Candidate name: Bruce Montplaisir
Address: 21953 Cemetery Road, Altura, Minn.
Occupation: Retired Superintendent of Schools
Education: Undergraduate in mathematics and physics from the State University of New York and Elementary Education degree from Moorhead State University, Masters from North Dakota State University and a Doctorate from the University of North Dakota. Both degrees are in Education Administration with cognate areas of counseling and guidance and law.
Family: Married to Mary Beth for 40 years, we have four children and seven grandchildren
Civic involvement: Past President and current Treasurer of the Lewiston Lions; Chair of the Lions Clubs International 5M1 Long Range Planning committee, Vice President of the Winona County Historical Society, President of the Camp Winnebago Board of Directors, member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Youth Programs; Equipment Officer for the Winona County Mounted Posse Association and Wagon Master for the 29th annual Wagon Train for Youth in September 2012.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about the size of government. How do you view the role of state government?
Government needs to be as small as possible while still getting the job done. The Minnesota Constitution calls for a uniform system of public education and a public highway system.
Government is also established to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. The biggest bully on the playground does not need or want playground rules. Government deals with the bullies of society that will take advantage of people unable to defend or protect themselves whether it be a physical assault on their person; a financial assault through fraud, theft or paying people less than their work is worth; or establishing attractive nuisances or working conditions that cause people to be injured physically or financially.
How would you balance the state budget? Would you make cuts, and if so, to what? Would you raise taxes?
Before solving a problem you need to know what the problem is so you need to add the $2.4 billion the state owes the schools, $700 million for inflation, the $600 million owed the tobacco fund and the $700 million shortfall in special education funding to the Office of Management and Budget’s $1.1 billion projected deficit. Then the state needs to establish a zero based program budget building process that builds each program from the bottom up each year, or biennium. The process will establish what needs to be funded to meet Minnesota’s identified mission and what shouldn’t be funded because it does not advance Minnesota’s identified mission.
I think Minnesota needs to have a system of taxation that calls for everyone to pay their fair share.
What, if anything, should the state do to fight invasive species such as Asian carp?
The Minnesota DNR should continue to work with partner agencies, conservation groups and federal officials to stop or slow the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species.
Is income tax reciprocity with Wisconsin an important issue? If so, what might you do about it?
Income tax reciprocity with Wisconsin ended two years ago and it seems to cause a lot of confusion for people. Income tax is sometimes withheld at the rates for the wrong state and people are caught in the situation where they are waiting for the tax return from the state they do not pay into so they can pay their income tax to the state they are supposed to pay to. This is an important issue and the revenue commissioners from both states are currently in negotiations regarding an agreement.
What would be your top priority or priorities if elected?
•Clarify state funding so everybody uses the same data to define Minnesota’s financial condition.
•Restore tax effort equalization programs such as homestead credit and local government aids.
•Establish stable, reliable and predictable educational funding.