When Joe Atkins took office in January 2003, the State of Minnesota faced a $4.56 billion deficit. Now the deficit is gone. A number of Rep. Atkins' cost-saving ideas have been incorporated into the state budget over the years. You would think he would be pleased.
However, Rep. Atkins is far from satisfied with the State's financial condition. In order to address the deficit, House leadership utilized $1.4 billion in one-time revenues, loans and accounting shifts to balance the budget. "It was like balancing the State's budget on a credit card. Eventually the bill comes due," Atkins said, "And it caused a downgrade in the State's bond rating, which will cost us more in the long run."
Thus, Atkins is again offering new ideas to bring structural soundness to the State's finances, just like he and his fellow City Council Members did successfully for a decade in Inver Grove Heights.