To the editor:
There weren’t a lot of surprises during Gov. Pawlenty’s State of the State Address in the House Chamber today: The most important topic he covered was the economy.
Pawlenty offered a series of proposals aimed at creating jobs, helping government to run more efficiently and upholding commitments to our essential services like public safety.
State spending has grown by about 140 percent since 1992 and Pawlenty’s plan would change that trend. The $4.8 billion shortfall we face indicates Minnesota’s current spending is outpacing the revenue the state receives by around $2 million per day. Families are struggling to make ends meet, but government keeps spending more and more.
The plan Pawlenty proposed to explore establishing a services co-op with Wisconsin is interesting. Our two states are similar in many ways, so working together to cut government spending while protecting essential services would be a win-win deal. For example, we could combine with Wisconsin to buy road salt, improving our bulk rate by combining our purchase power.
I was glad to hear Pawlenty say public safety (including veterans) will remain a top priority, as will health care funding for children. The Governor also mentioned a potential increase in funding for K-12 education, along with incentives to help build a stronger corps of teachers.
The Legislature will be looking for lasting solutions that will put our state on strong economic footing and Pawlenty’s proposals deserve consideration. In any case, we need to keep in mind that we aren’t going to cure our economic troubles overnight. This is going to be an ongoing process, but we’ve overcome deficits before and will find a way to rebound again.