Let there be no doubt: Minnesota state government wants as much federal money as it can get, as soon as it can get it.
That message was sent loud and clear Monday by DFL legislative leaders, who summoned the press to announce that it was holding the usually symbolic "file No. 1" in both the House and Senate for measures needed to maximize Minnesota's share of a yet-to-be-crafted federal economic stimulus package.
Perhaps they wanted to counter any lingering impression to the contrary created by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in November. Pawlenty faulted the stimulus approach being crafted by President-elect Obama and congressional Democrats as too costly and likely to come with too many strings. But he soon allowed that, since Minnesotans pay more in federal taxes than the state receives in return in federal largess, the state is justified in accepting federal help.
The DFL attitude toward the possibility was as eager Monday as Pawlenty's was tepid in November. Legislative leaders went so far as to invite the entire state congressional delegation to a roundtable discussion on Jan. 29, to "discuss our state and federal partnership."