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Minnesota at crossroads, redesign needed more than ever

Minnesota has reached a crossroads: our population is both aging and changing, persistent budget deficits illustrate the need for structural change, and our state government must adapt to the growing demands of our citizens in light of globalization and technological advancements.

We need to improve outcomes and lower costs by redesigning the way we do business in Minnesota.

I am not a pioneer in this area, rather a legislator inspired by this growing movement. For this generation and the next we must be bold in order to get better results at a better price. At the Legislature, a citizen's comment Web site and hotline have been created. A bipartisan redesign caucus has also been formed, co-chaired by Reps. Diane Loeffler, Carol McFarlane, Dean Urdahl and myself, to help keep the ball rolling on this important issue.

Redesign is not a new concept, but in this time of a struggling economy and big budget deficits, it could not be more important. Minnesota has always been a pioneer in government innovation and redesign and it is time we take reports off the shelf and work on redesigning the way we operate our government.

Pioneers in redesign are among us. Peter Hutchinson and David Osborne are national leaders in the reinventing government movement. Ted Kolderie, former head of the Citizen's League, carefully developed the notion of Public Sector Redesign and led the effort to create charter schools. The Civic Caucus, a group of elders and emerging leaders, has developed a platform to discuss the urgency of this matter in light of our structural deficit.

The Association of Minnesota Counties, their Executive Director Jim Mulder and county commissioners have been pioneers in the local government redesign movement in advancing ideas and approaches to increase outcomes for our citizens while reducing costs. The major foundations in Minnesota, in coordination with the Public Strategies Group, commissioned a 2009 report entitled Minnesota's Bottom Line that details a number of redesign initiatives in many areas including health care, public safety and taxes. We must follow these efforts and have the courage to redesign Minnesota's system.

This redesign effort also needs your help. We will need your comments and ideas in order to move forward with these exciting opportunities in redesigning Minnesota for a brighter future. Please visit the comment line at or 651-297-8391 for the metro or 1-800-551-5520 for greater Minnesota.

Paul Marquart, DFL-Glyndon, is a member of the Minnesota House.