MN Governor Candidates Agree- Pawlenty’s JOBZ A Failure (CC)

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Video courtesy University of St. Thomas

Gubernatorial candidates Tom Horner, Tom Emmer, and Mark Dayton speak at a moderated panel discussion on business issues.  The forum was held at the University of St. Thomas – Downtown Minneapolis Campus and was hosted by the University of St. Thomas and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

The introduction was made by Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal publisher Tammy Mencel and moderated by University of St. Thomas Dean Dr. Christopher Puto.  The forum was held on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 from 8:30am – 10:00am.

Video of this debate with captioning added by The UpTake can be found here.

Related coverage:

Star Tribune Candidates agree, JOBZ didn’t work:

To read a transcript of the entire debate, continue reading.Moderator: Now let us begin with the business of this forum. We’ll begin with an opening statement by each candidate

Mark Dayton: Thank you very much. I want to begin by acknowledging my friend and former competitor Senator Dave Durenberger. Sitting in the back there (applause) I don’t think he’s supporting either one of us Tom.

Tom Emmer: Actually he is, he just doesn’t know it yet.

Mark Dayton: Former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton (applause) I apologize if I’ve left anyone else out. You know, I served twice as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Economic development and back in that time Minnesota was consistently one of the best states in the nation for employment growth, for personal income growth. And I asked business why would you locate, why would you expand in Minnesota? We had progressive taxes back then. And the answer was almost always the same. Well-educated, productive, hard-working citizens. Good infrastructure. Good health care. Good quality of life. Good state and local services. And it’s those key ingredients, the foundation of our former success that we have sacrificed in the last decade. We have overcrowded classrooms all over the state. We have school districts going to four-day school weeks, not for educational reasons but because the lack of funds. Tuition at our state colleges and universities are increasingly unaffordable for Minnesota families and their children. And the advantages we’ve offered, the infrastructure, let me go back and say is deteriorated. I’ve driven thousands of miles around the state in the last few months. I’m sure my worthy competitors have done the same. I can attest to the deterioration of our highways system in greater Minnesota and the just unending and ever worsening congestion here in the metropolitan area. So if you look, go back there, the reasons we were successful, the reasons we had a good economic growth, those reasons have been sacrificed and I think this debate will articulate what we need to do to address that.

Moderator: Thank you very much Senator. Representative Emmer?

Tom Emmer: What was it, was it two or …

Moderator: Two minutes. He did it right on… I was watching. He hit it right smack on.

Mark Dayton: (holding up clock) My sons made me switch to this. (laughter)

Tom Emmer: I just have a pain buzzer. It will hit me… I . Hi, my name is Tom Emmer. Thank you for being here. Thank you to the University for hosting this. Thank you to the Business Journal for being part of this and I … your honor and Senator, thank you for being here and all you others who…. that are so interested in the future of our state. You know, I agree. We can’t , We can’t stay where we’re at today. I think we all know what the issue is. But we got to remember we got a great state. This is a state where today, I think it’s a perfect example where we have grown government based on a 1970s model called the Minnesota Miracle… a tax and spend model of government where we just keep allowing government to grow and today we have so much government in the state of Minnesota it is literally starving the private economy. It is literally sucking the air out of the private economy. It’s about balance. It’s not about having no government. It’s not about having the lowest cost of government. It’s about being competitive. It’s about making sure we have a 21st century model of government about a new Minnesota miracle. And I believe a new Minnesota miracle would have 3M expanding in Minnesota for the first time in years. It would be Marvin Windows expanding in this state. And it’s going to take reducing taxes not raising taxes and more importantly, it’s going to take a complete reform of our overly burdensome regulatory system in the state of Minnesota. We’re going to talk about this today in many different ways. But I going to tell you, this is not a Republican, Independent, Democrat viewpoint. This is common sense. It’s happening all across this country. You look at other states that are practicing big government models and they are dying. You look at states that are taking a look at what their tax policy and what their regulatory policy is and they’re experiencing a rebirth. That can be Minnesota. It should be Minnesota. And that’s what we offer.

Moderator: Thank you. Mister Horner?

Tom Horner: Well, thank you very much for inviting us for hosting us and thank you very much for the two minutes. When I came in Emmer told me we only got one minute. That he and Dane had voted so. (laughter) I’m pleased to learn that my time has doubled.

Tom Emmer: Sorry, I didn’t mean to throw you off.

Moderator: Ask and ye shall receive.

Tom Horner: You know, I think the issue really that that we need to debate and discuss in this forum and in all the forums going forward is what’s division for Minnesota? What kind of a Minnesota do we want to live in? I think the two critical questions for the candidates but also for the people of Minnesota is “what kind of a state do we want and what are we willing to do for it? ” We’ve had a budget process and we saw it earlier this year in 2010 coming from the legislature where the budget is being solve as a math problem. Do the numbers add up. Well, when the legislature was done, the numbers did add up. The adds up for state legislatures. They don’t add up for school districts around the state that are having to go to four-day weeks. They don’t add up for communities that have had to cut basic services; fire and police. And they certainly don’t add up for all of those Minnesotans who are playing by the rules. All of those Minnesotans who just want an opportunity for themselves, for their families, for their children to be able to live and grow in Minnesota in a state that provides good economic opportunities. That provides outdoor recreation. That provides major league arts and sports and that provides a high quality of life. Good schools, good infrastructure, good job opportunities . And my vision of Minnesota isn’t just in the budget that I released yesterday. If you look at it as a set of numbers. It is in what that budget represents as a strategic road map. You know, I know we’re going to hear a lot from my two friends to the left here about how horrible it is that I’m suggesting we raise sales tax. Well, not so horrible that Governor Pawlenty’s 21st Century Commission on Tax Reform didn’t recommend the same thing. Not so horrible that a group like Growth and Justice on the other side of the political spectrum didn’t support the same kind of proposal. But that’s not really the critical issue. The critical issue is how are we going to invest the money. And my proposal says we ought to invest it in job growth. In creating new opportunities for research and development. In investing in research at the University of Minnesota. In early learning. In making sure that our students are coming into school prepared for success. That’s the opportunity we have in Minnesota. That’s the strategic road map that I lay out in the budget and that’s what I’m looking forward to discussing with you this morning.

Moderator: Thank you very much Mister Horner.
[10:56] Well all right. We will now move to the first of our questions. And I’l say the question all the way through once. If any of the candidates would like me to repeat it at their turn, please just say so. And we’re going to begin this with Senator Dayton.
Several years ago the legislative auditor criticized JOBZ, the jobs program as largely being ineffective in its stated goals – creating jobs. If elected Governor, what would you do with JOBZ? Would you replace it or take some other action?

Mark Dayton: Well, when I was Commissioner of Economic Development I learned that we are in fierce competition with other states and certainly other states around us as I’ve learned in my 110 community meetings with a lot of business people have continued that practice. Wisconsin for example has a… I believe it’s a five percent bidding preference for in-state bids on their contracts. A contractor in Bagley Minnesota told me that if he takes a highway construction job in South Dakota he has to pay their tax equal to two percent of the value of the capitol equipment he brings across the line, which obviously in a highway construction project takes a great deal of value there. So we do need to recognize that we need to be competitive. In fact back in 1983 coming out of the recession then Governor Perpich, the legislature provided what were called then ‘enterprise zone credits’. And I went up to Thief River Falls and awarded the first credits to a seven person company called ArcGo which is now Arctic Cat that employs about 1,600 people. So that’s what you want to do with this kind of targeted incentive. It ought to be targeted to manufacturing. It ought to be new or expanding. It ought to be job creating. They ought to be prevailing wage jobs, good jobs. They should not be jobs that are being transferred from one part of the state to the other. I think the criticisms, I recall the legislative auditor made was that it was not a targeted program. There were incentives for moving a location from one part of Minnesota to another. There was retail and other commercial development, which is fine. But again I thing you have to be very selective and you have to focus on where you want to create jobs that would not occur otherwise. And that’s principally manufacturing . That’s especially in areas of greater Minnesota or economically distressed areas of the Metropolitan area, where you’re going to need that additional incentive to make something happen that wouldn’t otherwise. Sometime that’s a subjective decision as I learned back then. But none of that is a substitute for the basic ingredients that I described earlier which is to create a good climate for economic growth for all businesses in Minnesota. And that should always be our number one concern.

Moderator: Thank you Senator. Representative Emmer?

Tom Emmer: The question was what would you do about JOBZ right?

Moderator: If elected Governor what will you do with JOBZ? Would you replace it or take some other action?

Tom Emmer: And Senator I’ve read your stuff. You suggest that you’d cut it. And I saw some 89-90 Million that you would cut out of that. But I would say that looking at it, it’s the one place where I probably disagree, one of the places I disagree with the current Governor. I think his heart was in the right place. He was looking for ways… and it’s this attitude that comes from the legislature… we’re going to make something happen …these are your words Senator … that wouldn’t happen otherwise. It’s this attitude that government somehow creates jobs. Government doesn’t create jobs . Government just gets in the way. Yeah it can create a temporary job with a bonding bill or with some other government employment but in terms of growing our economic wealth, growing revenue that ultimately drives what you expect out of government, it is the private sector. It is leaving Entrepreneurs who understand what risk is all about. Government doesn’t understand what risk is all about. They understand risk. We want to give them the opportunity to take risks and create opportunities not only for themselves but for others.

