Q&A: Sustainable Budget, Prioritized Spending Are Paramount, Wardlow Says

To help voters learn more about local political candidates in advance of the general election, Eagan Patch asked all of the candidates about their views and accomplishments.

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School funding, state spending, job creation. Those are just a few of the issues that will drive voters to the polls on Nov. 6 to vote for their preferred candidate in local and state races.

To help voters learn more about Eagan City Council, House District 51A, House District 51B and Senate District 51 candidates, Eagan Patch asked all candidates to submit their responses to a set of questions regarding their views and accomplishments. Each candidate was limited to a 200-word response per question. We will publish their responses in installments leading up to Election Day. For ongoing political coverage, check out our 2012 Election Guide.

Without further ado, here are House District 51A Rep. Doug Wardlow's (R) responses.


Eagan Patch: What inspired you to run for re-election in Minnesota House District 51B?

House District 51B Rep. Doug Wardlow (R): We accomplished a great deal last session, balancing the budget without raising taxes, streamlining permitting and licensing for job creators, increasing funding for Eagan schools, and setting the conditions for private-sector job creation. But there is more work to do. My wife Jenny and I have two kids, Winston, age 2, and Annabelle, age 5 months. I am running for re-election because I want to make sure that they and all of our community's children grow up in a free and prosperous Minnesota.

Patch: Tell me about your previous accomplishments as an elected official representing Eagan. What other relevant background experience do you think you could bring to the position if re-elected?

Wardlow: I chief-authored and passed legislation reforming civil lawsuits to reduce the costs of frivolous litigation for job creators. I helped negotiate budget targets that led to a balanced budget. I helped prevent the largest proposed tax increase in the history of our state, saving countless jobs and preventing Minnesota from slipping into another recession. For my efforts, I have been awarded the NFIB's "Guardian of Small  Business Award." Job creators have endorsed my candidacy, including the MN Chamber of Commerce, the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Patch: What is something you think the current legislature has done well?

Wardlow: We made tough choices and balanced the budget without raising taxes. As a result, the economy in Minnesota is growing faster and unemployment levels are falling faster than the national average. We also increased funding for excellent suburban schools, including Eagan schools, helping to level the funding disparity between urban and suburban schools.     

Patch: What is something you think the current legislature has done poorly?

Wardlow: We have more work to do on comprehensive tax reform. We need to reduce tax rates while eliminating certain tax preferences in order to stimulate economic growth. We need to stop double-taxing business property. We attempted to phase out this unfair tax, but the bill was vetoed. Also, I voted to pay back the "school shift," but the bill was vetoed. It is important to note that there has been a lot of misinformation about the "school shift." In fact, Governor Dayton first proposed a larger school shift (moving from 70-30 to 50-50), which the legislature rejected. We compromised at 60-40. Nearly half of the shift from 70-30 to 60-40 has already been paid back as a result of higher-than-anticipated tax receipts due to Minnesota's growing economy.  

Patch: What are some of the most pressing, long-term issues facing House District 51B? The state?

Wardlow: We cannot continue to increase spending year after year. We must develop a sustainable budget, which means prioritizing spending so that government can continue to fund priorities like law enforcement, the courts and education at sufficient levels. If we hold tax rates where they are and hold spending at current levels (no cuts), we will have a $2.6 billion surplus next biennium. We can use the money to pay back the rest of the "school shift" in its entirety.  

Patch: Why should constituents vote for you in November? What distinguishes you from your opposition?

Wardlow: Constituents have a clear choice in November, because my opponent and I very different ideas about government. In my view, we cannot overcome challenges with more government spending or more government programs or control. Rather, to build lasting prosperity, we need a limited government that focuses on core functions—law enforcement, education, and providing a safety net, for example. We need fiscally-responsible government that lives within its means. To unleash the job-creating power of free enterprise, we need a government that trusts each of us to pursue our dreams, build our families, and help our neighbors in need. I believe that we will succeed as a state if we unite around our founding principles—freedom, limited and efficient government, and personal responsibility.

Patch: Anything else you would like to add?

Wardlow: It is critical that we continue down the path of fiscal responsibility and private-sector job creation. We also need to reward excellent teachers and schools and focus education dollars in the classroom. Our future prosperity depends on it.

Stay on top of the 2012 election cycle. Check out these other Q&As with our local Eagan legislative candidates:

  • Q&A: Masin Believes Current Legislature Unable to Address Minnesota's Needs
John Wells October 19, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It is hard to know where to begin. Wardlow says he wants "our community's children grow up in a free and prosperous Minnesota," yet he advocated the most invasive government takeover of human rights ever attempted in Minnesota with the anti-marraige and voter rights restriction amendments. He talks about getting government out of the way of small business, but what he means is let irresponsible business shirk their responsibility to our community by keeping the environment we cherish safe and clean. A prosperous Minnesota has that kind of environment, which is why more reasoned and sensible people from both parties have fought for those basic environmental controls over the years. Even Governor Pawlenty saw no need for rolling them back; in fact, his Clean Water Initiative went the other way. Finally, Wardlow talks about trying to find a sustainable solution to the state budget, but I can tell you as director of the Governor's Round Table on Sustainable Development under Governor Arne Carlson that you don't build a sustainable budget on the foundation of stealing from our future by borrowing from our schools. The upcoming budget deficit should make that more than evident.
Thomas Anderson October 19, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Wardlow balanced the budget by stealing money from schools and from raiding the tobacco settlement trust fund. One time budget gimmicks. Wardlow should be condemned for trying to write discrimination of a minority into our state constitution, totally contrary to the values of Minnesota and Eagan. I wouldn't vote for this ideological extremist in a million years.
Grace Kelly October 19, 2012 at 05:36 PM
When Doug says " increasing funding for Eagan schools", he leaves out borrowing 2.7 billion dollars from schools to pay state bills. Later, a little of that was paid so now it is ONLY 2.4 billion. But then people like Doug told the schools that they could spend more - was that just to cover the interest on forced fund borrowing? What budget is considered balanced when it is based on borrowing to pay short term bills? Apparently Republicans and Doug think that is a balanced budget. Would you let this guy run your business budget or your household budget on the borrow, borrow, borrow plan?
Rosco October 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Wardlow spent his time not creating 1 job. Fire Wardlow now.
Sherry D. October 31, 2012 at 08:40 PM
The Republicans skewed view of budgets seems to trickle down from the top of the party. They seem to think if you say what people want to hear enough times, they will make it true. Fact is, the Republicans shut down the State while union bashing and working on ALEC legislation, did not pass a single jobs bill, stole money from K-12, eliminated the Homestead Tax credit and Renters credit for many citizens, and then claimed they created a surplus. Please... Time to elect a representative who will tell the truth and actually work for the people she represents--Laurie Halverson.


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