First of all, just about the last thing I care about right now is 2012. At this point it matters not. We are like Ichabod Crane’s Headless Horseman except we don’t strike fear in anybody’s heart.
Over the last couple of weeks, the very Blue state of Minnesota has faced an interesting problem. They have a Republican Governor, who I don’t know a whole lot about but who was roundly derided as a “moderate” when McCain was looking for a running mate. They also have a Democrat controlled legislature that’s never met a problem they couldn’t solve with more money and a new government program.
The quick background is that the state requires a balanced budget, limits the number of days the legislature can be in session, and has a law that says if the legislature fails to pass a balanced budget the Governor will unilaterally adjust spending to balance it. The Democrats passed a budget that was way out of balance with new spending. With just a couple of days left in the session they cobbled together a big tax increase to pay for it and Governor Pawlenty vetoed it. Republicans in the legislature upheld his veto. The legislative session ended and Pawlenty refuses to call them back into session.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty today announced plans to cut $300 million from aid to local governments, $236 million from health and human services programs, $100 million from higher education and to defer nearly $1.8 billion in payments to K-12 schools as he made good his promise to unilaterally slash spending to balance the state’s budget.
Pawlenty’s plans would eliminate the $2.7 billion shortfall left after the legislative session that ended last month.
And spending in Minnesota will actually decline in “real” terms, not as a reduction of the increase.
Take note Republican officials who are eying the prize in 2012. THIS is what conservatism looks like. Pawlenty has layed down a marker. Anybody else planning on actually refusing to increase their state tax base and reducing spending?