In regard to the letter from Deb Lavoie, it is unbelievable that she demonizes me for my membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council. Does she not know that it is a nonprofit that consists of both Republican and Democrat legislators from across the country?
In fact, when I used to attend these meetings, I found the southern conservative Democrats among the best contributors for legislative ideas. In particular, their K-12 education ideas were ideas of reform and focused only on improving education in their states and I borrowed a few.
Secondly, I certainly appreciate the fact that Kay Goslinga said she did her homework on information contained in my 2012 legislative report. It is important for everyone to understand what the legislature accomplishes during a session because, unfortunately, government operates differently from the private sector.
In government accounting, for example, a surplus is projected when spending is reduced at the same time that the state treasury receives more revenue from sources such as income tax, sales tax and corporate tax. So, presently, a billion-dollar+ surplus is anticipated.
Just as important as this projected surplus, however, is how any extra revenue will be spent. According to statute, any borrowing from the cash flow account, the reserve account and the schools is repaid – in that order. I am happy to announce that both the cash flow and reserves have been repaid.
Even better, the percentage of the loan from schools (60/40) has been reduced almost to the level of borrowing that the DFL did in 2009-2010, which was 70/30 percent.
Moreover, an interesting fact for everyone to know is that the legislature enacted borrowing from schools along with the adoption of the Minnesota Miracle in the 1970s and in the early 1980s began to use this provision and continued using it throughout the 1990s, 2000s and the present.
But, this borrowing is not good policy. So to respond to this bad policy, I supported measures to prevent it and to repay the loans. However, when Senator Dave Brown and I introduced legislation in 2011 to limit the borrowing to 10 percent via a constitutional amendment, we were shunned by many colleagues, especially DFLers, who told us they want this provision in place.
Furthermore, when I supported allowing racinos at Canterbury and Running Aces to repay the school loan, I was rebuffed by the other side of the aisle.
I look forward to the 2013-2014 biennium to bring forth other measures to stop the bleeding from school funding and to continue to reduce spending to end the roller-coaster deficits that occur when spending gets out of control and/or the economy tanks.
Sondra Erickson, State Rep. District 16A Princeton