DFL leader: Gov turning area into 'Mississippi on ice'
With the governor on a post session victory tour, political opponents took a trip of their own, explaining who gets hurt by the budget cuts. Dismayed over the outcome of the extended session, some House Democrats warn Gov. Tim Pawlenty's policies...
With the governor on a post session victory tour, political opponents took a trip of their own, explaining who gets hurt by the budget cuts.
Dismayed over the outcome of the extended session, some House Democrats warn Gov. Tim Pawlenty's policies will push up area property taxes as well as slash services.
They claim the deepest cuts to health, human services and education will fall on northeastern Minnesota, regressing the region into Mississippi-like conditions.
Calling the governor "radically conservative" and comparing him to President Herbert Hoover, House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, said, Pawlenty would not show up in northern Minnesota because of the devastation his budget is causing.
House Minority Leader Entenza spoke in Duluth Monday, along with Rep. Mike Jaros, DFL-Duluth and Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake.
Entenza dubbed them "the DFL truth patrol" and said they are crossing the state to talk about the Pawlenty budget.
"That bill is really going to devastate a lot of programs," said Jaros, citing cuts to health care coverage, meals on wheels, seniors centers and senior volunteer services.
Dill said the cuts will cost St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties tens of millions of dollars which is going to translate into increased property taxes, even with reduced services.
"There are going to be incredible times of raising taxes here," he said. Dill blamed much of it on the loss of local government aid, particularly to Iron Range communities, along with the loss of taconite municipal aid.
"We're going to have just huge cuts in schools," he added, listing cuts to St. Louis County, Ely, Cook County and Lake County school districts.
Overall, the DFL leadership believes Duluth area schools, cities and counties will lose about $15 million under the education and local government aid bills.
Entenza said despite the governor's pledge, taxes are going up. He said nonpartisan sources estimate property taxes will go up 14 percent as a result of the cuts.
"It's clear that taxes are going up, that the governor's pledge doesn't apply to northeastern Minnesota," said Entenza.
"We know many of these cuts could have been avoided," said Entenza. "... We're going to go back in January and say to the governor, 'You're too extreme. This is 1920s economics, this is not what people voted for and it's time for you to join with the Democrats and moderate this sort of Herbert Hoover style of politics you brought to Minnesota.'"
Entenza said the reason people want to live in northeastern Minnesota is because of the quality of life.
"We do not want to be Mississippi on ice," he said. "That's what the governor is doing. He's turning us into Mississippi on ice."