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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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2009 SESSION ENDS WITH A THUD

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The 2009 Legislative Session has ended, and our $6.4 billion budget deficit has not been eliminated thanks to the failure to lead by House and Senate Democrats - but that problem will be handled shortly by the only leader willing to make tough choices: Governor Tim Pawlenty. More on that later. First, some good news in regards to the North Star Foods disaster relief in St. Charles. The recently signed bonding bill contains $485,000 for St. Charles Schools in order to offset declining per pupil funding. A sales tax exemption of $2.1 million was also included in a Taxes Policy bill in order to help rebuild North Star Foods - and that was also signed by Governor Pawlenty. But the $800,000 Local Government Aid supplement that would have assisted the City of St. Charles with lost property taxes and fees resulting from the blaze was stuck in the Omnibus Taxes bill. This legislation never made it out of committee, and now will likely have to wait until next session before action is taken. Regarding our budget woes, Minnesotans can be thankful Governor Pawlenty has the courage to lead and acted on behalf of our working families and business owners. The Democrats showed once again that they were not disciplined enough to live within their means. They increased spending by billions this session and wanted taxpayers to make up the difference. They had five months to reform government and make Minnesota a more job-friendly state. Instead, they wasted valuable time and attempted to play political games with this budget deficit, trying to back Governor Pawlenty into a corner and force him to accept tax increases by threatening a special session. Sadly, Governor Pawlenty was in no mood for games, and their plan backfired miserably. He will now show some discipline by accepting the Democrat’s outlandish spending bills and whittling them down until the deficit has been eliminated. It’s not the perfect solution, but when the Democratic majority in the House and Senate places it’s feet in cement and refuses to compromise on a budget solution, someone needed to step up to the plate and lead. Governor Pawlenty did just that. The Democratic leadership in the House and Senate has egg all over their faces because they underestimated the resolve of Governor Pawlenty, House Republicans, and millions of hard-working Minnesotans. An attempt to override the Governor’s veto failed because some Democrats joined all House Republicans in upholding his decision to protect taxpayers during this time of economic crisis. The Democrats’ irresponsible spending would have bankrupt Minnesota, killed jobs with massive tax increases and hurt Minnesota’s attempt at economic recovery. Their stubbornness left us without the compromise solution all Minnesotans wanted. From start to finish, their fingerprints were all over this financial mess; it stands to reason the Democrats would run away from it as fast as they could and continue blaming the Governor for their ineffective leadership.