The Legislature and the Governor have been playing "budget games" with Minnesota's budget since 2002. The last Governor that proposed a real budget fix was Governor Ventura. Sadly, his proposal was ignored by the Democrats and Republicans in 2002 and the state has been playing the shift and borrow games for seven years. Maybe our elected leaders will actually do something this year that will bring about a long term solution.

The piece of the puzzle that was ignored in 2002 was Ventura's proposal to broaden the sales tax to services. Service have become a larger part of our economy every year but we refuse to adjust our tax policy to reflect this reality. The first thing that I would do would be to expand the sales tax to services.

The next thing that needs to be done is to do an across the board reduction of 5%. We have all had to cut back our spending in this economy and it is about time the State Government followed suit.

The shift is the payments to schools should be used. Yes, this is an accounting gimmick but it is the one gimmick that I can live with.

We should then restore the income tax level for the upper wage earners to its 1999 level.

This would be a great way to actually provide a more stable income source to balance our budget not only for the next two years but into the future.

Dean Barkley