Federal budget town hall - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Federal budget town hall

Rochester, Minn. (KTTC) --

Minnesota lawmakers on the state and federal levels are having a rough go at solving their budgets. Monday afternoon, Congressmen Tim Walz decided to try a different kind of town hall to get the opinions of voters

No screaming matches at this town hall. In fact, the crowd was put to work to find their own budget agreement amongst 3 or 4 people in a group. Giving them a taste of what budget negotiations are all about.

From national problems to state ones...

"The problem is rising health care costs."

The budget dilemma is taking center stage.

"The legislators are the problem. They're the ones running us into the ditch, totally," says town hall attendee Roger Gunderson.

Who takes the blame and what the compromise will be may be harder to solve, but after this town hall meeting, Congressman Tim Walz says he hopes voters will at least have some idea of what's it's like trying to find the solution.

"One of the problems is folks are going to find out here is, the real solution is a balanced approach, coming to that decision where we decide together where our priorities are, we reach it in a balanced way, and we balance the budget smartly," says Walz.

The Concord Coalition is hoping the way to bipartisanship is through mock budget negotiations. And each group of 4 to 5 people have to compromise at the table how they would balance the national budget.

"It's a good exercise. It brings out everybody's opinions, everybody's wants, everybody's things that they hold dear to their heart or that they hate and want cut. It's just like probably what happens in legislature," says Susan Nee, a town hall attendee.

"Trying to take the partisanship out of it and give people the raw date and the raw information, allows them as people to come up with solutions, rather than people of a party," explains Sara Imhof, with the Concord Coalition.

And with as little agenda as possible, these folks may not have all the answers, but after this unusual town hall, they may have a better perception of how budget negotiations are won.

Walz says he will take the worksheets back to Washington with him to help him as budget talks continue.

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