Podcast: Rep. David Bly and Sen. Kevin Dahle on the state budget crisis

David Bly, Kevin Dahle, Ross Currier Our guests this week, Rep. David Bly and Sen. Kevin Dahle, discussing Minnesota’s state budget crisis.

We spent an hour on the topic, so we’ve divided it into two shows. The first half-hour airs today at 5:30 pm and the second half-hour airs next Wed.

Ross did the solo host heavy lifting for the first show, as Tracy was panic shopping and I was stricken with an unexpectedly long nap.  I showed up for the second show, refreshed!

  • For the state budget, join the ongoing discussion on the blog post How would you balance the State’s short- and long-term budget problem?
  • For the big picture, defined by Ross as “Meshing Federal, State and Municipal Spending to Maximize Tax Payers’ Investment Leverage”, attach comments here.
  • Show 1:

    Show 2:

    Click play to listen. Each show is 30 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes.

    Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM and on Fridays at 4 PM on KRLX 88.1 FM.

    One Comment

    1. Ross Currier said:

      While I appreciate Griff’s description of my definition as “Meshing Federal, State and Municipal Spending to Maximize Tax Payers’ Investment Leverage”, I think he gives me too much credit for rhetorical restraint, political politeness, and Minnesota Nice. In my mind, it’s all about winning.

      Obama and his team have been talking about something like $750 billion of stimulus spending. The way I’m keeping score is simple, I want Minnesota in general and Northfield in particular to “win” more stimulus dollars per citizen than other communities.

      I started my proposition, and scorecard, with the City Hall project. My understanding of the project was that about $350,000 of the $1.2 million total was for energy-saving improvements. When I heard that some of the stimulus money was targeted for energy-saving improvements to municipal buildings, I asked why spend a local source of funds if it could be replaced with a federal source.

      I continued this line of argument with the Sibley School expansion. I’ve read that this type of project is another priority for the stimulus package. I’m hopeful that the School District’s revised plan is designed to try to take advantage of this potential alternative source of financing.

      When Griff and I hosted David and Kevin on the LoGro Show, I mentioned my belief that transportation projects were a familiar priority and process for such federal spending (although I didn’t bring up the almost mythical Jefferson Parkway Extension project). I also pressed on health care spending; with almost thirty percent of the State’s general fund operating budgets being used for that category, I thought that even a small shift in the sources of funding could have a substantial budgetary impact for Minnesota.

      I was told that the “silo mentality” of state staff and/or statutes made such strategies for using federal funds to free up state dollars rather challenging, at least in the area of health care. However, in a December 24th Wall Street Journal article, “Biden Says Stimulus Won’t Include Earmarks”, Melody Barnes, director of the Obama Domestic Policy Council said that “some of the funds would be used for preventive health care and health-insurance programs”. I strongly encourage Mr. Bly and Mr. Dahle to reinvigorate the efforts to shake the silos during these challenging times.

      The most important point that I’ve been trying to make is that I hope that our elected officials are directing their hired staff to devote some of their time to identifying, pursuing, and, ideally, securing some of the stimulus money to pay for at least a portion of at least a few state and municipal programs and policies in order to reduce the budgetary burden on local taxpayers. The more that we succeed at this effort, the bigger I would consider our “win” in the stimulus spending game.

      December 29, 2008