When it comes to JOBZ, I think even if you disagree with it, there are people out there that have invested significant amounts of time and money. And you must honor those commitments . A new administration does not come in and simply pull the legs out from underneath significant investment of blood sweat and tears that these people have made. By the same token you’ve got to incent border to border job growth and you do it by reducing taxes. And you do it by getting rid of unnecessary and excessive regulation. And I’ll tell you, as an example of how bad our regulatory process has gotten, I got a note from a farmer down south that took a load about three-quarters of a truck load of grain to the elevator the other day. He got pulled over by a MNDOT inspector and he said everything was fine. Checked my licenses , checked the permits. I know I was within weight. Guess what? We actually have a weight restriction per axel. So one axel was overweight because the load wasn’t level by several hundred pounds and that person got fined almost $300. This has gotten out of hand. Government simply gets in the way and frustrates people’s ability to create opportunities. That’s what we need to for border to border. It’s about jobs. It’s about the private sector and growing it.

Moderator: Thank you, and Mister Horner, same question. [15:50]

Tom Horner: Well I agree with Representative Emmer that that we just can’t pull the rug out from under those companies that now are dependent on JOBZ. But I also believe strongly that we ought to make the transition away from those kinds of subsidies as anybody objectively who has examined JOBZ has has concluded, it is a program that isn’t creating enough new jobs for the money that we’re putting into it. It’s not creating enough new wealth. But the issue really isn’t just how do you create a healthier economic environment through spending cuts or tax reform. It also is the challenge of how do you make sure that our communities around the state are able to compete. Go back and understand the purpose of JOBZ was to give smaller communities, rural communities an economic advantage so that they could attract businesses to their communities. And we have to be thoughtful about what we replace it with. Just cutting taxes, cutting spending isn’t enough. So the the proposal I’ve put out speaks very directly to how we reinvigorate our communities. How we restore the vitality to our communities around the state. And it’s going to come in a couple areas. One is that we need to make sure they have the resources to invest in their infrastructure. To build out their their industrial parks. To build out ultra-high speed broadband. So that they can compete with an economic base. We also need to make sure that these communities can leverage the regional economic assets they have. And so the Horner-Mulder plan talked about making sure that we’re investing in research for example at the two and four year schools that can be commercialized in new Minnesota businesses, creating new jobs in rural communities. That we have our two-year schools tied directly to the regional assets, the regional economies of our communities. And that we’re we’re making smart investments in our physical infrastructure. I mean I understand when Representative Emmer talks about the regulatory relief that we need and I agree with him, but part of the problem is not just the load weight limitations on axels, it’s that we don’t have enough ten ton roads to get product to market. We need to make that kind of investment. And lastly we need to make sure that we’re providing life-long learning opportunities. That our vo-tech schools are strong. That adults can go back and and refine the skills that they have and that our small manufacturing plants that that are critically important to our smaller communities have the resources to invest in new equipment that then people can be trained to run that new equipment and compete effectively with companies not just in other parts of Minnesota but around the globe.

Moderator: Thank you. Second question and we’ll begin this time with Representative Emmer. Many of you discuss wanting to create a new economy in Minnesota based on green jobs and high tech. However, to create that economy workers have to be prepared and trained for those jobs. What specific programs would you recommend to develop the workforce for these new jobs and how will you fund this training? Representative”

Tom Emmer: The ahh.. first off … I don’t think we should distinguishing between jobs. I think all we care about is that we are creating new jobs. People talk about green jobs, they’re talking about alternative forms of energy. Looking for the next efficient economically affordable source of energy that will drive our economy. But you know, we have all sorts of opportunities that go beyond wind and solar and other things that we talk about. We got ahh… We got the ah… I think it’s four hundred thousand barrels right now of petroleum that are being produced out of North Dakota. We’ve got nuclear options that absolutely must be explored. Too many people in our state and I think in our country are still living under the assumption that nuclear is the same today as it was back in the 70s and that’s far from reality. We have a company in Arden Hills, Minnesota right now that is building nuclear plants around the world and they can’t build one in Minnesota. So I think it goes well beyond just talking about green jobs and then we’ve got to talk about our education system. Without a doubt, we’ve got some of the best teachers in the world, certainly in the country, but I think in the world. But we’ve got a system that is really become controlled by the union leadership as opposed to by parents on behalf of the students and the teachers. And we’ve got to start addressing that. It’s not only early childhood we need to look at, in terms of ages three and four, but it’s the rest of the experience. We’ve got parents out there who believe their kids are not getting as good as an education as we got. That is a fact. And we got to start addressing it. We gotta…we gotta have real reform within our education system not just talk about it going forward.

Moderator: Thank you very much. Mister Horner.

Tom Horner: Well, I think we ought to take a look at at new technology in energy against five criteria. First of all we do need to make sure that if we are going to invest in subsidies that we have to make sure the taxpayers are protected like any other investor. So what’s the return on investment? Is there clear accountability? Is there a clear return? And is there clear accountability.
Secondly we do need to make sure it is environmentally safe — we’re doing the smart thing. That we’re protecting the the environment.
Third we need to make sure we’re including conservation in an energy policy. Too often we talk about new sources and forget that the cheapest form of energy is the energy we don’t use. We need to make sure , fourthly, that we’re meeting the needs of a new economy. That we’re having safe, reliable, affordable energy.
And fifth, in doing all of this Minnesota needs to keep the cost advantage that it already has against the east and west coast. We can’t lose that advantage. It is a critical distinguishing point for Minnesota. And we can do all of this and still invest in new energy and we do it in part by pursuing the recommendation I’ve made to invest in research at our two and four year schools. Applied and basic research. We ought to be a knowledge state that is producing the new ideas , the innovation, the new technologies. And I will disagree with Representative Emmer, I don’t think a job is a job is a job. I think we need to be creating jobs that people can depend on . That are going to be good well-paying career jobs that will sustain themselves in a new economy. That will be there for families as they they ahh grow and save for the future. Those are the kinds of jobs that we need to create. That’s going to come through becoming the knowledge state, investing in innovation , investing in the smart things that do distinguish Minnesota.

Moderator: Thank you. Senator Dayton.

Mark Dayton: Well, Representative Emmer, you’re against green energy. You said that in various ways. So I can understand why you didn’t respond to the specifics of the question. But, and I believe the next question is about specifically we do to invest in green energy. So I’ll save my…that part of the question. But in terms of the job aspect of it…that’s a key role for the Minnesota technical colleges and one of the areas in which we disinvested from that is exemplified by the business manager of the Wadena technical college who said that in 1990 they had a capitol budget one million dollars a year . This last year they had a capitol budget of ten thousand dollars a year. If we don’t invest to allow our technical colleges to be able to equip our students with the ready knowledge that they’ll need to be …move into these industries then we’re obviously not going to be serving the needs of business. And the lead does need to come from business. I would agree with Representative Emmer when he said before about the private sector is job creation. Again this has been a critical partnership in the past. The technical colleges and non-profits I’d also add such as Summit Academy here in Minneapolis that trains young and middle aged workers or at risk youth especially and these kind of opportunities to insulate buildings, to retrofit and to create the new jobs in that industry. But there needs to be a match then between the businesses and the technical colleges and the non-profit training institutes. For example in Roseau you got Polaris industries . They take a high school students, juniors and seniors, and they spend their mornings in classes, they spend their afternoons training at Polaris. Those are the kind of linkages we need to encourage. Whether it be high school, technical colleges or non-profits and the state then needs to make strategic investments both in the research aspect of that, but also in the job training and particularly as I say in equipping these institutions to provide these young people with the hands on experiences, the training they’ll need in order to make those connections and move into those jobs of the future.

Moderator: Thank you Senator [24:46] As you may have surmised, the next question follows very closely on what our candidates have already raised but it just focuses a little bit more specifically on energy. So let me offer this question. What are the specific actions you would take to promote the development of a clean energy industry and market in this state? In particular, what technologies aside from wind will be supported given wind energy’s current challenges relating to cost, availability? And finally, would you support repealing the state’s moratorium on additional nuclear power? So I’ll start with Mr. Horner.

Tom Horner: Well as I said, I think we’re going to need to make investments in all kinds of alternative energies, in biomass, in solar, in hydro. I do think that we ought to lift the moratorium on nuclear energy not because we need necessarily to build more nuclear, but we better have an honest transparent discussion about what we do with the waste at the MInnesota nuclear power plants and i don’t think we get to that kind of honest discussion as long as we take the whole topic off the table. But the only way we’re going to grow an alternative energy in Minnesota is if we trust our two and four year schools to be leading in the kind of research that’s important for Minnesota. To grow these kinds of of industries through knowledge, through innovation, through new technologies. We’re fortunate in Minnesota that we have one of the finest research universities in the country. We need to strengthen it. We need to make it better. But we also need to fund it in some specific areas. We need to to make research a separate line item in the state budget not just because we need to fund it to drive these kinds of technologies, alternative energy and in other areas, but because we need to have a statewide conversation around how important it is for Minnesota to be a state of innovation. To be a state that invests in the future. To be a state that is growing and dependent upon new technologies. That’s the future of Minnesota. We’re not going to compete on the basis of being a low-cost state. We’re going to compete on the basis of being a smart state. Of being a knowledge state. It’s not enough just to say any job is a job is a job. It is more important to say we need those good well paying career jobs that are in the cutting edge technologies that MInnesota wants, that Minnesota deserves and that we ought to have for all Minnesotans.

Moderator: Thank you. Senator Dayton.

