Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

House GOP agenda: Grow the economy

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Aside from getting government out of the way, the House Republican agenda is to ask businesses how the state can help them prosper, says the House GOP leader.

Advertisement
Advertisement

"We're going to ask how we can help the hybrid economy -- not get more money from Washington that came from China that's borrowed that we and our grandkids are going to have to pay back," says House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove.

"How can we stimulate the local economies and get the government out of the way, first and foremost, and how can we be of help?" Zellers said Wednesday evening in an interview.

Republicans will have a "God-honest respect for the tax dollars that we're taking in," he said.

Zellers was in Bemidji to push Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann, the Republican candidate opposing Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji.

"There's plenty of money in government right now," Zellers said. ?"We're going to have to tighten our belt but there's businesses all across the state and families all across the state that have had to do with a lower paycheck, with a city budget or county budget that's a lot smaller. State government should have to do the same thing."

The state faces nearly a $6 billion budget deficit in the next biennium, but Zellers said the hole can be filled with cutting state spending by prioritizing state services.

Also, the private sector needs to grow to add more tax revenue without tax hikes, he said.

"We need not just be concerned about keeping our jobs here, but let's go to South Dakota, let's go to Sioux Falls and bring some of their guys back," said the Devils Lake, N.D., native. "Let's go steal some jobs from South Dakota or Wisconsin or Iowa instead of just clinging onto those last few jobs here."

In battling the budget deficit, Zellers says it's more than just looking to eliminate agencies or programs.

""If you spend what you have, if you go in and zero-base budget, you ask agencies what did they spend it on last year," he said. "And what are going to plan on spending it on this year? If we give you 10 percent less or 20 percent less, how would you spend it?"

State government should only spend what it gets, he said, not unlike the family at the kitchen table with the checkbook.

"When you take care of the necessities first, pay those bills first, then you can look at what you need to have, then you can look at what you want," he said. "The state of Minnesota will have more money next year than it did this year, but it's just a matter of the expectations set so high so we need to spend more because we always spend more."

He noted that this is the first year that state government spent less than it did the previous year. "So the expectation is that we always have to spend more."

For example, Zellers said the state doesn't need 87 counties as distribution points for state programs. He suggested consolidation to fewer "distribution points."

"In some cases, Minnesota is at least 50 percent or 100 percent more generous than our states around us," Zellers also said. "Maybe with some of those programs we need to be at par with those other states so we're not a magnet for folks to come in."

Minnesota needs to take care of its vulnerable and those in nursing homes, he said, but not at 200 percent of what Wisconsin does.

"It's real easy to balance the budget, but you have to say -- not 'no' to everybody -- but we can't give as much," Zellers said. "It's a tough thing to do, but we're more than willing to do that."

With a freshman DFLer seeking re-election, Zellers said the House GOP Caucus is targeting the House 4A race.

"Mayor Lehmann is very popular up here, he's done the citizens' work," Zellers said. "Our candidates fit their districts better than the incumbent or the Democrat challenger."

He predicted that while the DFL will most likely retain control of the House, the Republicans hope to pick up 10 to 12 seats.

Y bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

Aside from getting government out of the way, the House Republican agenda is to ask businesses how the state can help them prosper, says the House GOP leader.

"We're going to ask how we can help the hybrid economy -- not get more money from Washington that came from China that's borrowed that we and our grandkids are going to have to pay back," says House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove.

"How can we stimulate the local economies and get the government out of the way, first and foremost, and how can we be of help?" Zellers said Wednesday evening in an interview.

Republicans will have a "God-honest respect for the tax dollars that we're taking in," he said.

Zellers was in Bemidji to push Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann, the Republican candidate opposing Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji.

"There's plenty of money in government right now," Zellers said. ?"We're going to have to tighten our belt but there's businesses all across the state and families all across the state that have had to do with a lower paycheck, with a city budget or county budget that's a lot smaller. State government should have to do the same thing."

The state faces nearly a $6 billion budget deficit in the next biennium, but Zellers said the hole can be filled with cutting state spending by prioritizing state services.

Also, the private sector needs to grow to add more tax revenue without tax hikes, he said.

"We need not just be concerned about keeping our jobs here, but let's go to South Dakota, let's go to Sioux Falls and bring some of their guys back," said the Devils Lake, N.D., native. "Let's go steal some jobs from South Dakota or Wisconsin or Iowa instead of just clinging onto those last few jobs here."

In battling the budget deficit, Zellers says it's more than just looking to eliminate agencies or programs.

""If you spend what you have, if you go in and zero-base budget, you ask agencies what did they spend it on last year," he said. "And what are going to plan on spending it on this year? If we give you 10 percent less or 20 percent less, how would you spend it?"

State government should only spend what it gets, he said, not unlike the family at the kitchen table with the checkbook.

"When you take care of the necessities first, pay those bills first, then you can look at what you need to have, then you can look at what you want," he said. "The state of Minnesota will have more money next year than it did this year, but it's just a matter of the expectations set so high so we need to spend more because we always spend more."

He noted that this is the first year that state government spent less than it did the previous year. "So the expectation is that we always have to spend more."

For example, Zellers said the state doesn't need 87 counties as distribution points for state programs. He suggested consolidation to fewer "distribution points."

"In some cases, Minnesota is at least 50 percent or 100 percent more generous than our states around us," Zellers also said. "Maybe with some of those programs we need to be at par with those other states so we're not a magnet for folks to come in."

Minnesota needs to take care of its vulnerable and those in nursing homes, he said, but not at 200 percent of what Wisconsin does.

"It's real easy to balance the budget, but you have to say -- not 'no' to everybody -- but we can't give as much," Zellers said. "It's a tough thing to do, but we're more than willing to do that."

With a freshman DFLer seeking re-election, Zellers said the House GOP Caucus is targeting the House 4A race.

"Mayor Lehmann is very popular up here, he's done the citizens' work," Zellers said. "Our candidates fit their districts better than the incumbent or the Democrat challenger."

He predicted that while the DFL will most likely retain control of the House, the Republicans hope to pick up 10 to 12 seats.

bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
randomness