May 11, 2012As the Minnesota Legislature adjourns for the year, the Citizens League is asking Minnesotans whether what they've just witnessed is the best we can do as a state, or an indication that better results next year are possible.
"Will our state's economic health improve as a result of this session? Did legislators' actions make Minnesota a more livable place for future generations?" asked Sean Kershaw, the Citizens League's executive director. "Nobody is surprised that our political institutions are not delivering the results that we need. The question is whether the bipartisanship and hard work we saw at the end of the session - whatever you think of the stadium deal - can be applied to issues that really matter to our future economic health and quality of life."A herculean effort at session's end managed to assemble enough lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass the Vikings stadium bill and a bonding bill, but another chance to deal with the priorities Minnesotans identified through our Common Cents state budget and tax reform workshops over the last two years has slipped through our fingers, Kershaw said. Hundreds of Minnesotans around the state have told the Citizens League the outcomes they want from state government - reforming K-12 education, making sure higher education delivers better outcomes, creating fairer and more transparent tax structures, and finding spending cuts where possible but not relying on them exclusively - yet they appear farther away with each session, he said. The Citizens League believes we need an entirely new approach to policy making to achieve those outcomes. Current public policy discussions fail to utilize what the Citizens League refers to as Common Ground Principles, which require everyone with a stake in the outcome of an important decision to be involved authentically in its making. They derive from our unique civic policy-making approach, which emphasizes that every organization and individual has a role in solving public policy problems, not just those in the halls of power and not just those on one side of the political aisle or another. Kershaw is available to discuss why this session was so ugly, which important questions about our economic health and quality of life went unaddressed, and why nobody should be surprised at the outcomes. He can also address some of the more modest successes of this session and where people should look for solutions in the future (hint: it's not inside the Capitol). Contact Communications Manager Larry Schumacher at lschumacher[at]citizensleague.org or 320-492-7747 to arrange an interview.
Posted by lschumacher at May 11, 2012 1:37 PM