Posted: 04/09/07 07:46
By Christopher Truscott
Tim Pawlenty likes to tout himself as a pro-business, pro-growth governor who's making our economy stronger.
That sounds really great. But unfortunately for the governor and for Minnesotans, saying you're for growth and actually creating a robust 21 st-century economy are two entirely different things.
Rather than moving Minnesota forward, the governor is taking us in the wrong direction. His policies are anti-growth to the extreme. Our state is stuck in reverse gear and Pawlenty's foot is planted firmly on the accelerator.
We shouldn't be surprised, but after a horrendous first term Pawlenty did promise progress during his re-election bid last year.
"Our continued growth requires bold leadership, common-sense solutions and real reform," he wrote in a letter posted on his campaign Web site. "That's my goal everyday as governor, to keep Minnesota strong, prosperous, vibrant and to make sure our schools are improving and our economy is growing. "
Perhaps the view is a little different from Pawlenty's office in the Capitol. But where the governor sees growth, people in the real world see stagnation.
Where the governor sees growth, people see higher property taxes.
Where the governor sees growth, people see runaway tuition hikes at the state's colleges and universities.
Where the governor sees growth, people see cuts, cuts and more cuts in our public schools.
Where the governor sees growth, people see a dilapidated transportation system designed for another era.
Where the governor sees growth, others see reality.
Our job-growth is below the national average. Our economic growth, as measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, is abysmal. Not only are we not leading, we aren't even following. Maybe Pawlenty likes seeing our state ranked alongside places like West Virginia and Mississippi, but that's not good enough for Minnesotans.
It's time to take off the blinders, governor. Minnesota needs leadership but you're offering nothing more than feel-good platitudes and blustery right-wing rhetoric. Maybe a slogan like "At least we're not North Dakota" is good enough for you, but it isn't for the rest of us.
DFL lawmakers in the House and Senate have put forward property tax relief proposals that will also generate much-needed investment for education and transportation, two areas critical to getting Minnesota back on the right track. But rather than embracing real pro-growth policies, Pawlenty has opted to stand with the richest Minnesotans at the expense of the other 99 percent of us. That's not good enough.
Growing the economy takes more than dumb luck. It requires strong policies that put people and businesses in a position to succeed. That means real funding for an education system needed to train high-skill workers and attract the jobs of the future and building the transportation infrastructure necessary to move people and goods quickly.
We aren't going to attract businesses ? growth ? to Minnesota because of our weather. We're looking at a chance of some snow in the Twin Cities on Tuesday while forecasts in Raleigh, N.C., call for sunshine with high temperatures in the 60s. It'd be nice to compete with that, but we can't.
Minnesota's future is in providing services that are second to none. That's something we can control. We're lucky in that regard ? we know exactly what we have to do. All we need now is a governor with the courage to sign his name to good legislation.
Christopher Truscott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If Pawlenty becomes vice president, what will Carol Molnau do as governor?