Leo & I attended a fundraiser for Gov. Pawlenty last night. I was fortunate enough to talk with him for the better part of 10 minutes, which is a long time at an event of this nature.

One of the things that we talked about was the nature of Minnesota’s tax structure, which Gov. Pawlenty essentially said was antiquated & needed a massive overhaul in its thinking. One of the things he stressed was that ‘Minnesota companies’ were choosing to expand outside the state, specifically mentioning 3M as an example of that. He said that 3M wasn’t moving, just that they wouldn’t pick Minnesota when they expanded.

Following that theme, I asked Gov. Pawlenty if I was wrong thinking that “Anytime I hear the DFL talking about a jobs bill, we should expect a tax increase & for it to be all about public works projects.” He said that that’s exactly what to expect. I then followed up, asking what longterm stability these jobs bring & whether they helped people amass wealth. His reply was that they don’t bring longterm economic stability (no shock there, right King?) & that they aren’t an opportunity to create wealth.

During his speech, Gov. Pawlenty impressed me with his talk about not getting rid of the public school system but supplementing that system with online learning opportunities to challenge ambitious students. He said that the days of relying solely on hard-covered books as the main source of information were essentially over.

When he talked about the Omnibus Transportation Bill, he mentioned that gas tax revenues were flat-lining & that they’d soon drop sharply as more people buy “plug-in hybrids” such as the one I talked about here:

The Minnesota legislature is about to take up a “comprehensive transportation bill” which naturally includes billions of dollars in tax increases. I’ve had several conversations recently that have convinced me that this legislation is a stopgap measure at best. At worst, it’s a total waste of time. One reason why it’s a stopgap measure at best is because of the vehicles being built by Tesla Motors. Their sales pitch on the homepage of their website brags that the car is 100 percent electric, goes from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds, gets the equivalent of 135mpg, can go 220 miles on a single charge and costs .02 per mile to operate.

Considering that that’s just one such ‘vehicle of the future’, shouldn’t we be asking the DFL how it’ll fund road & bridge repairs once these vehicles become the rule rather than the exception? That day is coming, most likely sooner than people think.

The DFL doesn’t have an answer to that question, instead retreating to imposing another tax designed in the last century. Their approach is a ‘Well that’s the way we’ve always done it’ approach rather than thinking about a forward-thinking solution.

One of the things that was perfectly clear is that Gov. Pawlenty enjoyed the retail politicking, having conversations with the various people. He was very comfortable talking with people on a wide range of topics.

Another thing that’s obvious is that he’s a big fan of blogs. When I introduced Leo, I told Gov. Pawlenty that Leo, King & I were the first members of the SCBA. His first reaction after greeting Leo was to ask if it isn’t a little different thinking of blogs in terms of them belonging to associations. He then asked if we were solely a center-right association or if we let other political persuasions into the organization.

The other tidbit of news from the event came from St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, who told Leo & I that he’d ordered a hiring freeze for the time being, saying that he was determined to not raise property taxes. Thanks Mayor.

Finally, Thanks to Gov. Pawlenty for taking the time to talk with us. It’s obvious that he’s fighting for his agenda in a more public way this year than in the past. That’s good news because he’s an appealing advocate for the conservative cause.

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