Pawlenty: Borrowing for me, but not for thee
Is this a case of do as I say but not as I do? Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been working the Republican red meat circuit, ripping on the Obama administration for having to go hat in hand overseas for money to help Uncle Sam make good on his debts. Meanwhile, back at home, the state is getting ready to -- you guessed it -- borrow money so it can pay its bills.
"Are you embarrassed when the Secretary of State of the United States is over in communist China on rhetorical bended knee," he told a friendly crowd in Iowa, "pleading with the Chinese to buy our debt because if they don't, the United States of America can't pay its bills?"
Tom Hanson, commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget, told a legislative subcommittee Thursday that the slow recovery could trigger general fund shortfalls in the spring significant enough to warrant short-term borrowing for the first time in a quarter-century. The state's tax collections are already $223 million lower than officials predicted.
Borrowing money to cover the bills could deal a blow to Pawlenty's image as a fiscal conservative. The governor, who hasn't ruled out a run for the White House in 2012, has repeatedly praised his ability to keep a lid on spending and taxes during his two terms as governor. In July, he balanced the budget on his own when he couldn't reach a deal with Democratic legislative leaders. Pawlenty cut spending and delayed payments to schools to erase a $2.7 billion projected budget deficit.
The governor's flak, perhaps not surprisingly, says this is all much ado about nothing. Really? Because it sounds an awful lot like a duck, and it's walking a lot like a duck.
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