Mark Dayton: Let me answer the nuclear part of it first. I would oppose lifting the nuclear moratorium. We don’t need to lift the moratorium to have an honest discussion about the waste and how to… what to do with that. I spent six years in the US Senate looking at the issue of Yucca Mountain. The experts at the US Department of Energy spent more than a decade analyzing and assessing that was the best possible site. One Democratic Senator, one Republican Senator and 99.9 percent of Nevada all said we will over our strident opposition would that site be used as a national repository. There were also significant issues involved with taking the wastes that are now at about a hundred commercial sites, and we’re fortunate that Xcel has been responsible and has done a far better job than many sites in terms of the proper safeguards, And they’re probably approximately a similar number of military sites as well and until we figure out how to transport nuclear waste from those sites or to utilize in some other fashion, and to transport either located somewhere or as I say to recycle it, I think it would be irresponsible to foist upon our children and our grandchildren and their children and grandchildren something where we have this kind of highly radioactive materials that are going to be left for them to deal with.

In terms of alternative energy, I would follow the model of the University of Minnesota Morris. Which has retrofitted the buildings there for more efficient energy use. Puts people to work the building trades. Retrofit the heading and cooling systems. Use alternative energy, in this case agricultural waste products , primarily cornstalks and palletize them. The put them in a gasifier. They expect once that’s operational to save a million dollars a year in taxpayer money in lower energy costs. And that’s what we ought to be doing with our public colleges and universities , with our state buildings, our school district buildings, local government buildings all over the state. And in a decade we could transform the energy use in Minnesota , the public sector, use less energy, use alternative energy, establish with these alternative energy industries that we have a long term commitment to that in our state. And make Minnesota one of the pioneering states in terms of alternative energy that will pay off again in the future for our children and grandchildren.

Moderator: Thank you. Representative Emmer. [29:32]

Well here is the difference. You know I haven’t made my career running for office and I haven’t made my career trying to influence the government on behalf of people who need things from government. I’m just a guy from Delano. And there will be a clear and distinct choice. The choice is, is it about government making the investments on behalf of businesses, on behalf of the taxpayers. I mean I heard a statement here today that taxpayers should be viewed as investors. That’s the wrong attitude. We need to go back to understanding people in government, people who have made their life on government. They don’t understand what risk is all about and they don’t understand where innovation comes from. Trust in the people. Trust in the marketplace and start to create the opportunities in the marketplace by getting the government the heck out of the way. Allow people to realize their dreams by creating something new. People understand risk. Government just spends your money and mine. It does not have the same risk. When somebody is investing, they’re investing based on doing their due diligence to understand what it is in the marketplace that they’re going to put at risk. That’s where innovation comes from. It doesn’t come from politicians talking smart investments. It comes from people saying, you know what? this country was not built by government. It was built by people and we need to take the yoke of government off the economic horses of this state and let them start to run again. And start talking about people in the private sector who will take risks to move our economy forward.


Moderator: Thank you. The next question. Some of you expressed concern that the Minnesota business climate is encouraging companies to relocate to other states such as South Dakota. First, for those who hold it, what evidence that this is true? Second, what policies would you recommend or advocate to discourage business and job migration out of Minnesota into other states. We begin with Senator Dayton.

Mark Dayton: Well first of all Representative Emmer, you’ve run for office more often than I have. Your eblast two weeks ago said that I ran, I’m running for the eighth time for statewide office and in fact this is the fifth time I’ve run for statewide office. So you’re only off by 60 percent and you’ve run for city council and state representative more often than that. To the question in terms of South Dakota, I go to Art Rolnick, the recently retired executive vice president and director of research at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve and he said recently, you know, quote “it’s difficult to measure exactly on that whether we’ve taken more jobs from South Dakota or South Dakota has taken more jobs from us but, it’s pretty small, even if there’s some difference there.” and then he goes on to compare our economies. He points out again that real strengths that we have, we’re a much stronger economy than South Dakota. And I would argue that has a lot to do with quality of life and other public goods that we’ve provided over the years and he goes on to talk about the importance of investment in education. I will point out however that back again in from 1980 to 1990 Minnesota’s GDP growth was 14 percent greater than South Dakota’s. From 1990 to 2000 Minnesota’s GDP growth four percent greeters than South Dakota’s. From 2000 to 2008, which is when we had an Independence Party Governor or a Republican Governor, South Dakota’s GDP growth exceeded Minnesota’s by 18 percent. Now in 1998 and 2000, the Minnesota Governor and the Minnesota legislature cut the income tax rates twice by a total of 11 , 9 and 8 percent . So if you follow the economic theory that the tax reductions spurs economic growth, you would have expected Minnesota to take off. But in fact then, the opposite occurred. We ranked in the bottom 10 states in the nation in private employment growth. We ranked in the bottom 10 states in the nation in per capita income growth. So the formula didn’t work. And it goes back again to what Mister Rolnick and state economists and others have said, it’s not that simple of an equation. Otherwise we would be the Mississippi renaissance. In fact these investments we need to make in education and the disinvestments we have made that are sacrificing the future of the state, the crumbling infrastructure and the other areas where we need a public-private partnership. But we need public investments in order to spur economic growth.

Moderator: Thank you. Representative Emmer. [33:45]

Tom Emmer: Thank you. First Senator Dayton I will be … i get in front of this group I’ll tell ya. I have enormous respect for you. And the fact that you have made a life of offering to serve for the state of Minnesota and I commend you for that. When I talk about it though, I’m talking about it from perspective. Yes, I have been involved in serving my community, but I’ve had a career outside of the service. It’s been about trying to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and try to meet a payroll. Alright? Those are the things I’m talking about. I think people who are inside government don’t always have that feeling of what the average person out on main street is feeling. And I do. And I’m going to tell you, this question, we can argue all we want with these numbers but the fact is Marvin Windows has expanded in North Dakota, 3M is really looking at Texas. It’s got a great operation in Texas and hasn’t laid a brick in this state for quite some time. Medtronic just recently expanded to Texas. IBM. And then I tell the story Amos and Amon Baer. Now you may have heard me tell it when the three of us were at the Almanac debate. It’s a classic example. You got two guys, they’re farmers up in northwestern Minnesota, Clay County. They raise chickens, turkeys and hogs and they want to expand their hog operation. Guess what? To do it in Minnesota it would take them up to two years and 43 thousand dollars. And if they did that, they didn’t have any guarantee they’d get the permits. But if they got the permits then they had to go through the county and the local levels before they could expand. They chose not to expand in Minnesota. They expanded in North Dakota. Their hog operation, new hog operation, was opened within six months in North Dakota. And today it has a payroll of 1.4 Million dollars. We could talk all about the Gross National Product or our state’s… all these different numbers… The fact is these businesses are leaving. And it’s time that we addressed the regulatory climate that we have in this state and the tax climate that we have in this state. It does follow that you give people more of their resources, you give them more control over their opportunities to create not only a better quality of life for themselves but everybody around them. It’s that old concept of a rising tide lifts all boats and we gotta remember that here in the state of Minnesota.

Moderator: Thank you. Mr. Horner [36:03]

Tom Horner: I just want to be on the record as saying that the only time I’ve run for office was president of my student council. (laughter) I lost. 42 years later I’m over the pain and taking another shot at it. (laughter)

Tom Emmer: You’re only 44.

Tom Horner: Yeah right. i went to school with a lot of really old people. (laughter) Our challenge in Minnesota, with all due respect to my friends over here, our challenge isn’t’ to say ‘here’s the status quo, if we just make it a lot smaller everything is going to work’ or ‘here’s the status quo, we’ll just tax everything and make it a lot bigger and that will work. For a lot of Minnesotans, for a lot of Minnesota businesses, for a lot of Minnesota communities the status quo isn’t working. We need to change the status quo. And I’m the only one up here who has laid out a very specific plan about how we take Minnesota in a new direction. It’s not just about cutting taxes or raising taxes, it’s about tax reform. And the harsh reality is Representative Emmer is if we are going to do tax reform we do have to raise some taxes to pay for the tax reduction. I’m offering a proposal that says here’s how we invest in research and development. Here’s how we allow our businesses to be on the cutting edge. Here’s how we allow our businesses to have the resources to invest in creating new jobs. But I’ll also say Senator Dayton as I said at the Minnesota chamber of commerce, is that when you kill the job creators you kill jobs. When you tax small businesses at the rate you’re proposing , you do send Minnesota businesses out of the state. We can’t afford that. But we also can’t afford just to have these polarized arguments about the status quo. That’s not the right direction. We need a whole new way of thinking about our tax policy. About our tax system. We need to make investments in how we create jobs, in how Minnesota’s economy grows, in how we’re on the cutting edge of the new economy. We need to make investments in infrastructure. In our schools and education. In all of those things that are going to allow Minnesota to compete. We are not going to compete if we have a tax rate that pushes us up into the top levels of the nation. But we’re also not going to compete if we decide we’re going to be a low-cost, low-delivery kind of state. We’re going to compete when we’re the state of innovation. When we’re the state of knowledge. When we’re the state that has the new ideas, the new technologies and the talent pool to take advantage of all of that. [38:45]

Moderator: Thanks. You’ll be able to follow up on that, all three of you in the next question. To which resources and which colleagues do you most often turn as you face challenging decisions. What will… what will inform your choices on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota. And we’ll start with Representative Emmer.

