Friday, September 28, 2007

Pawlenty's Latest Reform Success

Governor Pawlenty has appointed a reform minded Commissioner of Health in Sanne Magnan, who is receiving wide bi-partisan acclaim as she approaches the confirmation process.

“She had an incredible set of credentials and experiences that make her extremely well-suited to serve in this position,” Pawlenty said.

Top legislators on health issues were quick to praise the Republican governor’s selection. Rep. Tom Huntley, chairman of a House health care funding committee, predicted Magnan would be an “excellent commissioner” who has a shared desire to improve the health care system. Her background also is impressive.

“She understands the science of health care, and that’s really important,” Huntley, DFL-Duluth said. “I think she’s going to be great.” (excerpted from article)

Obviously turning the ship of Government is just that, an attempt to move a ship. It would be ideal if the governor could have gone in and gutted each of the departments of dead weight and inefficiencies, but unfortunately, you can't make quick reforms until people are in place who are capable, and people are removed who hold reform back.

It appears that the latest department which will move in that direction is the Health Department under this new Commissioner.

(click here for entire article)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Governor Proposes Small Business Relief in Greater Minnesota

In the first of what looks to be a series of 2008 legislative initiatives, Governor Pawlenty today traveled the state to lay out his plans for tax relief and grants to spur small business growth in Greater Minnesota Communities.

SEED (Strategic Entrepreneurial Economic Development) will facilitate business development across Minnesota through 22 new or expanded programs that target several strategic areas, according to a news release from the governor's office in St. Paul.

The proposal is the first major initiative Pawlenty has proposed for the 2008 legislative session. (excerpted from article). (click here for the entire article)

The governor's office issued a release on the program today which reads in part:

“Investing in small business will bring lasting value and economic growth to our entire state and especially rural communities that need it most,” Governor Pawlenty said. “Companies with fewer than 100 employees account for 97 percent of the state’s businesses and generate most new jobs. SEED will help new business, existing companies, and rural communities by providing a wide variety of economic development tools that can be matched to each situation.” (click here to learn more from the governor's office)
Small business often bares the brunt of punitive taxation and over burdensome regulations and mandates. Years of government attacks on our small business community have effectively decimated much of this critical sector in Greater Minnesota.

Today's announcement by the governor signals a significant shift away from attacking the job creators of our state (by our state) towards a much more sympathetic approach. This is on the heals of the governor's highly acclaimed JOBZ program aimed to give significant tax relief in many depressed Greater Minnesota counties by this governor.

Obviously, it would be ideal if our government would choose not to treat job creators as the enemy to start with.

But as we seek to reform this state, providing relief to small business owners is a significant step in the right direction.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pawlenty Begins to Lay Out 2008 Legislative Agenda

Governor Pawlenty will begin defining his 2008 legislative agenda on Tuesday as he travels to St. Paul, Sauk Rapids, Brownsdale and East Grand Forks to talk about Economic Development.

Check back with Party of Pawlenty over the upcoming weeks as Governor Pawlenty continues to define a bold, reform oriented agenda for 2008.

(click here for the story)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Are you kidding me???

I'd like to introduce a new category of posts here at Party of Pawlenty we like to call, "Are you kidding me???"

In this morning's Star Tribune, the fine "journalists" over there took Governor Pawlenty to task for playing an active roll in selecting the best possible educational path for his oldest daughter.

Here is the opening line of this breaking news (assume drum roll here):

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a key player in setting policy for Minnesota public schools and allocating billions of dollars for public education, has chosen private school for one of his daughters.
And that is what the entire story is about. (I apologize profusely for including a link to it).

In other breaking news, the fine "journalists" at the Star Tribune have learned.

--"Gov. Pawlenty, who governs a state with excessively generous social welfare programs, has a job and is not on a single public assistance program."

--"Gov. Pawlenty, who works in an office with a state-paid photocopy machine, asked his wife to go to Kinkos to print birthday invitations."

--"Gov. Pawlenty, who oversees the allocation of billions of dollars to promote Minnesota tourism, took his family to Disney Land."

In all seriousness, the Trib should be embarrassed that it allowed any ink to be spilled to print such a nonsensical and irrelevant story.

One of the greatest issues facing education today is a lack of parental involvement. It is demonstrably true, that kids who have involved parents do better in school.

And we, as a people, should encourage the kind of involvement that we see from the Governor of Minnesota (a busy guy), in the education of his own daughters.

There is nothing inherently noble about sending ones child to a public school versus a private school, or vice versa.

We have been blessed in Minnesota to have a pretty good mix (we have some work to do yet) of public, private, charter and home-school "institutions" of education in which parents can pick which one best fits the needs of their child, their family, and their community (believe it or not, where the Star Tribune thinks a child should attend is way down the priority list).

But regardless of the intent of the "journalists" at the Trib, an important point does come across in the story.

Governor Pawlenty places a high value on education, and part of his tenure as Governor is defined by making schools accountable to parents and kids so that all of our schools (public, private and otherwise) are providing a world class education.

Pawlenty urges helping hand for war vets

Governor Pawlenty, who has been a national leader as Governor on Veterans issues, has announced a series of new initiatives that seek to make Minnesota, "most veteran-friendly state in the nation."

