As Governor Tim Pawlenty travels the country in an attempt to gain some name recognition, he continues to tout his record of a balanced budget, even stating that MN will have a surplus at the end of this two-year budget cycle. Possibly I haven’t been paying enough attention, but since when were we going to have a surplus? Does Pawlenty have one set of ‘facts’ for outside MN, and another for his home state?
One fact that Pawlenty doesn’t seem too worried about is that MN has an increasingly aging population. By 2020, those over 65 will outnumber school-age children for the first time. Sadly, our governor has stripped both populations of a secure future.
According to the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Standard Index, elderly women are especially vulnerable to poverty (1 in 6 in Minnesota). One of the largest expenditures for this population is housing and health care; unfortunately Governor Pawlenty’s only solutions appear to be cutting services for our most vulnerable.
Pawlenty’s cuts would also reduce the state rate for long-term care by 2.5 percent. Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota, says that reduction is a “cut on top of a cut” for some of the home and community-based long-term care providers.
As part of this balanced budget record he does mention in a RealClearPolitics interview the fact that he was sued over the unallotment, but not stating that the MN Supreme Court found his use of it illegal. His illegal use of unallotment and veto-happy nature are nothing new, as Pawlenty repeatedly demonstrates his unwillingness to work toward a solution. When asked about his deferred payments to K-12 education his bully-on-the-playground mentality comes out:
The school districts have squawked a little bit about it but, frankly and bluntly, I just tell them “Hey, it’s better than getting cut flat out. And if you keep complaining about it, my proposal would be just to cut you flat out.” So I think they’d prefer to have their payments deferred instead of cut.
Hopefully, as Governor Pawlenty introduces himself to the nation, people will look at his real record in MN.