Pawlenty says state shutdown may have ‘positive impact’


As we the taxpayers cope with The Shutdown Day No. 1, one of our local presidential candidates, T-Paw, is selling the idea that this could be a good thing, or not so bad thing. Stephanie Condon at CBS News writes: “Pawlenty, now a Republican presidential candidate, said the government shutdown could ultimately have a positive impact. ‘There’s going to be a variety of near-term impacts but the the longer-term goal is most important here,’ Pawlenty said, referring to government living within its means, KSTP reports. Pawlenty was governor of Minnesota for eight years until his second term ended in January. In 2005, he presided over a nine-day shutdown, but he speculated last night that the state could have benefited from a longer shutdown. ‘I think we would’ve gotten a better deal had we allowed that to continue for a while,’ he said from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport. To end the shutdown, Pawlenty in 2005 signed a budget deal that included a cigarette tax, or ‘health impact fee.’ ” Presumably he will soon be leaving the state, again.

At the Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn blogs, “Brinkmanship can be a devastatingly effective tactic — make the other side think you’re just crazy enough to let everything go to hell (and try to blame them afterwards) if you don’t get your way. But it can also be just plain devastating — child-care assistance for the poor has been halted in Minnesota, according to the story. We might be seeing here a preview of the who-will-blink-first negotiations over raising the federal debt-ceiling that will come to a head in a month or less.”

The Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner is saying: “In an echo of the national budget fight, Dayton wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans. Republicans wanted to close the gap with spending cuts and accounting shifts. ‘I cannot accept a Minnesota where people with disabilities lose part of the time they are cared for by personal care attendants so that millionaires don’t have to pay $1 more in taxes,’ Dayton said at about 10 P.M. last night, when it became clear that a deal would not be reached. It’s the second shutdown in six years in the state. The last one came in 2005, under former governor Tim Pawlenty — now a Republican presidential candidate. … Pawlenty also denied any resonsibility for the $5 billion deficit, for which he has repeatedly blamed Democrats in the legislature. But this shutdown could lead to renewed focus on Pawlenty’s fiscal record.” I have a list of phone numbers if the Post ever decides to “renew” its focus.

The Strib team writes today: “The GOP proposed delaying another $700 million in payments owed to schools, which would add to the more than $1 billion the state already owes K-12 schools. Republicans also offered to issue ‘tobacco bonds’ of an unspecified amount to cover any remaining budget gap. Sources said Dayton considered the offer, but he criticized it as unwise borrowing late Thursday. Talks may have also broken down because an earlier GOP offer asked Dayton to accept controversial policy positions the Republicans pushed for this year, including photo ID requirements at the polls and abortion restrictions. An offer sheet provided to the Star Tribune said the policy adoptions were in exchange for ‘new revenue in a compromise offer.’ That deal also would have required tuition caps to be put in place at the University of Minnesota and MnSCU as well as a 15 percent reduction in the number of state workers by 2015. Tendered Wednesday night, the offer would have required a special session Thursday.”

Here at MinnPost, Doug Grow is saying: “Republican behavior while Dayton was speaking late Thursday night was boorish in an unprecedented way. Members of the House and Senate caucuses hooted and jeered when Dayton, who was holding a news conference, said things that offended them. Longtime Capitol reporters said they’d never heard a governor receive the sort of disrespectful treatment Dayton received. That behavior goes to either the zealotry or the inexperience of many Republican legislators, who apparently haven’t yet learned basic lessons of political civility. Republican leaders wouldn’t comment on the surprising outbursts of their members, saying they weren’t in the room at the time. They do talk about how unusual their caucuses are, but in only positive ways. Zellers, for example, last night was talking about how unique these large freshman classes are. They are, he said, filled with people who came to St. Paul ‘as reformers.’ ” And they have certainly “reformed” the definition of “logical.”

Politico’s Tim Mak files a story on the state websites suddenly off-line due to all the “reforming” going on: “Important state government-run websites have become a casualty of the Minnesota shutdown. The website for the Minnesota State Patrol — a service deemed essential that is to continue functioning despite the budget impasse — is down, as is the website for the Department of Public Safety. All of the websites hosted by the Department of Natural Resources were zapped, and visitors were redirected to a page of frequently asked questions, which explained which critical services the department would continue to engage in. Similarly, the website for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights was scrapped and replaced with a short notice about the shutdown. Driver and Vehicle Services shut down its website earlier this week.” I tell ya’, this sucker can be drowned in the bathtub.

