Libertarian Party NEWS

March 1999 


Online Edition
Note: This online version may contain additional material or otherwise differ from what appeared in the printed edition.

Minnesota Libertarians announce "evolutionary" legislative agenda

The LP of Minnesota has come up with a "Legislative Agenda for the New Century" -- a series of legislative proposals that state Libertarians plan to promote in 1999.

"While rooted firmly in Libertarian philosophy and principles, this legislative agenda spells out an achievable agenda for Minnesota state government that will enhance the life, liberty, and opportunities for prosperity for all Minnesotans," said Craig Westover, who is coordinating the project.

The party's legislative agenda consists of seven policy sections -- ranging from reducing the state government's impact on "civil society" to reducing taxes, and from initiating structural reforms in state government to increasing protection of civil liberties. When finalized, the agenda will be made available to state legislators.

Each policy section has specific legislative proposals "for comprehensive change, limiting the scope of state government and moving toward a greater level of liberty," said Westover.

While some of the proposals are radical and some are incremental, the legislative agenda acknowledges that "political liberty is an evolutionary concept," said Westover.

"To make political progress toward maximum liberty, a legislative agenda based on principle must compromise with the prevailing and restraining values of the majority of society," he said.

"Can Minnesota achieve maximum liberty? That is a debate for philosophers. Can and should Minnesota move toward a state of maximum liberty, and will that enhance prosperity for Minnesota? That is the debate engendered by this LP legislative agenda proposal."

Some of the specific policy proposals that Minnesota Libertarians advocate include:

  • Abolish Minnesota's Gift and Inheritance taxes, to allow family farms and family businesses to pass on their property free of gift or death taxes.
  • Pass a Civil Rights Act, which prohibits any state entity from discriminating or giving preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.
  • Pass a Super-Majority Act for the Minnesota Legislature, which would require a two-thirds vote to increase taxes. "To more effectively control the budgetary process, the ability to raise taxes or enact new taxes should be made as politically difficult as possible, require broad consensus, and be held to a high standard of accountability," said Westover.
  • Shorten legislative session, and have the Legislature meet only in odd years. "Shortened legislative sessions would help re-establish the important principle of limited government by limiting the amount of legislation that is passed," said Westover.
  • Change ballot access signature requirements to conform closer to Ron Paul's Voter Freedom Act of 1997 (HR 2477).
  • Pass a "Responsible Tax Cut" to reduce state spending growth to be no greater than the rate of inflation or the rate of growth in personal income.
  • Pass a Minnesota version of the Family Education Freedom Act of 1997 from Congressman Ron Paul: "This bill would amend the IRS Code to allow individuals a credit against their income taxes for tuition and related expenses at public and non-public schools," said Westover.
  • Create a Privatization Initiative Panel, which would consider government priorities by determining what activities are inherently governmental and which could be more efficiently provided by a private source.
  • Pass "Sunset" legislation, so every state law, program, and agency expires after a certain period of time.
  • Pass an Environmental Education Act, which would ensure that state agencies that educate the public about the environment do so in a manner that "responsibly balances" environmental considerations with those of humans.

"Philosophically, libertarians might argue for a [more] revolutionary campaign for individual freedom based on the planks of the LPMN Platform," acknowledged Westover. "However, the political reality is that an electorate composed of coalitions of interest groups, feeding at the trough of government programs, requires a utilitarian as well as a principled reason to discard its government security blanket. Thus the need for this legislative agenda proposal."

If implemented, the Libertarians' proposals would move Minnesota "toward a prosperous society based on the principles of maximum liberty," he said. "This legislative agenda is no more [and] no less than a blueprint for returning Minnesota to the principle of constitutionally limited government."