Today, Minnesotans are paying over $3.00/gal. for gas, and part because of the largest tax increase in Minnesota History.
Yesterday, Governor Pawlenty once again stepped up to the plate, wielding his veto pen, and brought a little fiscal restraint and financial responsibility to St. Paul by line-item vetoing $208 million from a bonding bill that exceeded what the governor said was acceptable in this economic climate.
ST. PAUL -- A sizable chunk of the Legislature's borrow-to-build plan fell victim to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's line-item veto Monday, including high-profile mass transit, zoo and museum projects.
Pawlenty shaved $208 million from a bill authorizing $925 million in general debt for construction projects around the state. He had warned lawmakers not to give him a bill that big, but he cut individual projects rather than blocking the whole bill.
"Somebody has to be fiscally responsible. That job falls to me," Pawlenty said. (excerpt from article)
I suppose the argument will be made that Minnesota will be a lesser state without the funding that was vetoed for the brass sheet music lending library in Chatfield, or gorilla cages at the Como Zoo, but I think we'll survive.
At least the rhetoric after the line-item vetoes has remained respectful, professional and rational. (sarcasm)
"I want to know why the governor hates the people of St. Paul," said Senator Ellen Anderson.
Of course, it was this sort of rhetoric that lead to a pork-laden bonding bill far exceeding what the governor told legislators (such as Senator Anderson) before they put the bill on his desk in the first place.
Rep. Paul Kohls put it as succinctly and respectfully as it has been stated when he said, "The governor makes a compelling case that we can't bust the credit-card limit."
(NOTE: Significant difference between this statement and saying the governor HATES all the citizens of an entire city)
The truth is, we are entering a time of economic uncertainty. The time for exercising fiscal restraint and keeping a lid on taxes is now. (It is always actually)
There is a strong argument to be made that the Government should always forgo the convenient because it has no role in anything but the essential (and often times not even there).
Certainly it is responsible to forgo the convenient in a time of economic uncertainty.
Can we wait a year or so before we add a music lending library to the State's credit card?
Will the state survive if we don't wait until 2009 or later to put put gorilla cage on Minnesota's credit card?
The taxpayers are lucky that Governor Pawlenty has taken such a bold leadership role this session.
His opponents in the legislature seem to believe money grows on trees (possibly the trees growing in the gorilla cages they want to fund).
But Governor Pawlenty has stood steadfast and strong for the taxpayer. (a sentence I could cut and paste into everything we write about him).