Sam Lane of The Minnesota Independent worked the crowd on the Capitol steps Thursday:  “[R]ralliers with highly negative attitudes flooded the Capitol entrance. Rebecca Carpentier works for HIRED, an agency which helps low-income adults, dislocated workers, welfare-to-work individuals, refugees and youth find jobs and job training. ‘We’re putting people to work only to find out they can’t work,’ said Carpentier. ‘That’s bull[bleep] … Everyone wants the workforce working. I work at an agency to do that. But they’re cutting our fingers and toes off.’ Nearby, B.J. Wuollet engaged members of the College Republicans — seemingly the only conservative representation on the steps of the Capitol — in an argument about the role of government. ‘My sister will not be able to feed her children or take them to the doctor,’, said Wuollet, who was frequently heard telling the small group of Republicans they were ‘bumming Jesus out.’ Ryan Lyk, chairman of Minnesota College Republicans, fired back, calling Dayton’s unwillingness to sign a budget bill a ‘bad move.’ ‘At the very least, they need to figure out their differences’, Lyk said. ‘We need to keep government going to some extent.’ ”

The PiPress story, bylined by Dennis Lien and Bill Salisbury, also caught some of that action, and a bit more from T-Paw at the airport: “Pawlenty, in from Florida Thursday night. voiced support for Minnesota Republicans and blamed state Democrats for the budgetary crisis. In a brief press conference at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Pawlenty compared the state budget battle to the national fiscal debate between Republicans and President Obama. ‘Both in Washington D.C. and St. Paul, the Democrats continue their thirst for more spending and more taxes, and that’s not the right direction for Minnesota, and it’s not the right direction for our country,’ Pawlenty said. ‘I applaud the Republicans for standing strong, I hope they’ll continue to stand strong. Democrats are the ones that are driving these finances toward the cliff.’ “

The “jobs, jobs, jobs” campaign mantra of the “reformers” might need a little tweaking. Dee DePass of the Strib reports: “The roughly 25,000 state workers who stand to be laid off as a result of the government shutdown could jolt Minnesota’s unemployment rate from 6.6 percent to 7.6 percent — a figure not seen since October 2009. To put the job losses in perspective, consider that the new pink slips would erase most of the 29,300 jobs gained in all of 2010. … But additional layoffs will likely follow, as state-funded agencies, nonprofits and private contractors fail to get paid by the state, Hine noted. The reduction of paychecks flowing into the economy also will hurt retailers who depend on consumer discretionary spending.”

Of all people, John Hinderaker of Power Line devotes a post to the spirit of “compromise.” He even drops in a quote from Abraham Lincoln.

Said Abe:  “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.”

Have a happy, limited-government Fourth.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/01/2011 - 05:11 pm.

    Seriously, T-Paw? Seriously??

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/01/2011 - 08:47 pm.

    It is ironic that this crisis would blow up while Mr. Pawlenty’s presidential campaign is attempting to gain some attention.

    What’s that they say about sunshine…..

  3. Submitted by Roger Brooks on 07/01/2011 - 08:49 pm.

    Shifting school payments to the next biennium did not solve our fiscal problem, Mr. Pawlenty, it kicked it “down the road” which is where we are now.

    If we want the same level of service as we have enjoyed in the past–schools or otherwise–we need to pony up the dollars. In the past, the theory has been: the richer you are, the bigger the tax bite. Since the 1930s Minnesota has always been a “high service, high tax” state and we have thrived, but suddenly we don’t want to pay the comparatively high taxes that put us up at the top.

    OK, Minnesota, we can be like Mississippi if you want. But I’m not on board.

  4. Submitted by will lynott on 07/01/2011 - 10:39 pm.

    I might have expected something like that from our erstwhile “governor,” who used accounting tricks and gimmicks to “balance” his budgets, then slithered out of office leaving misery in his wake. A good thing? What on earth is he thinking? Or smoking?

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/02/2011 - 10:17 am.

    What Mr. Pawlenty really means, of course, is that the shut down will help with the project to which he has devoted his entire life,…

    Make the richest people in Minnesota as rich as possible while making the lives of those who might need any kind of government services so miserable as to cause them to flee the state (as if they have even something so simple as bus fare).

    It’s almost as if he and the rest of Grover Norquist’s acolytes believe that they can “fire” all those they consider to be “bad” citizens (those who, through no fault of their own, have need for help and support) by forcing them to move to other states or nations leaving our state and nation populated with only the fabulously wealthy and the faithfully compliant who are willing to work for third world wages without benefits,…

    who are willing to die quietly at an early age without troubling the fabulously wealthy who continue to amass ever greater fortunes as they grind those who do all the work into the ground.

    I.E. the economic equivalent of slavery as it was practiced, pre-Civil War, in the Old South, except, of course, that it will be all those who are not wealthy, no matter what their skin color or ethnic origin, who will be enslaved, including everyone who was once a member of that quaint relic of days long past: the Middle Class.

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