A response to Vince Beaudette

In the January 27 edition of the Chaska Herald, I had a letter to the editor detailing my disagreements with Rep. Ernie Leidiger on his support of H.F. 4 and H.F. 89.  Last week, Vince Beaudette, an officer with the Carver County GOP, fired back with his response.

I have a couple of responses to Beaudette’s comments.  First, as it relates to the state workforce, nowhere I have I opposed the notion of cutting the state workforce.  In fact, significant cuts in the state workforce will be required given the current budget situaton.  What I do oppose is the way that H.F. 4 goes about it.  The proper way to reduce a workforce is to identify the functions or programs you aren’t going to do anymore first, then determine the level of staffing cuts you can make afterwards. 

H.F. 4 sets about the process of reducing the state workforce in a completely backwards way — by mandating the size of the cut before you know the functions that are required to be performed.  That is an approach that is doomed to failure.  That’s not how smart private sector leaders run their businesses, and it’s not how we should run our state government.

House Republicans have expressed a desire to balance the $6.2 billion deficit without any increases in revenue.  Yet, they couldn’t even hold their caucus together on a bill that only addressed one-sixth of that amount.  Some of the criticism that came from Republicans who voted against that bill was based on the fact that cuts weren’t smart enough — that they hurt critical programs while leaving other less-worthy programs untouched.

Citizens of this state deserve to know that the remaining functions of state government will be properly funded and staffed, so we get the service levels we need.  We have to be smart about these cuts, and not let ideology overrule best practices.

As for voter ID legislation, Beaudette completely ignores the facts regarding voter fraud in this state to trot out the typical boogeymen used by voter ID supporters.  The fact remains that there is no evidence of any significant level of voter fraud in this state.  In a time of this $6.2 billion deficit, Leidiger, Beaudette, and other Republicans want the state to commit to a costly new electronic voter ID system to solve a problem that doesn’t exist while disenfranchising substantial numbers of poor and elderly voters (18% of women over the age of 65 don’t have a driver’s license, for instance).  That’s bad public policy — again, driven by ideology, not facts.

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