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Paynesville Press - Oct. 27, 2010

Minnesota House District 13A
Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson (R-Starbuck), who farms near Starbuck, is serving his first term in the Minnesota House.

Why are you interested in serving in the Legislature? I am a former township official, school board member, and county commissioner, so I have the background to work with the various areas of state government that affect local units of government. In addition, with two years of experience in the legislature, I am more familiar with how the system works and will be better able to represent the people of District 13A. I care about the future, and I care about the residents of this district and want to be part of the process that gets our state out of its current deficit and headed down the road to renewed prosperity once again.

What, if any, state revenue increases could you support? I would certainly look at revenue increases, but that is not my first choice to balance the budget. Additional cuts need to be made in the size of state government, but having said that, I'm not sure there are $6 billion available to be cut that wouldn't severely impact the state's ability to deliver the services it needs to. The education shift money, approximately $2 billion, is part of that budget deficit number, and I don't see any way that can be paid back this year or next. So the real number we need to make up to close the deficit during the next session is closer to $4 billion, which is a bit more manageable.

Describe an out-of-the-box solution to help the budget. One small example is to make use of technology and combine some of the IT systems and staff members in St. Paul. One study I saw said we could save several million dollars a year by making this area more efficient.

Another would be for state employees to take a zero percent pay raise in the next round of negotiations. Others (teachers as an example) have been encouraged to do this, and the state should set an example. Another would be to put tighter restrictions on welfare benefits, such as requiring that they be used or spent entirely in Minnesota.

If you were king (or queen), how would you balance the state budget? With the exception of K-12 education and veterans' benefits, I would make across-the-board cuts in each department. If these cuts became so drastic that state services would be severely impacted, I would look at some kind of revenue increase to soften those cuts.

With the Vikings lease expiring after 2011, what state role do you support in building a new Vikings stadium? The state should serve as the facilitator in negotiations between the team and a local unit of government that steps forward wanting to host the team and a new stadium. The funding should come primarily from team ownership and user fees, but if these weren't sufficient, the state should look at some kind of gambling option as a method of raising additional revenue without relying on current state funds.

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