Taxpayer's League names Pawlenty a "Hero of the Taxpayer"
The Taxpayer's League released their 2009 Minnesota Legislative Scorecard and guess who they gave a standing ovation to? The state's top dog, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, for his stellar abilities taking the budget into his own hands. Who needs those members of the Legislature anyway?
Pawlenty, along with House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, received this year's "Heroes of the Taxpayer" honor. Six legislators scored 100 percent on the scorecard.
And no surprise here: the "Foes of the Taxpayer" went to Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher. The honor was also given to Senate Tax Committee Chairs Tom Bakk and Ann Lenczewski, both Democrats.
What the Taxpayer's League had to say about Pawlenty:
With a real state budget deficit of $6.4 billion dollars, Governor Pawlenty faced a huge challenge from the start of the legislative session. The DFL-controlled state legislature was intent on raising taxes to continue their out-of-control government spending. In January, Governor Pawlenty submitted his budget solution, but even after four months, DFL leadership in the House and Senate failed to come up with a budget solution that didn't include a billion dollar tax increase. With the Governor committed to not raising taxes he explained to the DFL leadership that if they failed to produce a balanced budget, he would line item veto spending bills and cancel appropriations in order to balance the state budget. In the end, Democrats failed to produce a balanced budget, so the Governor will have to resolve the 2010-2011 budget without them. All Minnesota taxpayers owe Governor Pawlenty a thank you for his "no tax increases" stand.
The "architect" of the failed DFL leadership strategy of balancing the state budget with billions of dollars in new taxes was Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller. He led his Party to waste months of time by refusing to work with Governor Pawlenty towards a budget solution that had a chance of being signed into law. Under Sen. Pogemiller, the Senate passed an across-the-board income tax increase that even the House DFLers wouldn't accept. In the final minutes of the 2009 session, Sen. Pogemiller's "solution" was yet another desperate attempt to pass a billion dollar tax increase. But like the previous tax bill, this one was dead on arrival and was promptly vetoed by Governor Pawlenty. Sen. Pogemiller needs to brush up on his negotiating skills by reading "Getting to Yes."
If only Republicans and Democrats could realize they are both equally stubborn, maybe we could get some work done between the two. Can't sit around blame free in this legislative session.
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