Timmy, the first-place loser

Saturday, December 6th, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Uncategorized

Let’s hear it for Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota governor and runner-up for 2008 GOP VP! The state of Minnesota has economic trouble, with a capital T:

Yes, Minnesota has had revenue shortfalls before. The one the state weathered in 2003 was about this size. But this one comes in the context of a recession that state economist Tom Stinson said looks to be deeper, longer and more destructive than any since 1980-82 — and might be worse than that frightful time.

It also comes in the context of the leanest decade for Minnesota government in a half-century. State and local government growth has slowed dramatically on Pawlenty’s watch. State and local government spending per $1,000 of personal income fell below the U.S. average in 2006, for what may be the first time in the post-war era.

I’m not sure what else we were supposed to expect midway through Tim Pawlenty’s second term as governor. T-Paw’s made a good show of not raising state taxes–not counting the “user fee” on cigarettes that he proposed back in 2005, and the taxes that counties and cities were obliged to raise to cover shortfalls in their funding from the state–but for how much longer can he get away with it?

I haven’t heard much out of them lately, but during his first term Timmy made his love for a group of Objectivists ironically named The Taxpayers League of Minnesota fairly well known. I say ironically because they’re advocates for paying as little in taxes as possible: where Norquist wants to shrink government enough to be able to drown it in the bathtub, I think of the TLM as the pro-anorexia support group, cheering from the far side of an internet forum as government starves itself to death.

Even now, they claim that “It’s Time To Put State Government On A Diet”. Seriously? This is the same group whose former leader suggested the answer to a transit strike was for the state to buy used cars for the poor. As our esteemed Thomas Tallis says: LULZ. The TLM can pull a John Galt and disappear into the mountains any time now; they will not be missed.

The DFL (Democrats to non-Minnesotans) in the state legislature will only be a few votes shy of a veto-proof majority this coming session. I’m hoping enough of their Republican colleagues are still stinging from T-Paw’s last round of reason- and reality-defying vetoes to break from their party and feed the starving state a fucking cheeseburger already.

-JJB Mpls

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