It seems pretty clear, now that the dust has settled, that Tim Pawlenty’s budget proposal is more focused on burnishing his anti-community credentials for the 2012 presidential primary rather than actually solving issues here in Minnesota. It should amaze no one that for Pawlenty, the solution to a budget shortfall is to reduce the government’s revenue even further, to somehow magically start generating more revenue.
Let’s also keep in mind that Pawlenty’s budget slashes aid to local governments, who will be forced to increase property tax levies to pay for basic services like police, fire, and public works departments.
Here’s the statement from Bruce Alghgren, Mayor of Cloquet and spokesman for the the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities:
The governor’s proposal will be devastating to Minnesota communities. If this is passed, Minnesotans need to brace for deep reductions in snowplowing and pothole repair, fewer police and firefighters, closed libraries, closed parks and closed community swimming pools.
This is a reckless proposal that doesn’t acknowledge the disrepair our state and communities are in, and will drive Minnesota into a deeper recession.
Legislators from across the state and across the aisle need to stand up for their local communities and stop this proposal immediately.
State Rep./Gubernatorial candidate Paul Thissen:
Minnesotans don’t want a state where we are leaving our most vulnerable neighbors behind, but that is just what Governor Pawlenty is doing. Middle class families are feeling the deep squeeze of the current economy. The governor’s proposals to eliminate affordable health care for working Minnesotans, to cut quality child care for working parents, to make college less affordable just tightens that squeeze.
Minnesotans have a more generous vision of the responsibilities we owe each other as citizens. As public leaders, we should enact a budget that reflects that value and that gives Minnesotans hope for a brighter, more secure future. Unfortunately, the governor’s budget does not do that. His political blinders continue to keep him from seeing that there are other alternatives to the cuts he is proposing. It’s time Minnesotans stand up and stand together for a better vision of our state.
Former House Minority Leader/Gubernatorial Candidate Matt Entenza:
There’s a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Since Tim Pawlenty took office in 2003, Minnesota has endured cut after cut — yet our economy is in the tank.
At this point, the results are indisputable, but Gov. Pawlenty hasn’t learned. When we disinvest in things like higher education, which helps our state innovate, attract and create jobs, it is a failure of vision. It also brings to mind another saying: penny wise, pound foolish.
We need more than a change of names in the governor’s office; we need a new vision of how to face our challenges and create opportunities for Minnesota to thrive in the future.
And from the Democratic National Committee:
Just a few months ago, Governor Pawlenty was bashing the recovery act package as ‘misdirected’, and is now using it as a way to help balance the state’s budget. But this hypocrisy shouldn’t be a surprise. With every day, with every political gimmick or pander to the right, Tim Pawlenty is proving that standing on principle is not something he does.
After years of borrowing and one-time budget fixes, Gov Pawlenty’s claim that his new budget will “eliminate'” the state’s $12 billion deficit by creating ever more tax cuts should be seen for what it is — a political calculation to make himself look good to the primary voters in 2012. With decisions like these, it’s clear that Pawlenty no longer cares about the people of Minnesota, but the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.