Tom Emmer: Well it is this concept of business as usual. I mean I hear people try to talk we’re offering a new direction. No it’s not. It’s the same direction that’s been offered in this state since I was a young boy. When government in the state of Minnesota runs out of money, the politicians and those who would hold these offices always look to the hard-working men and women of this state, to the businesses of this state and say ‘you need to invest more in government, we need more of your money.’ And then this attitude that government is somehow responsible for creating all kinds of innovation and making smart investments. That’s the 1970s tax and spend model of government that is the Minnesota miracle of the 1970s. We’re talking about a new Minnesota miracle in state of Minnesota. We’re talking about brining government into the 21st century. The principles are what I will apply. I believe that government should deliver services efficiently. We don’t need five different agencies permitting for water. We need to look at what we’re doing with government redesign and nobody is talking about that. No all they’re talking about is ‘we’re going to raise you taxes again’ and they’re doing it with the same argument that we have six-billion dollar deficit. Ladies and gentleman, government is scheduled to get a seven percent raise in the next biennium. That’s right we’re going to have seven percent more revenue in the state of Minnesota, but the problem is these folks want to spend 17 percent. How many families out there would be happy with a seven percent raise? I can’t think of a one that wouldn’t be. We’re calling the fact that government wants to spend 17 percent a cut. That is not an honest dialog with the citizens of the state of Minnesota. It’s time we start to recognize government must be more efficient to deliver what people expect. And let’s unleash people to do what they do best which is create opportunities for everybody. [41:04]

Moderator: Thank you. Mister Horner?

Tom Horner: Representative Emmer, I don’t think Minnesota has run out of money, I think that under the policies of the last eight years too many Minnesotans have run out of hope and that’s the challenge. For all of those Minnesotans who have planed by the rule, by the rules, we need to restore their sense of opportunity, their sense of optimism about the future. Their sense of hope that they can have a good life for themselves. That their jobs will be secure. That their communities will be safe. That they will have roads that they can drive on. That their kids will be able to go to the kinds of schools that are going to prepare them for the economy that Minnesota needs to have in the future. That’s our challenge. We need to be investing in the future. And that does take resources. And I hate to break the news to people, but we do need to make investments. And you can call them what ever you want. If you want to call them taxes, I’ll call them taxes. We need to make the decisions that Minnesota’s future depends on the leadership that will have the courage to say we can’t afford a second-tier state. We can’t be a state that goes to a four-day school week. A state that is allowing a great city like Brainerd to turn off its street lights because policies you’ve advanced won’t keep them on. But Senator Dayton we also can’t be a state in which we’re taxing small businesses at rates that would be in the top tier of the country. We can’t afford that. So when you ask me who will I turn to, who will be the colleagues, I think there will be a pretty good model in the cabinet that Governor Ventura selected. He had a cabinet of people who were there because they were experts in their areas. Because they had relationships and bridges with a whole variety of Minnesotans. People who were there because they cared about the future. And it may be one of the best cabinets that Minnesota has ever had. And any one of those commissioners will tell you that when they walked in to the Governor’s office and said here’s the policy, here are the recommendations, Governor Ventura would ask one question. What’s right for Minnesota? That’s the the principle. That’s the guide mark that I want for my administration. [43:16]

Moderator: Thank you. Senator Dayton?

Mark Dayton: Mister Horner, I asked the Minnesota Department of Revenue to take my tax proposal and asked how many of the small businesses in Minnesota would be effected by it and the response was 92% of small businesses operating as a subchapter S or DBA would not be effected by the tax rates where I’m proposing to raise income. Not if an individual is operating a small business and there’s a joint filer reporting income of over 173 thousand dollars or an individual of over 152-thousand dollars and they’re being successful, then more power to them and yes they will pay more taxes. However this issue is not about tax…this election is not about tax or no tax. This is about which tax on whom. I want to make taxes more progressive in this state. My two opponents want to make taxes more regressive. Mister Horner you want to extend the sales tax to clothing. You want to extend the sales tax to services. You got a couple billion dollars you need to raise by the sales tax then it’s not specific in your proposal where that would be. But that’s definitely going to impact the cost of doing business for small businesses. Mister Horner, Mister Emmer I’m sorry, Representative Emmer will hopefully, eventually someday give us his budget proposal and we’ll find as we did with Governor Pawlenty with the so called no tax increase, the property taxes will go up. If you want to eliminate local government aids as you’ve proposed Representative Emmer. Mister Horner you want to eliminate county aids, then property taxes will inevitably go up even with the sales tax option which Mister Horner added to his proposal. So the reality is, that’s again a more regressive tax. And the question then is are we going to make taxes fairer or are we going to make them more unfair. And that going to impact small businesses and farmers just as much as working Minnesotans. In terms of who I would turn to for advice, you know Rudy Perpich had a sign on his office wall which I would put back up if I’m Governor “none of us is smart as all of us”. And I will reach out to Minnesotans of all political persuasions. All points of view from all over this state, but who have one commitment and that’s to do what’s right for the future of Minnesota. To do what’s best. We’ll have creative disagreements and come out of that with the best solutions. [45:19]

Moderator: Thank you. We’re halfway through this morning. The next few questions are rather specific. I just wanted to alert the candidates and the audience and let me begin. Can you provide one or two specifics on how you would handle the state’s budget deficit? We’ll start with Mr. Horner.

Tom Horner: I can provide several pages of specifics on how how I will handle the budget deficit. And for Senator Dayton’s information it’s all on my website and it is very specific in the tax proposals, the redesign proposals and the areas I’m proposing to cut. And it’s all laid out. Because I do think there is an obligation that we as candidates have this year in particular to be specific. To use this campaign to create understanding among the public about how serious the challenge is, how great the opportunities are and where we are willing to make our, put our stake in the ground. Because we need to build that mandate. And if we don’t no Governor is going to be successful in 2011. If we have a campaign that is only at a very superficial level. That isn’t willing to go out on a limb and talk about specifics, we’re not going to get anything done. And the last thing we can afford in the next four years is four more years of gridlock. Four more years of stagnation. So I have put out a very specific proposal. And it’s a proposal that talks about tax reform. And yes I am going to raise the sales tax by extending it to clothing, lower the rate. And for small businesses Senator Dayton that actually gives them an advantage because what they buy is equipment, furniture the rate is lower. So we are going to lower the rate. We’re going to put in protections for low income. I’ve set aside 350 Million dollars in my budget to protect low-income. We’re not going to tax essentials like food, medical services, prescription drugs. That takes care of the regressivity. It is a tax that Growth and Justice on the liberal end support and the Governor’s own commission on 21st century tax reform supports. It has broad bipartisan support, not because it is the easy choice, but because its the right choice. But then you have to ask how are you going to spend the money. We’re not spending the money in my plan just to maintain the status quo. Just to create bigger government. I am proposing very specific redesign proposals. Very specific spending cuts. But also making investments in early learning, older adult services, families in crisis, education. Those kinds of areas that are important to our future and our economic growth. [48:02]

Moderator: Thank you. Senator Dayton?

Mark Dayton: Well just to respond briefly to Mister Horner, you talk about reducing the rate by one percent but then you said you also have the county sales tax option which creates greater inequities to different parts of the state. Mister Mulder says he expects all of the counties to adopt that. They’ll have to if you eliminate their county aids. So then you’re talking about a half a percent. Then going from zero percent, no tax now on clothing and on many services to 5.875 or 6.375 is definitely a tax increase. And a regressive one at that. I’ve I’ve provided and I invite you to visit my website too. We all have them. . I have specified nine spending cuts totaling 679 million dollars, include renegotiating leases for state office buildings to get cost reductions, ending the overuse of office space for storage, reducing private contracting outsourcing, reducing the overabundance of political appointees that Governor Pawlenty has put into agencies and the people at the top level. When I was Commissioner of Energy and Economic Development, a department of 300 people we had five people in the commissioners office. The MInnesota Department of Agriculture- 545 people now has 14 people in the commissioners office. I would reduce or reform the excessive testing in K-12 education and we now administer 61 different tests. I would streamline that process. I would allow the school districts to voluntarily pool as they’ve tried to twice and Governor Pawlenty’s vetoed the purchasing of health insurance to get better health coverage for their employees at lower cost. And I’ve asked the MInnesota Business Partnership and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce if they would designate some people to join a working group with my running mate Yvonne Prettner Solon and myself and over the next month look for additional spending cuts. And we will go through the budget, I’ve already gone through it twice line item by line item, but we’ll go through it again, and we’ll see where we can make cuts. But I would point out that the state expenditures for this year are over eight percent less than they were the previous biennium. So the notion that we’ve been expanding and now we’re going to need to trim back is just a fallacy. We cut significantly the state spending. Part of the problem for the next biennium is a 1.9 Billion dollar shift that this legislature and Governor have foisted on the next Governor and legislature. But overall state expenditures have been reduced from this biennium to the previous one. [50:24]

Moderator: Thank you Senator. Representative Emmer can you provide one or two specifics on how you would handle the state budget?

Tom Emmer: Well, ah, Chris first’s lets address your question set. How you going to address the budget deficit? Where is the deficit? Where is the deficit? We talk about you gotta raise taxes, government has to invest, again I , I can say it again. Government in the state of Minnesota is scheduled to get a seven percent increase in revenue in the next biennium. Government in the state will have more money to spend in the next two years then it is spending right now. And yet the folks who want to raise taxes want to talk about a six billion dollar deficit which is created on paper because government wants to spend 38 Billion dollars instead of the roughly 32 we’re going to have. Let’s first start from the premise that government is growing. The spending is out of control, even in these tough economic times. And this is not a party thing, this is just what happened in government with good people that thought they were doing the right thing and this is the same model that people who came before us started in the state of Minnesota. We just need to keep providing more services, we duplicate these… you look at the growth of government in the state of Minnesota it’s a lot like the study of human cell development. You start with one cell, it splits into two and then four and then eight and so on. That’s what happened with government. It’s time that people from outside of government come in and say you got to look at what government is delivering. You got to make it more efficient. And then you know how you address any further revenue, is you address the real problem. It’s not just a budget we’re talking about . It’s an economic problem. Again it’s lower taxes. Let people keep more of their resources. It’s less regulation. Free them up to take the risks that they need to take to innovate, to create new opportunities. Let’s start growing our economy again in this state because that ultimately is what drives anything and everything we expect from government. [52:28]

Moderator: Thank you. We’ll stay on the economic front with the next two questions. How are you going to invest in the business community so that it starts growing and hiring? We begin with Senator Dayton.

