Patricia "Pat" Anderson (Republican) - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Patricia "Pat" Anderson (Republican)

Despite ideological differences, there is a lot of group think going on at the capitol. Members of both parties are so focused on political battle that neither party is making serious proposals addressing badly needed government reform.

Projections are that in the next biennium Minnesota will face a $4-$5 billion structural deficit. It's a problem that can no longer be solved through temporary accounting shifts, and with the status of unallotment up in the air due to Judge Gearin's ruling that the governor exceeded his constitutional authority the deficit problem could get even worse.  Arbitrarily cutting a little spending here and there won't get the job done. There are only two alternatives — raising taxes and becoming a permanent high tax state (I disagree) or making real, dramatic public sector reform.

An independent, fiscally conservative reform-minded State Auditor is essential to making the kind of public sector reforms required to address structural problems in the way state and local governments interact. What most people don't realize is local government combined spends upwards of $20 billion a year — that is more than the state general fund spending in a given year. Ensuring that every penny of that money is spent as it is constitutionally obligated to be spent is essential.

Supporting my candidacy is choosing reform. Real reform requires vision, leadership, trust and the will to get the job accomplished. And while others may talk about reform, I have actually accomplished it in state government as State Auditor and as the Commissioner of the Department of Employee Relations, a position I eliminated when I merged the essential services of DOER into other departments and eliminated the rest. I am probably the only commissioner in Minnesota history to sign her own layoff papers.

I was an active State Auditor from 2003 to 2007. My department conducted dozens of studies on local government spending. I made the term "essential services" part of the local government vocabulary. Granted, the words stuck in the throat of some local officials who wanted their every spending plan deemed "essential," but nonetheless my office made gigantic strides in redefining the way local governments looked at their responsibilities to taxpayers. The State Auditor, independent of both the Legislature and the Governor's Office, has tremendous potential as a center of needed government reform.

We must reevaluate the relationship of state government upward to the federal government and downward to local governments. Upward, I believe we must stop considering ourselves customers of the federal government, exchanging the sovereignty of our state for federal funding. We must just say "no" to federal dollars attached to federal mandates that inhibit local efforts and force the state to alter its priorities. Downward, we should not do unto local governments as we would not have the federal government do unto us. State government must refrain from interfering in local government affairs, imposing excessive mandates on local government and encouraging frivolous local spending with state subsidies. Increasing the freedom of counties, school districts and cities is the best way to develop strong local communities.

There are essential services government must provide. But we have gone way beyond what is essential, creating a government program for every problem. We can no longer afford this. Creating interest groups and dependents only serves to weaken our great state and its local communities. We must provide individuals with a path to self-sufficiency by providing them the means to participate in the market economy with the rest of us. Creating a dependent society is stripping away the rights, dignity and liberty of the citizenry and our local units of government.

I believe in individual liberty protected by a government that is limited, smart, and transparent. My belief in these principles is not just an ideological faith; I will, and have, governed by these principles because they work.

It is time for the people to stop being servants to their government. We must return government to its legitimate purpose of serving the citizens of Minnesota. Local government is chartered to provide essential services to local citizens. The State Auditor is responsible to see that they do — ensure that local governments make every penny count in bad times and good. Beyond that, as one of only four elected constitutional offices, the State Auditor influences reforms that can give local communities more control over their affairs. That is my agenda.

Info from Pat Anderson's Website.

Pat

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