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Gayle in MD
07-13-2011, 10:12 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Tim Pawlenty: Minnesota Government Shutdown Record Fact-Checked

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is seizing on a state government shutdown in his home state to try to spark a flagging presidential campaign. The Republican is reminding voters that he too presided over a partial state government shutdown, and he even cut a campaign commercial saying he "won" that one.

The truth is more nuanced: Pawlenty was eager to end the 2005 shutdown and agreed to a hefty fee on cigarettes to do so, a blot on his otherwise clean anti-tax record in the eyes of conservatives.

In his 2012 stump speech, Pawlenty holds up the shutdown as evidence he would wage the tough fights in Washington. He wrote an opinion piece making that case Tuesday in Iowa's biggest newspaper. Just before the current Minnesota shutdown started, Pawlenty expressed regret about not letting the state's last government closure go on longer. That shutdown far less extensive than the current one ended on the ninth day, when Pawlenty and lawmakers struck a deal.

"I think we would have gotten a better deal had we allowed that to continue for a while and the people of Minnesota would have seen the issues play out a little longer," Pawlenty said on the eve of the current shutdown, which is nearly two weeks old with no end in sight.

In his memoir published early this year, Pawlenty wrote, "To this day, I still wrestle with whether I should've let that shutdown run longer."

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Those who were there with Pawlenty six years ago remember things a little differently.

"During the shutdown of '05 he was lamenting as much as the rest of us, and now he's almost wearing it as a badge of courage," said former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, who sat across the bargaining table from Pawlenty that year. "The attitude was, we need to get this fixed and we need to get this fixed now, as opposed to letting government struggle and not work."

Republican state Sen. David Senjem remembered Pawlenty coming to a Senate GOP caucus meeting seeking support for the deal he had made.

"How did he say it that he didn't like it, that we wouldn't like it, but for the good of the state of Minnesota we needed to move ahead, end this shutdown and that the road home, so to speak, was going to be the health impact fee," Senjem said.



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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The "health impact fee" Pawlenty's carefully considered name for the cigarette charge was the linchpin to ending the shutdown. It brought in enough money to preserve subsidized health care for the working poor, a top goal of Senate Democrats.

It was Pawlenty who brought the proposal into budget negotiations shortly before the mandatory end of the regular legislative session in May that year, outraging conservatives. As a candidate in 2002, Pawlenty had signed the Minnesota Taxpayers League's no-new-taxes pledge, and the head of that group took the cigarette proposal three years later as a betrayal.

"It sure sounds mighty cute to me. Knowing what I know right now it sounds a heck of a lot more like a cigarette tax increase than a health impact fee," said David Strom, the group's head, said at the time.

Pawlenty, though, seemed more focused on avoiding the shutdown and once it started, bringing it to a conclusion.

"It would be very unsettling and unfortunate and inconvenient and problematic to thousands and thousands of Minnesotans and their families," he said a few days before parts of state government closed.

Johnson recalled walking into Pawlenty's office days into the shutdown with a Democratic offer to raise cigarette taxes to help pay for public health programs.

"I remember him, in pencil, crossing out `cigarette tax' and writing down `health impact fee.' That was telling," Johnson said in an interview Tuesday. "It was something he did not want to do but at the same time he knew that for the good of the order, for the good of Minnesota, that some kind of revenue needed to occur. That's what broke the stalemate, and a few other things along the way."





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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Dan McElroy, Pawlenty's chief of staff at the time, didn't dispute Johnson's account.

Dan McElroy, Pawlenty's chief of staff at the time, didn't dispute Johnson's account.

McElroy said Pawlenty was hard at work at negotiations during the shutdown, trying to hammer out a resolution. McElroy said Pawlenty had valid policy reasons for defining the cigarette charge as a fee because there was already a wholesale cigarette fee in law and a direct tax would have exempted cigarettes sold on Indian reservations, giving casinos a major price advantage. The Minnesota Supreme Court eventually agreed that the charge was properly defined as a fee.

On the day the partial stoppage ended, Pawlenty compared the budget deal to a late teenager: "I'm glad that they're here safe, but I'm mad it's late."

He also acknowledged the political price of the shutdown: "We're all going to take our lumps as we should for this."