Mark Dayton: Well first, Representative Emmer, If I, I accept your word that it’s a seven percent revenue increase as projected for the next biennium. You’re proposing to cut six billion dollars in spending. That’s a sixteen percent reduction in spending. That’ one out of every six dollars that the state is proposing to spend. So I will, that would, so the seven percent revenue increase, sixteen percent reduction. That means you got to come up with a nine percent real cut. I would defer the rest of my time to you to explain to people, finally where it is you’re going to cut say nine percent of the budget. That’s one out of every 11 dollars the state’s going to spend. Where are you going to make those cuts in ways that are not going to impact people. Since 95 percent of the state budget, 48 percent goes for eduction, 30 percent goes for health and human services, nine percent for property tax relief, local government aids, five percent for public safety and then three percent for debt service that’s 95 percent of the state budget. You could eliminate every state agency and fire every state employee and you’re not going to make up your for your kind of deficit. So where are you going to make those cuts?

Tom Emmer: Well I’d be happy to give you a couple examples..

Mark Dayton: No I want to add it to add up to nine percent. I don’t want a couple of anecdotes. I want you to tell us…

Tom Emmer: If you don’t want to hear…

Mark Dayton: …add up to nine percent.

Tom Emmer: …I won’t be able to tell you.

Mark Dayton: Alright.

Tom Emmer: But if you really do want to defer, what do you have a minute? So I get three now let’s… the timer?

Moderator: The record shows. Go ahead. But answer the question.

Mark Dayton: Yes answer the question.

Tom Emmer: I really appreciate the opportunity because one of the things we’ve been talking about … it it… you folks talk about cutting all the time. And yes there will be smaller government if we are elected and we’re in office. There’s no question. But why is it the assumption always there will be less services that people expect from government? I’ve given you a couple, which you mock, with all due respect.

Mark Dayton: I just want them to add up to nine percent

Tom Emmer: No, you mock the the idea that we got General Assistance Medical Care that right now we created a pot of money about 250 Million to take care of the poorest of the poor. Government seems to have this need, well meaning, good people created this, but government going to broker this type of charity care by starving our hospitals and starving our good physicians and forcing them to treat people who they want to treat anyway. Why can’t we create tax incentives that allow our hardworking physicians, our clinics, our hospitals to keep more of their money by showing that they have provided the care necessary. Instead of having the government broker this. But we can mock…

Mark Dayton: With ten seconds left let me just say

Tom Emmer: we can mock…

Mark Dayton: why don’t you ask the hard working hospitals in Minnesota…

Tom Emmer: we can mock about charity care. We can also, I have the mic by the way…

Mark Dayton: who want the 1.8 money, billion that you don’t want to provide

Tom Emmer: we can talk about the… if you…

Moderator: We can only hear one at a time, even with both of the mics.

Tom Emmer: Are you taking back your word.

Mark Dayton: Now’s your time. Now’s your time. Now’s your time. (laughter) Now’s your time.

Moderator: We still have a minute and a half to go Representative.

Tom Emmer: Well no, no. I was answering his question. So I’ll go back to answering what we’re going to do. And again, folks I can only talk about this so long. My friends, you know their concept of government again is there’s nothing in government that we don’t need. Their idea is everything we have is absolutely necessary to the future of this state and that we actually have to add on to it. We have to make more investments in the future. Government has to make these decisions. Government has to build out ultra-speed broadband. Well how has that worked? I mean go look at these partnerships with the city of St. Louis Park and others. You gotta free up the entrepreneurs. You got to get government out of the way. Some regulation is necessary. But not all the regulation we have. We can talk about taxes as well. This idea that government can somehow take and redistribute and that it creates success. It’s been disproven. You just have to look at states like Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois. Ladies and gentlemen, Minnesota is headed in the same direction as California. It is time to start looking at what we do as a state. You don’t have to lose the services just because you’ve redesigned the delivery system. There are efficiencies to be had no, it’s true. It’s not the whole answer. The whole answer involves again addressing the economic problem. If you are growing jobs in this state, if you are growing new private sector jobs, you are generating opportunity, you are generating revenues, that is what will ultimately drive what you expect out of Minnesota. That’s what we had in the 70s when this model started. The IBMs, the 3Ms, the Univacs, the Unisys, the Control Data. They were all generating new opportunities and people were coming to this state, because this is where the opportunity was. We need to recreate that because we have the best state in union for people to live and raise a family and now we need to make it the best place to grow a business. [57:21]

Moderator: Thank you and Mister Horner, we’ll go back to the two minutes. We’ll be on schedule again.

Tom Emmer: I only used one minute.

Moderator: No you used Senator Dayton’s. You’re OK. Now we’ll go to you Mister Horner.

Tom Horner: This is our fourth or fifth debate since the primary. People no longer ask me why I’m in the race or what does it mean to be a centrist. They demonstrate that for me. (laughter). I can take my two minutes and focus on the the question. Because I think that really is at issue. It’s not just about the politics. It’s not just about the polarity of the Republicans and Democrats. It’s how do we get things moving? And again, I know that, that, um they strong passions, strong feelings. But the reality is right now Representative Emmer, you’ve been in the legislature for six years and you haven’t done any of what you proposed to do the next four years. Where’s the track record? Senator Dayton, you talk about only eight percent of small businesses will be effected by your tax plan. But those are the eight percent that are growing. Those are the eight percent that create the jobs. Those are the eight percent that are the most successful. Those are the eight percent that we absolutely need to keep in Minnesota. It’s the same way in which Senator you talk about ‘oh Horner doesn’t’ even want to talk tax multi-millionaires. ‘ If your tax proposal really was limited to multi-millionaires, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But you had to go down to 150 thousand dollars of taxable income because that’s where the money is. You’re not taxing wealth, you’re taxing income. And there’s a big difference. Is 150 thousand dollars comfortable? Of course. We all ought to strive for it. Is it wealthy? Not in in most peoples definition. That’s the success that we ought to be celebrating. And how are we going to celebrate it? We’re going to celebrate it by making investments. By doing smart things. And so Representative Emmer, look at Governor Pawlenty. Six months ago he was saying ‘here’s a budget, we’re going to to make dependent on the Feds giving us $263 Million dollars and that will balance the budget without any pain.’ The money comes this week and now Governor Pawlenty says ‘oop, don’t need it don’t want it’. That’s politics! That’s not good policy. Of course we ought to accept that money. Of course we ought to be putting the money into the budget as it is in my budget to spend 140 million dollars that need.. that required to expand health care through the opt in Medicaid. Of course we ought to be doing that. Because that’s going to help our business climate. When we have healthier MInnesotans, we have more productive Minnesotans. We have MInnesotans who are better able to work. But then we also need tax reform. It’s not just about cutting taxes. It is about reforming the tax system. Incenting investments in research and development. And yes Senator Dayton, I am going to raise the sales tax so that I can eliminate the sales tax on capitol equipment purchases. Allow our small manufacturers to invest in the technology that they need. Yes I am going to invest in reducing the corporate income tax. But I’m going to pay for it honestly and transparently so that we can still make sure we have the best schools, we have good two year schools, four year schools, K-12, early learning. And I’m going to create innovation grants. Because we need to be a state that is focused not just on how much but on what for. We need to focus on what are the outcomes we want to achieve. What is it going to take to be successful? And to get there, we need to be thoughtful about where the new ideas, where the investments that we can make, how can we be a state that isn’t just part of the pack, but is leading the other 49 states. [1:01:00]

Moderator: Thank you. We have one more question on the economy which will give each of you a chance to further elaborate on your your positions in this. What do you believe is the appropriate regional economic development strategy for the state of Minnesota? And I am going to begin that question with Representative Emmer.

Tom Emmer: You know and you were talking about regional within the state of Minnesota correct?

Moderator: How ever you want to define it, but I think that would be a reasonable interpretation.

Tom Emmer: Well I , I mean some might define it as within the Midwest or whatever.

Moderator: Understood.

Tom Emmer: I’m talking about within the state. Because it gives me an opportunity to address this local government aid thing. First I will always start with the premise that you do have to reduce taxes. You do have to eliminate unnecessary and excessive regulation to stimulate opportunity for border-to-border in this state. But then I think the next thing we have to talking about is the tax system that we have between the state, county and local levels of government. We’ve got this thing called local government aid that has become a political football. It was created originally, basic premise was to help communities that do not have the economic base provide the essential services that government has to provide. Namely public safety. Police and fire service and perhaps water and sewer infrastructure. Those are the things it was intended for. And today yet only about half the cities in this state get any local government aid and out of the half that get it only a handful get the lion’s share. And some, not all, some cities use it very responsibly. But some have not been using it for its intended purpose. I would think when the city of St. Paul uses it to etch poetry in their sidewalks, that is not what local government aid was intended for. I think going forward we should start looking at identifying regional centers in this state –Moorhead, Albert Lea, Winona, Rochester, St. Cloud, Duluth, Alexandria, you name it. Let’s identify those regional centers. And then lets look at what we’re doing in the state. The state collects every tax dollar and then sprinkles it back down to our local communities. And usually it comes with agency promulgated rules that are called unfunded mandates ’cause there’s no connection between the money that they’re getting and these mandates that are being promoted by agencies, which by the way should go away. But that’s the problem. Let’s look at a system where our communities can keep more of their local tax dollars, and I’m not talking about local option sales tax, I’m talking about income taxes and business taxes, keeping more of them local by giving them more responsible, responsibility over their local communities. A quick example, Winona sends roughly 40 million dollars to the state and sees about nine million back. I think this is where the future is. Let’s give more responsibility to the local elected officials, ’cause I think you get better decision making at the local level. It’s really easy for somebody in St. Paul to spend our money. [1:03:23]

Moderator: Thank you. Mister Horner, what do you believe is the appropriate regional economic strategy for Minnesota?

