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Duluth leaders go after Pawlenty

Duluth leaders say Gov. Tim Pawlenty clearly doesn’t get it when he bad-mouths their city as the poster child for bad budgeting.

Duluth leaders say Gov. Tim Pawlenty clearly doesn’t get it when he bad-mouths their city as the poster child for bad budgeting. The governor denigrated the city’s 14 percent increase earlier this week when discussing ways to deal with the state revenue downturn.

But Duluth Mayor Don Ness tells the Duluth News Tribune that the governor doesn’t have all the facts.

“I’m not sure if the governor is aware of the steps the city has taken to cut our costs and, unfortunately, cut our services to our citizens,” Ness said, “and in doing so not passing burdens along to taxpayers.”

Still, city officials worry the governor comments mean he’ll try to reduce the city’s local state aid. And that fires up City Council Member Sharla Gardner: “This is the same governor who said Minnesota didn’t need any money from the feds? So he’s turning down money for aid from the feds, then chastising us? He can’t have it both ways. He has been starving us, not providing the local governments with the aid that we’ve been needing, which is why we have to do this.”