MINNESOTAJOURNALVolume 28 Issue 1January/February 2011www.citizensleague.orgExpanding the Civic ImaginationWill Minnesotans engage in a discussionof the state fiscal challenges? You betcha!By Lindsey AlexanderFThe centerpiece ofthe Common Centsproject was aseries of community workshops.Citizens couldalso contributetheir input online.The workshopswere typically twohours long, splitrelatively evenly betweenpresentations of nonbiased, factual information aboutCOMMON CENTSthe state’s finances, and discussions of ways to addressThese statewide budget conversations revolved around the fiscal challenges facing the Minnesota—not onlythe idea that, when presented with straightforward and the current 6.2 billion budget deficit, but long-termunbiased information, not only can Minnesotans grasp challenges as well. As we went through the information, participantsthe state’s fiscal situwere given timeation, they can proto discuss and tovideinsightfulWe framed the budget as a statementrespond to quesfeedback and solutions designed totions. With thisof values—centered on the idea thatidentifytheirpremise in mind, thepriorities.Theybudget spending decisions reflect whatCitizensLeagueusedsmall,handrecently began a newkind of state Minnesotansheldpollingproject, CommondevicestorespondCents, funded by thewanttolivein.toquestionsandBush Foundation’stheircollectiveProspectsandresponses werePossibilities initiadisplayedinstantlyonabigscreensothat everybodytive. The Common Cents project has four main goals:couldseehowtheirprioritiescomparedwith theirto educate citizens on the realties facing the stateneighbors’priorities.budget; to inform the Bush Foundation’s work oncommunity life; to model meaningful civic discussionParticipants discussed and then voted individuallyon important issues; and, most importantly, to have on four general approaches to budget balancing:citizens share their vision, values and priorities on spending cuts, higher taxes, reform and economicwhat’s important them as policymakers work to solve growth. They reviewed information on areas of statethe state’s budget challenges.spending and then discussed with others at their tableamily dinnertime conversations can get interesting,especially around the holidays. I don’t know aboutyour family’s conversations, but mine run thegamut, from the stain color of the neighbor’s new fenceto health reform. (Throw a bottle of wine in there and it’sa free-for-all.) This year my holiday dinner conversationbroke new ground: Minnesota’s state budget. After takingpart in a tour of Minnesota and talking to people from allwalks of life about the state’s budget challenges, I felt Iwas up on the topic. Using the principles we employed inthese statewide conversations, by the end of dinnereveryone else was too.continued on page 10INSIDE2Engagement. 3Connections.From themember survey.4Viewpoint:Minnesotans areready for reform.5Dee Long:State’s fiscalchallenges requirecourage andleadership . .6Ward Einess:Tax expendituresare an importantpiece of thebudgetarypuzzle.8Perspectives: Twoviews of tax fairnessPeter J. Nelson,Center of theAmericanExperiment.14Chris Conry,TakeActionMinnesota.15
Building a League of CitizensMEMBER SPOTLIGHTJennifer Ford ReedyJennifer Ford Reedy is Vice President ofStrategy and Knowledge Management for theMinnesota Community Foundation and theSaint Paul Foundation. She is a member of theCitizens League Board of Directors and co-chairof the Communications Committee. She has beena member for more than seven years.Why she would recommend membership in the Citizens League to others:The Citizens League makes it easy for you to learn about critical issuesso that you can connect and engage with others who also care about thefuture of Minnesota.Thank you for your support in 2010Why she joined the Citizens League:I was active in a number of issues the Citizens League was working on andI saw that the Citizens League was bringing thoughtful analysis and freshenergy to those issues. I wanted to support that effort.How she practices civic engagement:I work for two community foundations. A large part of our mission is toenergize people to give to and collaborate for the benefit of theircommunities. My involvement in the Citizens League helps me more deeplyunderstand strategies for civic engagement that directly apply to the workwe are doing throughout Minnesota.Our members’ generosity helped us to succeed in 2010! We are excited toreport that your contributions exceeded our fundraising goals and earneda 10,000 matching grant from the Pohlad Family Foundation.The Citizens League gained 781 new members in 2010, and more than250 renewing members increased their contributions. In addition,members gave introductory gift memberships to 90 friends,family members, and colleagues, all of which brought us close toreaching our overall membership goal.Your increased support will allow us to amplify outreach, enhancecommunications, expand our engagement work, and continue our policysuccess in 2011 as we head into our 60th year in 2012.Thank you to