Tom Horner: Well we need to have strong communities, so let me respond quickly to the points that Representative Emmer and Senator Dayton made. First of all, Senator Dayton, take a look at the plan. You’ll see that I’m not eliminating county aid. I’m driving greater accountability. Representative Emmer is right. We do have too many unfunded mandates. In many counties, 40 percent of the county’s property tax is due directly to unfunded mandates. Why do we have that? Let’s connect accountability by making sure that the unit of government that is delivering the services is also taxing for those services. Now in my plan, Senator Dayton, when you look at it you’ll see that I’m not abandoning poor counties. I understand. Traverse county has a population of about 3,600. Average age of 56 and no retail center. Am I going to say to Traverse county, ‘good luck, you’re on your own’? Of course not. And it’s offensive that you would suggest that. Look at the plan. The plan says we are going to make sure that counties have the resources to deliver the services that are important and that they have the accountability that comes when they tax for those services. On local government assistance. Representative Emmer, you have said you want to get rid of it. Now if you want to change that position, great. But here’s the reality of local government assistance. When Crookston raises taxes by one percent, it raises about four dollars per person. When Wayzata raises taxes by one percent, it raises 41 dollars per person. You can’t have that kind of disparity without addressing it and or you have the kind of economic calamity that is befalling a lot of our communities. We do have to have LGA that is fair, reasonable and helps those communities that do need assistance to compete. Then we need to build a regional economic strategy on the regional assets. We have great assets in parts of the state. We can develop energy. We can develop life sciences. We can develop mineral resources by investing in those resources through the communities in the regions of the state where those assets exist. We need to do it by making sure our two year schools are closely connected to those regional assets. That they’re providing the training, the technical skills that are important to those industries. That are important to developing those regional assets. We do need broadband. I think broadband is going to be the REA of our generation. We need to make sure that every Minnesotan does have access to ultra-high speed broadband because it’s the gateway to world class education, world class health care and to world class economic development — economic opportunities. We need to invest int he infrastructure beyond technology. To make sure we have good road. To make sure that that our communities are able to manage their their physical infrastructure. To build out the industrial parks that are important. It’s all of these things that go into leveraging the great regional economic assets that we do have in Minnesota. [1:06:50]

Moderator: Thank you. Senator Dayton?

Mark Dayton: Mister Horner you said that if I had limited my tax proposal to millionaires and multi-millionaires we wouldn’t be having this discussion. If you would apply your tax proposal to them, we probably wouldn’t have this dissuasion either.

Tom Horner: Well in fact my proposal does Senator.

Mark Dayton: May I, may I, my time sir. This is my time.

Moderator: Yes, go ahead.

Mark Dayton: Thank you. Neither of you want to raise personal income taxes on someone making 500 thousand dollars or a million dollars or ten million dollars a year one dollar. Instead, you want to raise taxes on working Minnesotans, because they’ll have to pay sales tax on clothing and on services as Representative Emmer eventually tells us what his budget proposal is, we’ll inevitably see property taxes will go up as they did under Governor Pawlenty. They’ve more than doubled over the last ten years. And so working Minnesotans, middle income Minnesotans, lower income Minnesotans will be paying more taxes under both of your proposals. They will not on mine. The the Minnesota Department of Revenue and and as somebody once said taxes are stubborn things, has determined that 90 percent of the people in this state have a household income of less than 134 thousand dollars a year. 90 percent. The median income is , individual income is 41,000 dollars. So these are the people who are going to be paying more taxes, property taxes or sales taxes under your proposals in part because you will not raise taxes on the richest Minnesotans, those who have the highest incomes one dollar. And I think the richest people in this state are willing to contribute to more to this state when the recognize that we’re going to four day school weeks, have overcrowded classrooms, college tuition is unaffordable. I just believe they will. I believe they’ll recognize that we need to have a regional strategy that is anchored consistently in the greater Minnesota in two really important institutions. One are the pubic colleges and universities of this state and second are good hospitals. And I, I again I can’t conceive why we would not want to bring in 1.2 billion dollars of federal money when we send more tax dollars to Washington than we get back, that our rural hospitals are saying consistently they desperately need in order not to go bankrupt. In order to provide quality healthcare. And that along with quality public education are the two of the anchors that we need to have a regional strategy so that every part of this state can be successful. Then we need to restore the community …Star City community development program that my predecessor started under Governor Quie that I expanded when I was Commissioner of Economic Development, where we go in and retrain chambers, local development corporations and we make a partnership with the state, a public-private effort to identify every business growth opportunity in every part of Minnesota. My times up or I would continue. [1:09:32]

Moderator: Thank you Senator. Now we’re going to shift into more focused business directed questions. Away from the economy right to business and this is a segue question that I think each of you will have your own approach to, which is — What is Minnesota’s brand and how would you work to leverage or change, either leverage or change that brand perception as Governor. We’ll start with Mister Horner.

Tom Horner: I think what the brand should be is MInnesota is a knowledge state, Minnesota is a state of innovation. That’s the way we’re going to compete, that’s the way we’re going to distinguish ourselves. But in order to do that we need to be willing to make the investments. And we can talk all we want about government should do this or shouldn’t do that. What we ought to be talking about is what we want to achieve. What are the goals? What kind of a state do we want? That’s the conversation we ought to be having. And when we have that kind of conversation, then I think the answers become much more clear. And the path becomes much more clear. And yes, we do need government that is more efficient. We need government that is more effective. That’s my budget proposal. You’ll see, in very specific terms where I’m proposing cuts, where I”m proposing redesign. But you’ll also see where I’m proposing investments. And I think we do need to be a state that has a talent pool that is better than the other states. I think we do need to be a state that values basic and applied research. I think we do need to be a state that sets as a goal for us to succeed we need to get our our two and four year degreed people up to 60 percent, 70 percent of the population. We can’t afford to be at 41 percent as it is today. We can’t afford to have high school graduation rates among some of our faster growing populations at 60 percent and falling. We can’t afford to have 50 percent of children coming into kindergarten not fully prepared for success. We can’t afford that. We ought to be the knowledge state. We ought to be the state of innovation. But in order to get there, you need to make some investments. You need to make some smart decisions. They’re not easy, but that’s what leadership is about. [1:11:47]

Moderator: Thank you. Senator Dayton, what is Minnesota’s brand? Do we need to leverage or change it?

Mark Dayton: Well, the saying a house divided against itself cannot stand. We are divided in a way that we communicate to other states and people and businesses that makes it difficult for us because there is a lot of denigration. I’ve been dealing with bad business climate issue when I was commissioner of Economic Development over quarter century now and you know the facts belie that and even though now we are according to the Minnesota Taxpayers Association most recent report 21st among the states in the nation in total sate and local taxes per thousand dollars of personal income. You know, you think, and even though we rank 31st among the states in the number of state and local government employees you think that we would were just expanding and creating excess waste wherever we go. And so that does make it more difficult. But you know it’s axiomatic among top executives that it’s hard to recruit people to come to Minnesota to work here, but once they get here they don’t want to leave because they find that the qualities that make this state great. And it is great state. Are the ones that we need to build on and should be our brand. This is a great state to live in. It’s one of the very best anywhere in the country. It’s one of the very best places to live anywhere in the world. We have a top quality education system. You don’t have to be wealthy to send your child to a private or parochial school. You can good to a good public school and that child can get and receive a good education. Have an orotundity in life. We have a good public college university system. It used to be affordable. And everyone and anyone could attend. We’re losing that accessibility. We have one of the best, thank goodness, health care systems still in the world. And we have premier institutions that we do here–the Mayo Clinic, the university and others. But health care is increasingly unaffordable. Health insurance is increasingly unaffordable for for our families. But that should be another part of our brand. It ought to be that we have a people who are productive . You can go up to Thief River Falls and Digikey that employs over two thousand people and wants to add 900 more people if it can land a 757 on a runway up there. Why? Because they can fulfill 454 stock keeping units with a 99.85 success rate within 24 hours because of well-educated hard-working people. That ought to be our brand. The opportunities you have here in Minnesota to be successful, to be competitive in this global economy where it’s simply not just low-cost, low-wage, low-services, it’s high-quality services, better services for sure, but high-quality, good education, a higher standard of living, and the brain power that will generate the new ideas, create the new businesses, the new jobs that will allow our children and grandchildren to compete in this global economy. [1:14:19]

Moderator: Senator. Representative Emmer?

