitude and a digging in, a retrenchment if you will -- making it very, very difficult for compromise to become a reality," said Carlson.
Carlson and Mondale won't serve on the panel. They say it will be co-chaired by Republican former state Sen. Stephen Dille and Democratic former state Rep. Wayne Simoneau.
Other members include a former Northwest Bank president, a Medtronic vice president and two former state finance commissioners.
The commission will also include Gov. Mark Dayton's budget commissioner, Jim Schowalter.
Carlson told reporters he hopes the panel will finish the proposal and present it by Friday, because of the urgency of resolving the budget stalemate.
Update: Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty had this to say about the duo's commission:
"Walter Mondale ran for president against Ronald Reagan on a platform that called for higher taxes. Arne Carlson supported John Kerry, Barack Obama and other Democrats. It should surprise no one that they both support more spending and higher taxes in Minnesota. We did it the right way for the last eight years, with dramatically lower spending and tax cuts. I commend the Republicans in the Legislature for sticking to their guns, even when politicians of the past call for old-fashioned high tax and spend solutions.
"The last budget on my watch ended last week with a positive balance. The projected deficit for the upcoming two years is based on large projected spending increases, which I never would have allowed as governor. Minnesota government is shutdown because of Democrats' insistence on Obama-esque solutions to increase spending and raise taxes."
It's worth noting that Carlson left his successor, former Gov. Jesse Ventura, with a healthy budget surplus of nearly $2 billion, while Pawlenty left Dayton with a $5 billion deficit.
Bravo ! Thank God there are still people out there that want to work together to solve problems. Great work and great idea!
I think having some mediation by thoughtful, experienced people who haven't been stupid enough to use a word like "never" is terrific. I don't understand why both sides of this budget issue don't split the difference in the next 30 minutes. There is no room for intransigence in a democracy, particularly when voters clearly had something to say when electing the present players.
Vance, how can the dem's split the difference when the repub say NO revenue increases. The dems have gone way more that half way when it comes to cuts.
The offer by Mondale and Carlson should be welcomed by both sides for 2 reasons: 1) Their approach will replace posturing and ideological rigidity with statesmanship, respect and shared sacrifice, and 2) their involvement will reveal the current participants to be the real unnecessary part of government.
I strongly support the commission.