our new sustaining members!Sustaining members schedule regular monthly or quarterly payments of any amount.Sheila GrahamVictoria Ford and Matt CrowleySuzanne Peterson and Sean FuhrmannDana and Jon SchroederNew and rejoining members and contributing organizationsIndividualmembersMichael J. AndersonDave AstinSue AstinCindy BanchyJohn BanchyCoCo BankenPaul BarnesStephanie BarnesJim BartholomewJulia BartholomewDavid BartonCarol BeckerThomas BellBart BevinsBill BloedowBarbara BlumerMallory BoeyinkRussell BoverhuisAnni BowersDan BradyAnne BrickBob BrickJohn BridgemanMelodie BridgemanDon BrownDonald P. BrownErica BrownRaichel BrownSteven BrunnJudy BudreauKatie Burns2David BushnellJon CaliriChristine CarrageeGary CharlesLeo ChristensonRob ColasantiCharles CoskranMegan CoxKimberly R. CrockettMark CullenJane CunninghamCynthia DaggettGordy DalmanEdward DaytonNick DotyAnna Dunbar-HesterAmelia EddlemanThomas EdmanGordon EidMarilyn EidDeborah EllsworthKenneth EllsworthMike EngelLinda FauchaldAndrea FeshbachDaniel FliesAnita FosterDarrell GerberWilliam GerstEllen Mary GibsonMaureen GitlinBill GlahnLisa GlassKris GrangaardTom GriffinCarl HaaveBob HainesDona HainesCarol HalonenSue HamiltonBette HammelMona HannonShepard HarrisRobert HathewayTodd HeimanSally HermantoAmy HertelBill HiltySam HintonElizabeth HjelmenDustin HoffmanArthur L HogensonAllie HutchinsJoe HutchinsJim IveyTakida JacoAshley JamesRebecca JergensonKim KangPatt KeaneAnna KershawDavid KershawEllen KershawMark KershawScott KindrickRichard KlevenJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011Renee KlitkzeTheodore KoeppenDavid KrahnLes KrausSusan RosenthalKrausMatt KrihaRyan KroeningChad KulasJoyce LaFontaineNick LaFontaineDeanna LaneJohn LarsenJane LeonardBill LermanMary LermanCarla LeVanderHarold LeVander JrJames LewisLee LewisMatthew LewisRandi LydersRenee MaassAli MachendrieEcklandGerald MagnusonBonnie MarshallOlivia MastryPatricia McCormackErica McDougallRob McGarryMary McKinleyMelissa McLeanAndy McMahonThomas McSteenOpheila MensahGene MerriamLindsey MillerReed MillerCatherine MohnDavid MonaLinda MonaJames MortonTeri NaabSharon NatzelMonesa NewellRolf NordstromKimberly NucklesDeb OlkonCynthia OrbovichSamuel OrbovichLars PekayCaryn PernuAmanda PetersenMaya PetrovicBrad PetrySharon PfeiferMary E. PickardPatricia PoolNancy PowellTom PratherJoseph PressellerSara RaboltMichael ReadingTom RenshawDenise RobertsonKeith RobinsonLisa RobinsonJeanne RonayneAnne RosenbergMarilyn RothschildSteven M.RothschildKelly RowanCristina SainatiJeff SammonBob SamonArnd ScheelKathy SchmidlkoferPatty SchmidtJason SchochSamuel SchulhoferWohlKelly SchultzCharlotte SebastianClarence J.ShallbetterAlan P ShilepskyBecky SiekmeierJoseph SixtaBeckie SkeltonKristine J SmithKatherine SpeerMatt SpillumMario SplichalKaren StauberFrank SteckAlison ThurnerDan TurnerDori UllmanMary Ann Van CuraNatalie VestinPatrice VickMarya WaletzkoWendy C. WehrWilliam WeirAdam WelleKeely WheatonMonica WilliamsJosh WingRamya WinsteadRichard ZemelMike ZisFirms andorganizationsAgeWell Home CareAging Services ofMinnesotaAllina HealthSystemBellcombTechnologiesIncorporatedBest Buy Co. Inc.Blandin FoundationBlue Cross & BlueShield of MinnesotaBush FoundationCare Providers ofMinnesotaCity of MoorheadComcastConsulate Generalof CanadaCorporateIncentives, Inc.Dorsey & WhitneyEcumenFaribault Foods Inc.FOCUS St. LouisFredrikson &Byron, P.A.Grassroots SolutionsGrowth & JusticeHealthPartnersJefferson LinesLarsonAllen LLPMarshall & IlsleyBankMcCarthy Centerfor Public Policy &Civic EngagementMedicaNorthwest AreaFoundationPortico HealthnetRobins, Kaplan,Miller, & CiresiRochester PostBulletinScott CountyAdministrationThe Dorsey &Whitney FoundationThomson ReutersTwin Cities LocalInitiatives SupportCorporationWeber ShandwickWorldwide
ENGAGEMENTWhat We’re Doing and How You Can Get InvolvedCitizens League 2011 Policy AdvancementThe Citizens League advances policy development on several levels, fromprocesses geared to find common values among divergent viewpoints tospecific legislative proposals. Here are some of the areas we will be workingto advance in 2011.LONG-TERM CARE FINANCING FOR THE ELDERLYCOMMON CENTSThis statewide project will develop principles, priorities and an action planfor elected officials and the public to address Minnesota’s budget shortfall inthe next two years and in the long term. The project will inform a broad crosssection of the public, engage a spectrum of perspectives, values and interests, and develop guidelines on budget priorities and decisions fromMinnesotans to the governor and the Legislature. Redesign Medicaid to provide a co-insurance option.TRANSPORTATION Make available and promote a variety of financial products, especially thoseaimed at middle income households: prize-linked savings, a hybrid homeequity/reverse mortgage, and a broader mix of affordable insurance options.Build on the 2005 report “Driving Blind” which calls for a more transparentaccounting of the costs of transportation behaviors and a more transparentfinancing system based on actual