Has Pawlenty Been Given the Meat Axe He Thinks He Has?
July 13, 2009 — 8:05pm
Governor Tim Pawlenty is using the meat axe he thinks he has been given to "unallot" dozens of otherwise reasonable measures passed by the state legislature. How did this weapon come to be in the hands of the governor?
According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference, way back in 1939 this administrative supercard was proposed by Governor Harold Stassen and passed by the legislature (to be used "under certain circumstances"). It appears no governor used unallotment until Al Quie in 1981 followed by Rudy Perpich in 1986. Governor Pawlenty was next in 2003, 2008, and 2009. $2.86 billion is by far the most any governor has ever contemplated. The stupendous amount seems to spill over the limits of administrative balance in state government. The question the courts may have to address is whether "certain circumstances" are fulfilled in Pawlenty's use of unallotment at the beginning of the biennium.
Harold Stassen's reach to give the governor's office more power and create an unbalance became in the hands of Tim Pawlenty a master's pull on the legislature, forcing it to become a child of the governor. The legislature can be punished or treated to favors if certain of its members foolishly give away powers that should be highly defended.
Putting the governor squarely in charge of the dispensation of taxes to local government and state departments spreads fear and toadying throughout the state. After the legislature worked long and hard on the biennial budget and gave the governor the best solution for avoiding greater deficits in the outlying years, all was refused. As if no wisdom whatsoever was put into the work of the legislature, the governor slashed expenses on the simple-minded promise to never raise taxes. This is a governor that does not know the value of taxes. This is a governor that surely must end his public life with a limp.
Laura Waterman Wittstock is president and CEO of Wittstock & Associates. The firm provides consultation in new projects, creative, development, assessment/evaluation, and governance. Read more about Laura Waterman Wittstock
We take looking up at the skies for granted. The stars and moon will always be there. Only the headlines of a transit of Venus or the infamous blue moon calls our attention to the reality that the firmament is not fixed and we are a tiny population in a galaxy far away. Most people agree that we should educate ourselves all of our lives. There is no room for closed thinking, especially not for the coming generations. It will comfort many Minnesotans to know that the MN Planetarium Society just passed an important 100,000 mark. That many school children have now had lessons about the cosmos, given by Planetarium teacher Sally Brummel. We have a few small planetariums like the ones in Duluth, Hibbing, or New Ulm, but only one serves the entire state: the Minnesota Planetarium and Space Discovery Center. For many reasons, support from the City of Minneapolis and then Hennepin County has lagged. Now, a new partnership with the Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota gives some hope that a new planetarium will be available to the people of the state. Minnesotans should show their support by picking up the phone, sending an email, or writing a letter to the members of the Legacy Division in the House or the Environment and Natural Resources Committee in the Senate.
The shootings that resulted in injury and death in Arizona compel every one of us to take stock - not just to what happened there but to what is happening in our own lives. In a strange way, the violent deaths of others causes many of the living to appreciate life all the more. We can link ourselves easily to the young child mercilessly gunned down but also to the adults, particularly those who died while saving others. This is the heroism of which we hope we all are capable when the time comes.
Where does "pro life" figure in the debate of more insurance which will lower infant death rates compared to what we have now? Infant death rates are one thing, the uncounted numbers are in non-medical fetus loss due to poverty.
Gene Wilder, the frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in "The Producers" and the deranged animator of "Young Frankenstein," has died. He was 83.