Vetoing the Future
By Christopher Truscott
With just days to go before the legislative session is scheduled to end, the ball is in Tim Pawlenty’s court.
The DFL-majority in the Legislature has sent to the governor bills that would provide for property tax relief, education funding and investment in our state’s dilapidated transportation system.
The income tax increase on the wealthiest half-percent of Minnesotans to fund education and property tax relief is popular according to recent polls. The nickel-a-gallon gas tax hike is less desirable, but responsible governance means making tough choices.
Pawlenty, of course, rejected tax relief, education funding and money for highways. “No New Taxes” pledge or not, he’s still clinging to the reckless philosophy that got us into this mess. He was wrong in his first term and he’s still way off track.
Sloganeering is not a substitute for policy. Sound bytes are not a substitute for action. Governing by veto is not a substitute for leadership. Generating real results requires more than aiming to win each daily news cycle.
What is Pawlenty’s vision?
The DFL has been clear since the Legislature convened in January. The governor has been elusive.
The DFL is offering what we need. The governor is promising something for nothing.
The DFL is making tough choices. The governor is engaged, once again, in choosing the most politically expedient course without regard to the long-term consequences.
We deserve much better. When Pawlenty took office he touted Minnesota as an “awesome” state and he was right. But that didn’t happen by accident. Legislators and governors from both political parties made the tough decisions required to move Minnesota forward.
Pawlenty is taking a different course and is content to leave the problems of today to the leaders of tomorrow. This marks a sad new era in Minnesota politics – a depressing and dangerous departure from the proud legacy of past leaders.
Essentially the governor is vetoing the future for the sake of winning a political fight. Minnesota is too good for that and we deserve much more.
Christopher Truscott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He wonders whether Marty Seifert is gearing up for a 2010 gubernatorial campaign.