Reader's view: Pawlenty budgets relies on 'maxed-out credit card'
Pawlenty budget relies on 'maxed-out credit card' I'm no stranger to difficult budget decisions. As president of the Duluth City Council, I lived the difficulty of developing responsible budgets in tough times. I know the state's record $4.8 bill...
Pawlenty budget relies on 'maxed-out credit card'
I'm no stranger to difficult budget decisions. As president of the Duluth City Council, I lived the difficulty of developing responsible budgets in tough times. I know the state's record $4.8 billion deficit, which is likely to grow, will follow us for years unless we are honest with each other today.
Unfortunately, the budget lawmakers received last week doesn't take my concerns into account. Instead of making hard decisions, the budget proposal offers short-term, political measures that could leave the state in debt for years.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan relies on more federal funding from Congress than Minnesota is likely to receive. His budget would borrow $1 billion the state doesn't have. That's like paying off a maxed-out credit card with another, racking up untold debt for future budget years. Early estimates show Pawlenty's plan would result in a $2.5 billion budget deficit in the next biennium alone.
Let's be clear: There are hard decisions to be made, and those decisions will hurt. But good leaders make decisions thoughtfully, careful to consider consequences. Budget shifts and accounting gimmicks won't fix this massive deficit. We can't sweep the enormity of this crisis under the rug. Minnesotans demand more, and our state deserves better.
We need to do the right thing and balance this budget responsibly. Lawmakers need to set clear priorities, fund those priorities appropriately, make cuts to lower-priority items, and raise revenue if necessary.
Let's work together to find honest solutions to this budget crisis.
As Duluthians, we must share in the solution, and I welcome input. I encourage everyone to contact me with questions and suggestions.
Additionally, I encourage attendance at my town hall meeting this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the DECC and at the state budget meeting on Feb. 20 so we can discuss issues in person.
The writer represents District 7B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.