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Though we called him right, Rep. Downey got us wrong

Date Published: 02/24/2010


Although we didn't call out Rep. Keith Downey by name when we praised his Minnesota Sunset Commission proposal last week, he was one of the bill's sponsors.

In addition to supporting the Republican bill, Dane Smith wrote in "Idea of 'sunset commission' deserves a look":

Lots of great ideas are proliferating as our elected officials and conscientious citizens grapple with our decade-long budget crisis. Revenues need to be raised and perhaps restored to the levels that worked well for us when our economy was doing much better. But creative new initiatives like the bi-partisan Minnesota House Redesign Caucus can only be a good thing.   

We know it's a busy time for the legislature, so we don't expect Rep. Downey to read everything we have to say about government reform, even when it's supporting something he wants to do.

But it would be nice if he'd at least read carefully the commentary we wrote about taxes and the budget, before dismissing it in a letter to the editor in today's Star Tribune. He's simply incorrect in stating that we think:

government deserves a certain percentage of our statewide personal income, regardless of whether it could do the job for less. And worse, that we shouldn't try to improve!

Read our commentary for yourself. Here's one excerpt:

Here's a wiser, sustainable course toward restoring the economy and closing a three-year projected shortfall of about $5 billion: Cut more judiciously, vigorously pursue government redesign to improve efficiency and raise taxes by as much as $1 billion a year.

Reform, measurement and accountability that deliver more value for tax dollars has always been part of the Growth & Justice agenda. We also said: 

Minnesotans are right to want the right price for government and the best quality possible. We need to set goals and improve government performance. Initiatives by foundations and civic groups are underway to redesign our most costly governmental systems so that we get better results for the dollars we spend. And we must insist that our new governor bring energy to restoring Minnesota

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