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Letter: A solution for the state budget

It is too often that our desire to get new things exceeds our ability to pay for them. This is not only true for children at the candy store and adults in the electronics store; it is also true of our state government.

Since 1960, Minnesota's general fund budgets have increased by an average of 21 percent every two years. That figure is unsustainable. Because our state legislators (of all parties) have proven unable to contain spending, I think voters need to do something new.

We should scrap the practice of creating a two-year budget based on projected future revenues, and instead move forward in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that limits state spending in a given two-year budget cycle to the revenue collected in the previous two years.

Not only would this new budgeting policy help ensure that our government won't spend more money than it takes in, it would encourage lawmakers to consider where our state government priorities should be, because it puts the brakes on increases in new spending. By slowing the growth of new spending expenditures through the "Spending Accountability Amendment," we can give lawmakers the incentive they need to re-evaluate the functions and programs to which we allocate dollars.

Under this new policy, they would have the accountability needed to help ensure that the money of hard-working Minnesotans will be spent more efficiently and effectively.

Phil Cleary