Applaud his stand against dependency

Much is being said of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's "no" on health care reform as crafted by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress ("Pawlenty restricts health money," Sept. 1).

I'm reminded of a corporate seminar I attended years ago when I lived out west. Our CEO spoke of an unintentional federal takeover through grant money giveaways. In sparsely populated western states, the revenue stream doesn't allow for costly modern medical devices. Most institutions must wait several budget cycles to accumulate funds for things like dialysis machines. The easy way is to apply for a grant.

The federal government, in the interest of assuring proper use of the equipment, has requirements. Many reports must be filed each year, and qualified staff must be certified and upgraded annually. All this seems reasonable.

Then our CEO dumped a 15-inch-tall pile of forms on the table. "This is the reality," he said. "A full-time administrator and part-time secretary are needed to comply with the paperwork, and a full-time technician must be on staff to operate and service the machine."

Again, nothing sinister about any of that. Where the rub comes is the people in those positions begin to feel they owe their jobs to the federal government, even though they are on the state payroll. This unintended "creeping federal dependency," when multiplied by endless grant applications, is cause for concern.

Our governor sees this reality. I applaud his stand against the rising tide of government dependency.


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Gov. Pawlenty has once again demonstrated that ambition, ideology and arrogance trump common sense. We, the taxpayers of Minnesota, pay taxes to all levels of government and should receive commensurate services from all levels.

The governor's refusal to accept hundreds of millions of dollars of tax money paid to the federal government that would reduce Minnesota's budget deficit makes no sense. His decision as Minnesota's governor again forces local governments to increase taxes in order to maintain federal and state mandates.

His choice isn't about what is rational or practical for Minnesota taxpayers. It is about a narrow ideology determined to force us to give up the common good to protect the privileged; about presidential ambitions, and about believing only Tim Pawlenty knows what is best for those of us who pay his salary.


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A Sept. 2 letter writer points out that Pawlenty is an "authoritarian" and not a conservative by rejecting Obamacare monies.

America is broke, trillions in debt, without enough money coming in to afford Obamacare.

So by that rationale alone, our governor is a conservative by rejecting this outlandish health care bill. We should be proud of our governor, who is putting our state's future first and trying at least to protect us from the impending disaster and the fall-out from an overreaching national bill.


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Pawlenty's actions to limit or prevent access to federal health care money for Minnesota amount to a self-serving and uncaring policy. Does he truly advocate for those who paid in this money to the government?

Our legacy as a state has been one of good health care, good education and good jobs. While he might gain Tea Party support, Pawlenty should not do this at the expense of the vulnerable Minnesotans who need this help.

While I disagree with Sarah Palin on almost every issue, she had the common sense to resign as governor before positioning herself as a national presence.

We need a governor who supports us rather than uses us as a platform for his own political aspirations.



Modernizing our system has benefits

Thank you for covering the funding crisis that transportation is experiencing right now ("Say more about transportation," editorial, Aug. 31). As your editorial and U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., have noted, the gas tax has not increased with inflation. Funds for transportation from the gas tax may fall as fuel-efficiency standards improve. Saving gas and cutting fuel costs are good, but hamstring our ability to make the changes we need to our transportation system as a nation.

Minneapolis lags comparable cities in transit investment. Minnesota's roads and bridges are in dire need of repair and maintenance.

Our communities are designed in ways that make it difficult to get around if you don't have a car. That's a problem for biking and walking enthusiasts, but it is gravely serious for some disabled and elderly people. Meanwhile, our health is jeopardized by the way we get around, as communities are designed in a way that discourages kids from walking and biking. And the air pollution from car exhaust causes problems and contributes to global warming.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America a "D" grade on infrastructure, with bridges getting a "C," transit a "D" and our roads a "D-." We need to accept the facts and invest in our transportation infrastructure.

The sorry state of our roads and bridges is just one (very good) reason to do so. Creating good paying jobs, modernizing our transportation networks, increasing our economic competitiveness, reducing pollution, and making sure everyone has convenient and safe options are also great reasons to commit to investment and reform.

We have many options for raising revenue at the national level. The gas tax is just one. Taxing oil by the barrel, putting a sales tax on gas-guzzlers, placing a $20 fee on each shipping container that arrives from overseas or increasing customs revenues are other options.

As every Minnesota driver has noticed, waiting doesn't make the problem of crumbling roads and aging bridges go away. Modernizing our transportation system has too many benefits for us to wait any longer.