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Paynesville Press - Oct. 27, 2010

Minnesota Senate District 18
Scott Newman

Scott Newman

Scott Newman (R-Hutchin-son) is an administrative law judge and attorney who previously served two terms in the Minnesota House. (Incumbent Sen. Steve Dille (R-Dassel) is retiring from the legislature.)

Why are you interested in serving in the Legislature? I have the education, experience, and desire to try and change the direction our elected officials have taken us and the passion to protect future generations from the debt that will be their inheritance if we do nothing. I honestly feel I can improve the chances our grandchildren will have for success, but feel we must act now, in this election or the American Dream will be only something they hear about in history class.

What, if any, state revenue increases could you support? Dayton and Horner do propose tax increases. Emmer does not. Rather, his position is, and I agree, the government - like private business and personal households - must learn to live within their budget. Minnesota has approximately 5.5 million people on whom the state spent $30 billion in 2010. I will support a tax increase only and if it can be shown that we have no waste, duplication of services, and the 600 departments, commissions, boards and agencies that make up our state government are all necessary.

Describe an out-of-the-box solution to help the budget. Mandate zero-balance budgeting every biennium from every agency. This would require agencies to justify current needs and take government spending off "autopilot." Require by law that the Legislature pass a budget bill prior to passing any spending bills. Currently the Legislature passes only a "budget resolution," which is not binding. Consequently the legislature passes spending bills and then tries to figure out how to pay for them. The Legislature handles their budget backwards.

Pass meaningful tax reductions, which would give business the incentive to invest in the economy. Combine or eliminate unnecessary agencies, departments, boards, and commissions. Repeal or amend the unnecessary rules, regulations, and statutes that together with Minnesota's tax structure are driving private business and jobs out of Minnesota and into other states and countries. Limit the authority of state agencies to administrative actions only. Allowing agencies the authority to enforce the rules they have written and under which they operate leads to abuses that rob our citizens of their personal freedom and severely hampers the ability of private business to succeed.

Take a strong 10th Amendment stance on federal mandates, which too often come with huge costs to our taxpayers. Prohibit by statute the use of taxpayer funds to hire lobbyists for any purpose. Think about the insanity of a local unit of government using its tax money to try and get more tax money from the state for Local Government Aid or bonding projects. Are we not already paying our elected officials for that service?

Prohibit funding of non-profit corporations with taxpayer money. To often, nonprofits serve the same or similar functions as state agencies leaving taxpayers to pay for duplicative services. Where appropriate, force jobs out of the public sector and into the private sector, which generally speaking is more efficient.

Bring pay and benefits for public sector jobs into conformity with the private sector. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, public employees earn on average 44 percent more per hour than those holding similar positions in the private sector.

If you were king (or queen), how would you balance the state budget? I would implement the changes under question #4, create an atmosphere friendly to private enterprise, and then let entrepreneurs do what they do best...create jobs and make money.

With the Vikings lease expiring after 2011, what state role do you support in building a new Vikings stadium? The Vikings are a private business owned by a private individual. I would treat them the same as any other business and that is to try and create a business-friendly state where they can prosper. I would not use taxpayer funds to build a new stadium for the Vikings any sooner than I would build a new office building for, say, 3M or Hutchinson Technology Incorporated.

(7) Be civil, courteous, and recognize that the legislators you are dealing with are just as passionate about their issues as you are about yours. Then begin working towards what is best for your constituents and the state.

(8) Pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting them.

(9) Fully fund education together with mandates for accountability and choice. Completely reform the makeup of state agencies, how they are funded, and the authority they wield. Illegal immigration and the public safety issues it poses.

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