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Soflasnapper
07-13-2011, 12:08 PM
Since Pawlenty has also been caught failing at national GOP politics, this isn't so important.

The truth of his record is ok with me. Yes, he's misrepresenting it now, as politicians tend to do.

He had to balance the budget, and did what he had to to get it accomplished, including some straying from anti-tax orthodoxies. Maybe even some smoke and mirrors, one-time tricks that can't be repeated, etc.

However, as is the case with the rest of the country, the overall economic situation is what has hosed their budgets, not necessarily what their former governors did or didn't do (some governors excepted). If a typical state had only 6%, or even 7% unemployment, probably their incomes from tax receipts would be adequate to have small or no deficits, and certainly not the level of economic struggles that we see pretty much across the board.

I'm saddened to see reasonable men who would probably be good executives pander to the most rabid doctrinaire zealots of their side, in order to get a job that those constraints would make impossible to execute well.

Gayle in MD
07-13-2011, 02:03 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I'm saddened to see reasonable men who would probably be good executives pander to the most rabid doctrinaire zealots of their side, in order to get a job that those constraints would make impossible to execute well. </div></div>

As am I, however, I don't think Pawlenty is an otherwise reasonable, or good, executive.

G.

Soflasnapper
07-13-2011, 02:10 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I'm saddened to see reasonable men who would probably be good executives pander to the most rabid doctrinaire zealots of their side, in order to get a job that those constraints would make impossible to execute well. </div></div>

As am I, however, I don't think Pawlenty is an otherwise reasonable, or good, executive.

G. </div></div>

By comparison, G-- by comparison. It's relative.

I think the same about Romney. If he was left to his own devices, he'd probably be acceptable. But he has a weather vane out when it comes to his positions, and so he's unreliable, changing to whatever is momentarily expedient.

Gayle in MD
07-13-2011, 02:20 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I'm saddened to see reasonable men who would probably be good executives pander to the most rabid doctrinaire zealots of their side, in order to get a job that those constraints would make impossible to execute well. </div></div>

As am I, however, I don't think Pawlenty is an otherwise reasonable, or good, executive.

G. </div></div>

By comparison, G-- by comparison. It's relative.

I think the same about Romney. If he was left to his own devices, he'd probably be acceptable. But he has a weather vane out when it comes to his positions, and so he's unreliable, changing to whatever is momentarily expedient. </div></div>

Romney is among the worst ever, IMO. He made his money by buying up corporations, firing the employees, stuffing the corporate money into his own bank account, and then selling them off.

Another Greedy Repiglican who steals from hard working Americans, and stuffs the money into his own pockets!

G.

Soflasnapper
07-15-2011, 04:14 PM
Personally, morally obtuse in his business dealings, I agree.

Not a bad governor, however, IMO.

Gayle in MD
07-15-2011, 04:19 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Personally, morally obtuse in his business dealings, I agree.

Not a bad governor, however, IMO. </div></div>

Not so sure about that. Isn't Romney the one who was 47th in job creation during his governorship?

Feel free to correct me if my memory is off on this.



G.

Soflasnapper
07-15-2011, 07:53 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Personally, morally obtuse in his business dealings, I agree.

Not a bad governor, however, IMO. </div></div>

Not so sure about that. Isn't Romney the one who was 47th in job creation during his governorship?

Feel free to correct me if my memory is off on this.



G.

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No, that's either exactly right or only 1 or 2 off. Bottom of the barrel, if not dead last, correct.

If he wants to make big claims about knowing how to make new jobs, this fact, and his job destruction record at Bain Capital, are available to hit him over the head. Any such claim by him would be pitiful, or at least, he's never shown that if he knows how to do it, he's ever cared to do it. True enough.

However, what is the rest of the story?

In my view, governors cannot really control job creation. That's a function of the laws and economics in place in their states well before they get there. Their tools are limited to basically giving away the tax base (essentially bribing companies to come there by forgiving/foregoing things like taxing them, or giving them a guarantee of no property taxation), or drastically weakening things like workplace safety regulation, labor laws, pollution regulation, zoning regulations, making a new lowered minimum wage standard, and the like.

Other than those things, they can mount up a big public relations campaign with the Chambers of Commerce or something, which is of limited value.

I have previously and recently argued that mayors cannot be held responsible for the job situation in a city, and I think that's true for governors in their state as well.