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Guest Commentary: Reforms will promote economic freedoms
by Ernie Leidiger
Feb 05, 2012 | 829 views | 1 1 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 2012 Legislature assembled last week in St. Paul. This session my colleagues and I are concerned with what matters most to Minnesotans: jobs and the economy, family finances, and government reform.

Just as the Legislature enters the new year with its fiscal house in order, we need to ensure that you and your family have the freedom to manage and improve your finances.

I often talk about the need to approach the legislative mission in terms of strategy and its tactical implementation. We legislators must always keep in the forefront of our minds the idea that we need to do more to strengthen the freedom of our citizenry – our people – to unleash human potential, versus enlarging our government that retards economic growth.

Putting individual freedom first must be our overall strategy. That’s done by reducing the size and scope of state government, making it smaller, less expensive to operate, less intrusive, and more responsive to the individual through reforms that streamline functions.

Freedom from governmental intrusion – whether it be excessive taxation or burdensome regulations – will allow us to generate private sector jobs and economic development, as well as provide a healthy environment for improved family finances. But we must recognize that freedom as a strategy and overall goal is not merely an idea. It is accomplished through the day-to-day tactical implementation of legislation.

Last year’s session we worked on reforming the budget. We called it our Reform 1.0 initiative that largely contributed to the $876 million budget surplus we have today. During this year’s session, our tactics include a slate of reforms designed to promote and enhance more economic freedoms. We call it Reform 2.0, a package of many common sense bills.

Some of the bills will:

* Raise the threshold for what it takes to increase taxation.

* Establish ‘right-to-work’ legislation that ensures employment freedom.

* Phase out and eliminate the state business property tax.

* Reform the Executive Branch’s Rule Making to include legislative review prior to implementation.

* Enhance the Angel Investment Tax Credit to spur entrepreneurial innovation.

* Reform the prevailing wage laws to lower the cost of construction projects.

* Align government pay and benefits with the private sector.

* Create a primary contact for new and expanding businesses so that we have a one-stop shop for growing jobs in Minnesota.

These are just some of the initiatives we’ve put forward this year, but I invite you to visit for more information. In the end, we aim to save you, the taxpayer, money, promote free market job growth, and provide confidence to our business community to take risks and add jobs.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve District 34A in the state legislature. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts regarding Reform 2.0 or the 2012 legislative session.

Rep. Ernie Leidger (R-Mayer) represents western Carver County in District 34A, which includes Carver, Victoria and a portion of Chaska. He can be contacted at (651) 296-4282 or Sign up for e-mail updates at
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February 05, 2012
I was at Ernie’s house on Saturday, where he holding a fund raiser for Dan Severson who is vying for a US Senate endorsement. I’d met both Ernie and Dan before, and knew them to be staunch conservatives, but I figured something was missing. A good conservative seems to be greeted with glitter at any public event. It’s now considered a badge of honor to be presented with glitter and it was great honor to present both Dan and Ernie with their own glitter “badges”.

Of course I did not present this glitter to them in the same in the same cowardly fashion as is typical of a left wing application. I chose a much more civil approach. I informed them that I had a gift them, and explaining my logic, handed them a little baggie of glitter that they could carry around, and tell the world that each had already received his glitter, and has the conservative stamp approval.

Each received his glitter with a handshake and smile, and when it was over, there was no mess to clean up. And the best part is that I didn’t have to run away like a scared little rabbit. I left with the feeling that I could have a civil conversation with either of them anytime I wanted.

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