Tom Emmer: I actually like our brand. I like our brand the land of ten thousand lakes. But I also want us to start emphasizing that Minnesota is the land of opportunity. Another statement might be we’re open for business. Minnesota’s open for business. Let’s turn off that red light for business coming into this state and the green light for business going out. Let’s reverse that. And I would say, I started to tell you earlier I grew up here in this state, when Minnesota was the best of the best. In the 60s and the 70s this is where everybody came. They came to go to school at our great university and other higher education institutions and they stayed. They got married, they raised a family because this is where the jobs were. You know it was well-meaning people. And again it has nothing to do with party, people thought they could make Minnesota a better place by creating government policies, creating regulation. In fact it’s had the opposite effect and we are now at a crossroads. We can continue to do what we’re doing or we can find a new direction. I think it’s not only about taxes and regulation, it’s about attitude. I’ve got a neighbor who is a comptroller for a major wheel bearing manufacturer, national, that several years ago had the job of expanding their operations. Guess what? He told me he got a phone call from the Governor of Iowa who then set up a bus and brought him and his leadership team down to Iowa and showed them what Iowa had to offer. He also had phone calls from South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. He told me that when he called the state of Minnesota the response was essentially ‘this is what you must do if you want to expand in Minnesota’. That business to day is in Iowa. They expanded in Iowa. If we’re in the office, we will make the brand ‘we are open for business’, lower taxes, less regulation and then I and others will go out and show we’re about customer service. We want you here. And we’ll start recruiting every job back. Not just those high paying jobs but, every job is important to somebody in the state of Minnesota. We need to be all about that.[1:16:12]

Moderator: The next question zeros in on what many of you have been talking about already today. And that is, how would you work to strengthen the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in our state? And we’ll begin with Senator Dayton.

Mark Dayton: Well I would agree with what I believe Representative Emmer and Mister Horner have said and I’ve said it before too. We do need to streamline government and reduce and eliminate a lot of the duplication and triplications of reporting requirements and barriers that various agencies put in in place. You know I’ve held a 110 community meetings and I can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of people who have said they’ve received better service, more efficient service, better quality service from state agencies than they did a decade ago. And again I would just point out these were not DFL Governors in charge of the executive branch of state government during those years. So I will send out an executive order on day one to every state employee ‘this arrogance ends’, that we need to be more efficient. I’ve asked for my lieutenant governor running mate Yvonne Prettner Solon to head up a task force that will work this fall and through the election and if we’re successful we’ll continue right up to January, working with business groups and environmental groups and other groups, consumer groups and look at how we can streamline and eliminate these multiple reporting requirements. Eliminate the delays. Tell agencies you have to meet a deadline and if you miss a deadline you lose your jurisdiction. Tell people you only have to report to one place, they can share information appropriately, but you shouldn’t have to fill out the same form, provide the same information, two, three, four, times. And I do believe in government, better government. I served as state auditor and I worked hard to make sure the tax dollars were spent properly. We’re in an era of limited more limited where more limited governments going to be a requirement. We’re going to be in an era where every tax dollar going to have to be spent more wisely and more efficiently and there’s no partisan monopoly on on that point of view and that desire. And I will work with the legislature next year to make sure government is out of the way of businesses, that do allow businesses to move forward. And so for example when Lutsen ah needs a trail and that money’s been approved, the three and a half million dollars five years… almost five years ago and the DNR doesn’t respond, that there’s somebody telling them they have to do so. When they won’t provide permitting in the winter so they can draw water out of a river so they can make snow to provide jobs up there, there’s somebody on top of that saying you got to be responsive and you got to respond to this need. There’s a lot that will be done if I’m Governor to make sure that we get out of the way and we allow businesses to be successful in this state. {1:18:48]

Moderator: Representative Emmer how would you work to strengthen ….

Tom Emmer: Well first, first I have to address, you know, we talk about being non-partisan and it really is, it’s about common sense. But ah, there’s no reason to be taking a shot at the Governor because then, I think people in Minnesota are tired of the finger-pointing and trying to assess blame. You know whether you got DFL majorities in the legislature and a Republican Governor. That’s not the issue. The issue is going forward. The issue is about how you create an environment that is going to drive innovation. And it’s two-fold. Innovation comes when you have an environment that is attractive to new investment. And why do people invest? Well risk takers, people who want to make the investment, people that your tax program would drive out of this state, people who want to invest are looking for a couple of things. One they’re looking for stability and predictability and two they’re looking for the highest return they can get on their investment. And then they’re willing to take the risk. Minnesota needs to create stability and predictability by making a more efficient government that people can work with very easily. Not only is based on a customer service model, but is the one window form of government. Right now, I said it earlier, if you get a permit for water in this state you gotta go through no less than five state agencies to permit for water. That’s unacceptable and that is not conducive to business. And I will tell you Senator, it’s not about Lutsen needing a trail. It’s about the thousands of jobs that are in the cue in northern Minnesota where we’ve got Duluth metals that recently had a huge investment from South America in terms of investing in that part of the country with one of the richest deposits of precious metals they say exists in the world. It’s allowing people to not only protect the environment, ’cause we all want clean air, clean water, we all love the natural resources which make this place such a wonderful state to live in and raise a family, but you know what? We also want to make sure people can realize their dreams by having the economic opportunity this state should afford them. And telling people that five years of time to try and 20 Million dollars to try and open the Polymet mine, it’s OK for another two years when people are just going, they don’t have money for heat in northern Minnesota, that’s unacceptable. So let’s get past the partisan stuff, let’s start pointing forward and let’s start realizing was hasn’t worked and talk about what can work. [1:21:00]

Moderator: Mister Horner.

Tom Horner: Well, I, I, I, think both my colleagues missed the point and and the question really is is misdirected. It is not how to strengthen the culture of innovation in Minnesota, it is how do we leverage that great culture that already exists in Minnesota. How do we take advantage of all of the innovative people who already are in Minnesota? How do we unleash their talents? How do we make sure that we keep that innovative class in Minnesota and we don’t tax them and their small businesses, yes it is the 8 percent of small businesses, out of the state. And so a couple of examples. Look at the great partnership between Mayo and the University on the cutting edge of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer research. Contributing to what could be a world class cutting-edge life sciences industry in Minnesota, building on the pool of great companies already here, building on the talent pool, we ought to be investing in that more than we already are. And it’s not just about creating jobs for scientists Representative Emmer, it’s all the jobs that every new industry brings with it. In finance, in administration, in communications, maintenance, sales, marketing, those are the jobs tied to a cutting edge edge industry that we need. Look at great companies like ah ah American Telecare in in Eden Prairie. They’re on the cutting edge of figuring out how do we manage those with chronic care t o reduce health care costs, the five-percent of the population that consumes 50 percent of health care costs, while improving their quality of life. Great advances that they’re making. Great success stories. Keeping people out of the hospital. Improving their quality of life. Reducing the cost of care. We need a health care system that embraces that. And sometimes, it does take some government funding. That’s the reality. We need to make smart investments. We also need to make sure that we just bring common sense to the table. So you talk about innovation, there was a terrific program at Centennial High School in vocal music. A program designed for kids that wanted to pursue that as a career. Now Anoka-Hennepin over the next couple of years, if they continue on the same course they’re going to have to reduce teachers by 300-500 slots. At risks are programs at Blaine a creative, innovative engineering program. Why? Because they’re young teachers. Teachers who are innovative. Teachers who have created terrific programs. The superintendent went to Education Minnesota and said give me one percent of the teacher slots that I can exempt from seniority. One percent. This is a district that has 2,800 teachers. He was asking for 28 positions. They said no. He said give me one-half of one percent, 14 slots. No. That’s why I put in my budget innovation programs that where we can figure out new ways to deal with those kinds of issues. That aren’t’ dependent upon Education Minnesota, that allow these creative innovative programs to stay in our schools. [1:24:10]

Moderator: Thank you. I’m aware of our time and going to use the prerogative of the chair. I’m going to ask one more question and then I’ll remind the audience that we’re going to give each candidate two minutes to give a summary and commentary. So we’ll go over a little bit but think you’ll find it worthwhile. The last question is going to be directed to start with at Representative Emmer. It’s a business philosophy question. As the prospective CEO of the state, how would you introduce accountability with the prospect of corrective action to measure and achieve effectiveness in government. Representative Emmer:

Tom Emmer: Well first we’ve been talking about redesign for a long time and ah I don’t know how many people have actually read Annette Meeks’ ah, book that she authored about ten years ago on the blueprint for the redesign of government, it’s a good start. But you got to talk about the operation of government. You know, I , I joked, Jackie and I do that we have seven kids so, we, we actually run a small corporation out of our house. If you’ve ever seen what it takes not only to fill the ahh, to fill the refrigerator, but then to get them to all their activities and make sure that they’re all successful in what they’re doing. It’s a small corporation onto itself. So when I look at the way government has been operating for the past several decades, you realize that the governor and the state of Minnesota has 22 cabinet positions. That’s not a good way, I believe going forward, to, to design what you would call your operational team. I believe in the secretarial model where you’d have approximately six people with different responsibilities for different state agencies that are reporting directly to the Governor. And you would set four goals. You would set annual goals and you would set biannual goals and you would sit down as a team and evaluate are those goals being accomplished. And then, ah, leadership is all about making the decisions that need to be made. If they’re not being achieved then you have to make adjustments and make sure that you can accomplish your goals. But I’m gonna tell you. Part of it is going to be working with the public. There’s an attitude that government when they come out, politicians come out and tell us they’ve been doing this to me my whole life , this is what we’re going to do for you. That’ s code for this is what we’re going to do TO you. I think governments got to start working in a responsive fashion. It’s not just the design and the goals that you set but those goals have to be set with the business community. It’s, it’s got to be a partnership where the business community saying ‘this is what we need, we need these regulations adjusted, modified, eliminated. This is what we need to have the resources that are important for us to make the investments in this state going forward to create jobs’. And that’s what has to happen in the next few years. [1:26:48]

Moderator: Thank you. Mister Horner, as prospective CEO how would you introduce accountability…

