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)

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