A Fresh Start, Politically SpeakingAugust 13th, 2010 by Chris Henry
With the primary nearly upon us, I’m priming the pump here on an issues-oriented discussion that hopefully will move beyond the discussion of candidates’ service records in the Richards-Seaquist race.
My questions are somewhat general and simplistic, but hopefully they’ll get the conversation going. Candidates, readers, jump in.
Think of the state budget process as an emergency room triage situation in which certain programs and functions of the state must receive care at the expense of others. What methods do you (incumbents) or would you (challengers) employ to set priorities among the following state programs: health, human services, transportation, education, environmental preservation, law and justice, parks and recreation, and basic administrative functions (elections, treasurer, attorney general etc.).
In other words, everything’s a trade-off. What threshold or criteria make one program or expenditure something you would support at the expense of other state functions? Give specific examples.
What can be done to make more state functions self-sustaining? Give specific examples.
People frequently reference privatizing liquor sales. Do you agree? What other state functions could be jettisoned … At what cost to the public or to the state as whole? Feel free to enlighten us on your understanding of how state government is organized and what obstacles present themselves in any discussion of shrinking government.
Most candidates I’ve talked to say the key to restarting the economy is helping business (especially small business) survive and thrive. How would you do this? Give specific examples. What are the obstacles to enacting these changes?
On education, if you had to make choice between funding a certain program for Pre-K or post-secondary education, which would you choose? Alternately, if you had a certain pot of money to allocate to Pre-K or post-secondary education, what percentage would you give to each.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Chris Henry, reporter