Many thought Gov. Tim Pawlenty tied his own hands before he ever took office by taking the “no new taxes” pledge. That vow, though, looks pretty flexible, compared with the one Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul Kohls is making these days.
The state representative from Victoria today vowed — in Rochester, St. Paul and Duluth — to cut back the state budget to the 2004-05 level, a drop of $2 billion from the current budget, which is smaller than its predecessor.
Additionally, Kohls said he would cut taxes for all individuals and businesses in the state.
Asked where the cuts would come from to make his pledge doable, Kohls said, “A lot will happen in the next 18 months. It would be imprudent to say, ‘I’ll reduce this by ‘x’ and this by ‘y.’ ”
But if it’s imprudent to say where he’ll cut, isn’t it just as imprudent to pledge to roll back the size of government to 2004-05 levels?
“It’s incredibly responsible to say, ‘This is the amount of government Minnesota can afford.’ ”
Kohls, one of nine conservatives running for governor, said that state government must prioritize, “just like families and businesses have to.”
His priorities, he said, are education, public safety and roads and bridges. Government he said “must do” some things. But other things, such as parks, “are nice.”