costs and benefits. Evaluate and expandthe efforts of the Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) and the recent studyof value capture options. M ake unbiased information about long-term care planning and financialoptions readily available to the general public so that long-term care planning becomes an essential and intrinsic part of retirement planning.PATHWAYS TO PROSPERITYFamily prosperity (decision making and independence): The currentfocus on “navigating the lines” of poverty should change. Poverty programsshould work toward family prosperity goals by: Removing current asset limits. Rather than restrict assets, shift the focusto asset-building and define policy, program and individual success inthose terms. Using conditional cash transfers as a more straightforward and targetedway to demonstrate results. Using prize-linked savings and other tools to get more families on a path tofinancial stability and encourage the “unbanked” to use the financial system.Building community networks and civic infrastructure: Despite all thegood work currently being done in our communities, the plethora of nongovernmental organizations working in conjunction with government serviceshas resulted in a system that requires high levels of navigation to access. The current service-delivery system should move aggressively towardintegrated community resource hubs that are unique to the needs andresources of each community. These hubs should aim to significantlyreduce the amount of time and resources spent “navigating the line.”Change in government role to support prosperity: Government playsa dominant role not only in determining who is poor and who deservesassistance but also in the delivery of benefits, services and programs. Fundingstreams are currently aligned with various policy “silos” and committees. Wemust significantly reallocate resources to better support family prosperityand community networks. Human capital performance bonds that invest directly in building thecapacity of people. New definition of government benefits that includes tax expenditures.WATER GOVERNANCEValuing eco-services in agriculture: Expand the approach of the LivestockEnvironmental Quality Assurance program which uses an index to assess farmimpact on a variety of factors. Give farms “water quality scores” to communicate and align incentives among farms, businesses and government agencies.Collaborating on urban stormwater: Local governments and residentsshould better collaborate to frame issues, set priorities and address challenges like nonpoint source pollution.Make water quality information accessible to the public: Fromindividual citizens to decision makers at the capitol, Minnesotans lack thenecessary data and analysis to make effective water policy decisions. In manycases this could be improved by better communicating existing data. TheCitizens League is exploring a data mash-up (for web and mobile app) thatwould provide information about water quality, fish, invasive species, andgovernment and civic organizations working on water quality. The app wouldcombine government data and user-generated content.ELECTRICAL ENERGYThe Citizens League is convening electrical energy producers and distributors,businesses, environmental organizations, government and unaffiliated citizens to identify the needs and define the key attributes of Minnesota’selectrical system in 2040 in a way that lays the foundation for advancingthese definitions.JUDICIAL SELECTION AND ELECTIONSThe top requirement of Minnesota’s judicial system is to be an impartial interpreter of the law. The current electoral process directly challenges that role byincluding the mechanism for partisan political campaigns where judges areexpected to take positions (make political promises) before they hear the meritsof a specific case. This violates the principle of impartiality. The Citizens Leaguehas joined the Coalition for Impartial Justice to pursue a constitutional amendment that would change the way judges are selected, elected and retained.To get involved or find out more about any of these projects, contact Annie Levenson-Falk firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-293-0575 ext. 16. Get more information about all of our work at www.citizensleague.org.JANUARY/FEBRUARY 20113