Speaking Tuesday at the fall conference of the Minnesota Association of County Veterans Service Officers at Grand View Lodge, Pawlenty said the military is made up of people who have raised their hand and volunteered for service.

"We would not have the country we have without the brave men and women in the military," he said.

While wearing yellow ribbons and declaring support for the military is admirable, those deeds have to be followed up with action.

"It has to be backed up by deeds that matter," he said.

Giving credit to lawmakers and veterans officials, Pawlenty listed what has been accomplished for veterans in recent years in Minnesota.

• 100 percent tuition reimbursement for National Guard veterans.

• A no-protestors funeral law.

• The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program for reintegration.

• The Minnesota GI Bill.

• Increased funding for veterans' counseling and veterans' service agencies.

The governor predicted an "up-tick in need and demand" for the veterans service officers' services. (excerpted from article).

Of course, as we all know, Governor Pawlenty is a leader among leaders in terms of our nation's Governor's.

So ultimately Governor Pawlenty's leadership on Veteran's issues will matriculate throughout the other states of the union and Governors, legislators and citizens across the country see the success of Governor Pawlenty's initiatives.

(click here for the entire article).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Governor Wins Narrowly Taylored Special Session

Governor Pawlenty today exhibited restraint and leadership this afternoon to deal with the flood ravaged Southeastern portions of Minnesota.

A limited, one-day Special Session which will focus only on the immediate needs in the aftermath of the natural disaster will take place beginning at 5:00pm tomorrow, the 11th of September.

"'It's, I think, the fastest disaster recovery special session that we've had in recent memory,' Pawlenty said. 'I know there has been some concern about timing, but the fact of the matter is that those two other floods, the special session was three months later. We've moved this up for understandable and good reasons and it needs to be moved up.'" Source: MPR, September 10, 2007
Earlier, Governor Pawlenty was able to utilize existing executive authority, federal aid and existing money to get the state on track to replace the fallen I-35W bridge.

Some have recently sought to utilize the bridge and flooding as a springboard to increase the taxes and spending in advance of the regular 2008 session.

Unless the current deal is broken by Governor Pawlenty's political opponents, we should see a quick, focused session on providing much needed emergency relief.

Our legislative leaders have an opportunity in the Spring to openly debate a more expensive agenda should they choose.

They will just have to do so outside the heated passions of a recent disaster, as a time when greater deliberation and contemplation (you know, the kind that is supposed to accompany the legislative process) is available to our elected officials.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Focus and Restraint

MDE hit the nail on the head with his post below on Governor Pawlenty's leadership in defining what will and what will not be part of a Special Session should one happen.

To follow up on that, it is becoming clear (I guess it has always been so) that there is a focus and restraint problem on the other side of the aisle that Governor Pawlenty has to deal with as he seeks to build this bridge, assist in flood recovery, and do the other "stuff of Government."

And Governor Pawlenty has simply found that he can utilize the tools given to him to ease the pain caused by these two issues without letting legislative leaders open up a Pandora's Box of government intervention and higher taxes. They will undoubtedly try to do that during the regular session, so why allow for that this fall.

Plus, Governor Pawlenty doesn't need to.

In a letter to Pawlenty, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller dropped their requests for a gas tax increase and property tax relief and instead proposed a one- or two-day special session starting next Tuesday. They suggested focusing on two agenda items: replacing the I-35W bridge and flood relief costs. They proposed paying for those projects with up to $370 million from the state's budget surplus.

Pawlenty said thanks, but no thanks.

"We now know the federal government has committed to cover the reconstruction costs of the I-35W bridge," he wrote in a letter to Kelliher and Pogemiller. He said it would be premature to assume the state must provide additional money to complete that project. If more funds are needed, he said, the 2008 Legislature can provide them.

As for the flood, he said he will soon use his executive authority to help meet the financial needs of flood victims, and he expects to propose legislation on the matter later. The state might have to borrow up to $200 million to repair or replace roads, bridges and other public infrastructure in the southeastern corner of the state, he said. (excerpted from article)

There is a legitimate fear that legislators during a Special Session would be like kids in a candy store. We need a bridge built and we need some relief for flood victims. Everything else can be debated during the regular session in 2008.

Kids already eat too much candy.

(click here for the entire article)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Governor Pawlenty Outmaneuvers DFL Leaders Once Again

Governor Pawlenty has outmaneuvered the DFL legislative leaders once again:

"DFL legislative leaders said Tuesday they're ready to abandon a more comprehensive special session to focus on last month's Interstate 35W bridge collapse and the massive floods in southeastern Minnesota. They also suggested a willingness to drop advocacy of a gas-tax increase." Source: Star Tribune, September 4, 2007

Click here for the complete story.

It gets better:

"Minnesota's Democratic legislative leaders today dropped most of their wish list for a special session, and pleaded with Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call lawmakers back to St. Paul to only work on issues related to a Minneapolis bridge collapse and southeast Minnesota flooding." Source: West Central Tribune, September 4, 2007

Click here for the complete story.

Pleaded? DFL leaders are now pleading for a special session. I have said before that I'm not advocating a special session, but I'm certainly not afraid of one either. It seems that Democrats in Minnesota have once again been outmaneuvered by Governor Tim Pawlenty in legislative negotiations.


This story is cross-posted at Minnesota Democrats Exposed and True North