Our view/Endorsement: Tomassoni: Experience for turbulent times
It may not always seem so up north here, but the state of Minnesota is growing, meaning the costs of education, health and human services and other things provided by state government have to similarly expand. That's a sometimes tough-to-accept r...
It may not always seem so up north here, but the state of Minnesota is growing, meaning the costs of education, health and human services and other things provided by state government have to similarly expand. That's a sometimes tough-to-accept reality, especially in an economic climate that demands every nickel be squeezed to its fullest benefit.
"The cost of funding the state of Minnesota is growing. Can we sustain it? We have to sustain it," Sen. David Tomassoni, the District 5 incumbent, said during a News Tribune Opinion page forum last month with Iron Range candidates.
With the state facing a budget deficit estimated anywhere from $5 billion to $7 billion, experience is going to count this coming legislative session and beyond. District 5 voters can return 18 years of legislative know-how to St. Paul by re-electing Tomassoni. His focus and experience with finance, taxes and economic development issues are just what his district -- and the state Senate -- needs at this critical time.
Solving the state's budget problem will require difficult decisions, the sort you want grizzled, well-informed, seasoned leaders to be making. The solution, Tomassoni said, will
require a balance of cuts and revenue enhancements, including, possibly, yes, some tax increases.
"There's going to be a combination of things," the DFLer said. "If you want to do everything with cuts, you have to cut K-12 education, you have to raise tuition, you have to cut our hospitals, you have to cut our nursing homes, and you have to raise our property taxes. And I don't want to do all that stuff. ... If we do cuts only, you're going to lay off 10,000 to 15,000 people. In a jobless economy, you cannot afford to do that."
A bit quick to play the partisanship card and to blame Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty for the state's challenges, Tomassoni nonetheless has a record of encouraging job growth and a reputation for tirelessly pursuing new industries, including green energy, to the Iron Range and to Northeastern Minnesota.
"I'm running for re-election because I know the job is not done," Tomassoni said. "We have been going through some very, very tough times with the economy, and it's very important to me and to the people of the Iron Range that we continue to work to create jobs for this area and also for the state."
Like Tomassoni, the Republican challenger in Senate District 5, Matt Matasich of Virginia, knows a bit about creating jobs and encouraging economic development. He's a former citizen representative to the Iron Range Resources Board.
"It's time to attack the bureaucratic mess in this state through operations management," Matasich said. "Operations management is a key to the future of state government. It's done in the private. Things have happened there to make corporations more efficient. Government can do it, too."