We asked and you respondedThe annual member survey results are inThank you to the more than 200 members who recently completed our annual member survey. We appreciate the time youtook to share your opinions and ideas. Here is some of what weheard from you.Communication.NoThe good news isResponsethat 60 percent ofmemberswhoresponded think theCitizens League isRight Directionmoving in the rightdirection. The badUnclearnews: 40 percentsaid the direction ofthe Citizens Leagueis unclear. That tellsus that we need toWrong Direction: 1do a better job communicatingourwork and its impact. We will increase our communications capacity in 2011, an opportunity made possible by increased membercontributions.4871104mon values among Minnesotans and build sustainable policysolutions based on those values. In some ways, this is a significantshift from the way the Citizens League has operated in the past(and it is a work in progress) but we feel that this approach willgreatly increase the impact of our work. We have already hadsome successes, and there will be many more opportunities for usto demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach in 2011 (seepage 3).Collaboration. Members requested we develop additional partnerships and collaborate more with community groups.Collaboration is at the heart of Citizens League’s work. Byinvolving people with a broad range of viewpoints in our workwe are able to arrive at stronger, more realistic recommendations and conclusions, and we are better able to advance thoserecommendations. For example, our long-term care financingsteering team included representatives from more than 20organizations. That project has received significant mediacoverage and we are hopeful that there will be action on ourrecommendations this year. Visit www.citizensleague.org/press/or www.citizensleague.org/what/policy/aging to read more.Impact. You told us that we need to demonstrate effectiveness andto insure that the work of our members doesn’t just end up in afiling cabinet. We agree.More email correspondence. Fewer mailed reminders. TheMinnesota Journal online. You can opt to have the MinnesotaJournal delivered to your inbox. Email email@example.com tosign up. In 2011, we will be working to make the electronicMinnesota Journal a more robust and interactive publication.You told us that we need to demonstrateAlso this year, we are switching to a quarterly membershipcycle, with more frequent email reminders. This switch will savepostage and processing costs, and allow staff to spend more timeon engagement and retention—per your requests!effectiveness and to insure that the workof our members doesn’t just end up in afiling cabinet. We agree.Policy impact used to be defined mainly in terms of our abilityto influence and effect change at the governmental level. Whilethat continues to be a major area of activity, much of the CitizensLeague’s current efforts are focused on helping all citizens becomepolicymakers and governing members of society. By doing so webelieve we create a more sustainable base and basis for policymaking in Minnesota.Government alone cannot solve many of the problems facingour state today. Citizens must foster change individually andwithin the organizations where they have influence. To effectivelyimpact policy, the Citizens League needs to work to identify com-4JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011More member-to-member contact. Sixty-seven percent of members said they heard about the Citizens League from a friend,family member, colleague, or by word of mouth, and many of youwant more connection with other members. In 2011, the CitizensLeague will host quarterly member-to-member outreach events.For more information or to volunteer contact Cat Beltmann firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.293.0575 ext. 10.Affordable membership dues. Contribute any amount and becomea member! We’re committed to keeping membership affordable.Suggested membership dues are 25 per year. Of course, to insurethat we have the necessary funding to continue our work (25% ofour budget comes from individual contributions), we encouragefrom those who are able to make larger contributions.Thank you for taking the time to respond! Your input will informour work in 2011 and beyond. Still want to weigh in? Take thesurvey at www.Bit.ly/eJZhhm.
Voices In My HeadMinnesotans are ready and willing to cross the great divideWe just need to give them the opportunity and the tools to govern for the common goodby Sean KershawIf I’ve learned one thing about this job,it’s that the best policy work alwaysbegins with a better definition of theproblem. The way we frame a problemdetermines what resources and strategieswe use to address it, and, ultimately,whether we can address it at all.sacrifice if the result is realMinnesota’s budget crisis is bad, and itwill only get worse if we fail to make significant reforms. However, the nature ofany reform or solution will require thebuy-in and active involvement ofMinnesotans everywhere. Are Minnesotansable to make the changes necessary topreserve our quality of life and economichealth? Or do we simply want more thanwe are willing to pay for? Are we paralyzed by partisanship?and wonder why they don’t get it. As aresult, we misunderstand others’ concernsand motivations and miss opportunities tosee that we share the same values andgoals for the future. By reframing ourbudget conversations around the values weshare as Minnesotans (e.g. caring for ourkids, our parents and our natural resources), we create opportunities for compromises that will allow us to
Patricia Pool Nancy Powell Tom Prather Joseph Presseller Sara Rabolt Michael Reading Tom Renshaw Denise Robertson . The Citizens League gained 781 new members in 2010, and more than . (UPA) and th