Capital Campus Minnesota 2006

Mar 14, 2006Mar 15, 2006
<p>Minnesota State Office Building, Room 300 South</p>

The Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

Surplus in the Snow: Plotting Minnesota's Fiscal Course with a Budget Surplus

Welcome by Tim Penny, former member of Congress, and co-director of the Humphrey Institute Policy Forum, and Lawson Bader, director of economic education, Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Panel Discussion and Q&A

  • Maurice McTigue, distinguished visiting scholar, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and former New Zealand cabinet minister and member of Parliament, will bring his lessons from New Zealand to bear on the opportunities and potential pitfalls of budgeting in a time of surplus.  He will argue that periods of prosperity call for heightened fiscal responsibility and forward-thinking decision making, and will provide real world examples of successful approaches to budgeting with a surplus.
  • Ron Snell, director of Economic, Fiscal and Human Resources, National Conference of State Legislatures, will briefly review recent state fiscal developments, and summarize what best practices experts recommend to states to help minimize the effect of swings in the economy on state budgets.  Those best practices recognize that prosperity can pose as difficult technical and political questions to policymakers as revenue shortfalls do.
  • Brian Stenson, deputy director, Rockefeller Institute, and former chief budget examiner for fiscal planning, New York State Division of Budget, will discuss budget strategy from a state practitioner’s perspective.  He will offer insights on state government reserve funds, specifically generating and using reserves, understanding explicit vs. "hidden" reserves, and balancing risks to the budget with reserves.
  • Tim Stinson, Minnesota state economist, and associate professor of applied economics, University of Minnesota.
  • Moderated by: Pam Wheelock, former commissioner, Minnesota Department of Finance, and executive vice president and chief financial officer, Minnesota Sports and Entertainment.

Achievement, Assessment and Accountability: K-12 Education Policy in Minnesota

  • Antony Davies, associate professor of economics, Duquesne University School of Business, will apply lessons from the marketplace to a discussion about the economics of education, particularly the mechanisms by which accountability facilitates higher educational achievement.  He will examine the role of standardized testing and other types of assessment in providing useful feedback to educators, parents, and policymakers and will discuss the varying models of implementing assessment results to foster better educational outcomes.
  • Kent Pekel, senior associate for policy, National Center on Education and the Economy, will share the perspective of a former school district administrator and classroom teacher on the educational accountability issues facing Minnesota today.  He will suggest that in the big picture, the accountability movement to date has helped to move public education forward, but that states like Minnesota now face major policy decisions about how to test, what to test, who to test, when to test and what consequences to attach to the tests.  He will argue that those decisions should not and cannot be left to the psychometricians and testing companies who dominate the field today, but that teachers, administrators and other practitioners, experts in academic content and policymakers must grapple with the issues and chart a course forward based on local values and international educational best practices.