Tom Horner: Well first of all, let me say that I’m a great admirer of Annette Meeks and the work that she did. But I also believe that if any CEO walked into his or her board of directors and said ‘here’s our design’ based on the economy as it existed 12 years ago, even the most loyal board of directors would have said ‘you’re out of here’. A 12-year-old redesign program is pointless. So look at my proposals. I have a redesign proposal that doesn’t talk about life as it was 12 years ago, it talks about how life will be in the next four to eight years. That’s what we need to focus on. And so here’s how you build accountability into government. First of all we need to make the transition to outcomes based budgeting. What do we want to achieve. What are the goals. How are we going to measure ourselves against those outcomes and then figure out how you get there. I’ve started to build in the transition to outcomes based budgeting in my proposal. Secondly, we need to just bring some common sense. We ought to be able to say to businesses, if there aren’t any extraordinary circumstances, ‘we’ll get you an answer to your permitting question in six months’ . We ought to be able to do that. There was a construction company in St Paul, wanted to do a project, went through all the permitting. Couldn’t get the credit. Not an unfamiliar story to a lot of small businesses these days. A year went by, finally got the credit, went back to the government and said sorry you’re going to have to start the process all over again. How ridiculous is that? Nothing had changed. Everything was the same. You got to bring some common sense. But we also have to hold our government accountable. And we have to do it in a way that makes it transparent to the public. And so one of the things I’ve proposed is, let’s set accountability. Let’s set measurements. Let’s set the standards that we want to judge every program that we’re we’re funding and put it on the website. Let people go there to see what are the measures, what are the outcomes, how much money is being spent and are we achieving it. That’s the tone that starts from the top. That’s the tone that comes from a lifetime in in business in public and in community service. [1:29:02]

Moderator: Thank you. And we’ll now hear from Senator Dayton. How would you as CEO…

Mark Dayton: Well, I agree that accountability in government is is absolutely essential. And we have a ways to go to restore people’s trust in government and it’s efficiencies and its effectiveness. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, set a set of Rumsfield’s rules. And one of them was that ‘what is measured improves’. And I would agree with Mister Horner. I think we need to make government focus on what outcomes it’s looking for. It needs to say this is how much money we’re spending to achieve this outcome. And we need to then measure what whether we’re getting results or not and measure the cost effectiveness of those expenditures. They have to be valid measures of comparison. They can’t be like ah, under No Child Left Behind when when you measure this year’s fourth grade class against last year’s fourth grade class, which is an invalid comparison and then make a judgement on performance based on that invalid result. So you have to be, it has to be quantifiable and it has to be relevant to the the expenditure. But we do need to look and see where government can spend money more wisely and where government should not be spending money at all. We need to streamline as I said earlier. We need to reduce the the the duplication, the multiplication of reporting requirements and and duplicative regulations and rules. When I was in the Senate the Mayo Clinic told me there are 110 thousand pages of Medicare rules and regulations . Well, I didn’t have time to read them all so I their took their word for it , and I actually proposed an amendment on the Senate floor that that gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services 18 months to reduce that number of pages by two-thirds. The assumption being that it couldn’t be said in 37 thousand pages, it didn’t need to be said. (audience laughter) And lo and behold, you may be amazed at the number of groups effected by them, even the American Medical Association came forward in opposition and said we want to protect all these little intricacies, because they’re afraid it might adversely effect what they’re doing. So it’s not as simple as as once sided. It needs to be collaborative and and then finally I would say also that we need to remind every person who’s drawing a public paycheck, starting with the Governor, everyone elected, everyone appointed, everyone hired, that we are public servants. We serve the people of Minnesota . We’re being paid with their hard earned tax dollars. Your hard-earned tax dollars. We can’t provide everything that people want, but we do have a responsibility to provide public services, timely, respectively and efficiently and to be as responsive and to meet deadlines and that will happen if I’m Governor. [1:31:27]

Moderator: Thank you. As our time draws to a close, each candidate will have a brief closing statement and we will do this in reverse order of the opening statements. Meaning that Mister Horner will go first.

Tom Horner: Well thank you very much and I thank all of you for for attending, for listening to us, for giving us the opportunity to share thoughts with you. I hope that the the end of this we’ll have a opportunity to get your feedback and and hear what we, what you have to say about our positions. You know I think that this election is really is going to come down to a couple of of critical issues. Certainly there’s going to be a lot of conversation as there should be about the economy. About job creation. About growth. About the role of government. Those are important issues. But I think the two critical issues, what’s the vision we have for Minnesota, what kind of a Minnesota do we want to live in and what are we willing to do to get there? And that’s a critical issue. That’s an issue as a state, we need to have that discussion. We need to have that that resolution. And we have to do it in a broad conversation. And I think the second critical issue is going to be leadership. Which of the three candidates has the temperament, the experience, the ability to forge consensus? To bring people together? To create new bold ideas that that will take Minnesota into the future? This is a critical time for Minnesota. We have significant decisions that have to be made in the next four years . Important decisions. If we don’t use this campaign to lay out specific issues, to lay out specific challenges to voters, to say here’s where I’m going to take the state. To create that vision and engage them in understanding the challenges, we will have wasted the opportunity of this campaign to forge the kind of consensus that will be needed to take Minnesota into the future. And so what I offer, the the experience that comes from a career in community service in fogging consensus, a career in running a business. I know what it takes to meet a payroll, to create a job in Minnesota. I’ve had to sign the front of a paycheck, not just the back of a paycheck. I know what it takes to deal with employees and their, their health care needs, their benefits needs. That’s the kind of leadership and experience that I think Minnesota needs in the next four years. that’s why I would ask for your support and why I so greatly appreciate this opportunity this morning. Thank you. [1:33:56]

Moderator: Thank you. And Representative Emmer.

Tom Emmer: Thank you. Thanks again to the University. Thank you to ah the Journal and thank you to all you and my colleagues for being here today. These are great opportunities for us to show you who we are and what we’re about and what our vision is. This election is a choice about, ah, do we continue do what we’ve been doing, maybe with a little bit variation, but it’s still about funding what we have. Or do we actually look at being bold and changing how we do things in the state of Minnesota? You know everybody talks about ah, cutting, cutting the budget. I’ve already told you we’re going to have more revenue in the next biennium than we have right now. It is the greatest opportunity you and I have ever had, this state of Minnesota has ever had to make significant changes in how government operates. Making government once again, serve people as opposed to constantly asking people to fund it. And we can deliver the services that people expect in a more efficient manner, but then it’s about putting people back in charge of their own opportunities. And here’s an example that I give to college kids when I talk about how out of balance we are. I want you to image that a couple horses get together one day and they’re going to pull a wagon. We’ll call the wagon the state of Minnesota. And over the years they add more and more horses, until you have a long line of horses that are pulling that wagon and it is sailing down the road. Until that day comes when the first two horses decide they’re going to ride in the wagon, and then the next two horses, and then the next two horses. Ladies and gentlemen, the wagon of government in the state of Minnesota is overloaded. The horses that we have, and God bless them for still being here in the state of Minnesota, they are struggling to pull that wagon. It is time to unload some of that burden. It’s time to attract some new economic horses to pull Minnesota forward in the 21st century and that is not going to be about raising taxes no matter what they are. I’m not talking about not just raising taxes on the high end. I’m talking about not raising taxes for anyone. Eliminating regulation and freeing up those horses to run again. That’s the future in this state. That’s what will drive new jobs and selfishly, that is what will give my children and yours the future that we so desperately want for them. Thank you for having me. [1:36:09]

Moderator: Thank you. And Senator Dayton.

Mark Dayton: i want to thank the Journal. I want to thank Saint Thomas and I want to apologize in advance for leaving right after I finish my remarks but I have a press conference at the capitol in 22 minutes.

Tom Emmer: I forgive you.

Mark Dayton: I appreciate the chance to talk about the future. We had and excellent discussion here and that, I think we agree this election should be about the future of Minnesota. This state is headed in the wrong direction. And we have honest disagreements about what that new direction ought to be. We have differences about how to raise revenues in order to fund essential services. I believe taxes need to be made more progressive or at least less regressive. And uh, my two colleagues here would both make taxes in Minnesota more regressive, falling harder on working income middle-income families. The, the, but the purpose of raising revenues at all is to do two things. One is to eliminate a six billion dollar deficit. As I said earlier that’s 16 percent of the projected state budget. That’s one out of every six dollars the state is projected to spend in the next biennium. And anybody who tells you that they can cut that and not have significant effects, even drastic effects on people’s lives is, should be obligated to be specific in totality about where those cuts will take place and who they will effect and what the consequences will be. The reason then also is to make investments in the future of Minnesota. That’s what this election is about. How do we invest in a better future for Minnesota. What is state government’s role. And I think there is a legitimate role for government to play. First and foremost is to restore our investment in public education. Starting with early childhood, K-12, higher education. When, when Minnesota’s K-12 education funding has been cut by an average of 1,300 dollars per student after inflation over the last eight years, we’re going in the wrong direction. When the college tuitions in Minnesota are among the highest in the nation, we’re going the wrong direction. We need to make those investments in better education, we need to make education affordable, we may even need to make preparing students for the future. We need a quality health care system that’s accessible and affordable for all of our citizens. We need to reinvest in our infrastructure. One of these debates soon we’ll have some questions on infrastructure. The deterioration of our highway system, our inadequacy of our public transit system. And we need better government. We need more efficient, more responsive, more cost-effective government. If we make those investments, we’ll create a better Minnesota. And again I apologize for having to leave. [1:38:30]

Moderator: Gentlemen, I thank you. Individually and collectively. ( Audience applauds) In a rather short time one of the three of our assembly will ascend to the highest elective office in our state. As the campaign moves forward, we wish each of you a fair and open opportunity to connect with the voters who will ultimately make this decision in the true spirit of American democracy. I thank the audience and I remind you that the opinions and commentary of our guests are their’s alone and not that of the University of Saint Thomas or the Business Journal. Thank you all. (audience applauds)

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »