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It’s rumored that the DFL has taken control of the Minnesota legislature. While that’s the runmor, I haven’t seen proof of that, especially as it relates to the budget deficit. Perhaps this email exchange between Rep. Gene Pelowski and the people on his email list constitutes leadership:

From: Gene Pelowski [mailto:Rep.Gene.Pelowski@house.mn]
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 10:13 AM
This Friday, February 20, there will be a bicameral hearing held in our region. Senators and Representatives from both political parties will be in Winona from 3:30 to 5:30 PM, Winona City Hall, 207 Lafayette St. The purpose of this hearing is to get testimony from affected programs in every level of government, education, health care or service impacted by the cuts suggested by the Governor’s state budget.

I am writing you to ask that you or a designee get scheduled to testify. You may do this by going to the House website at www.house.mn and clicking on “Town Meetings”.

We would ask you to focus your comments on the impact of the Governor’s budget including what is the harm to your area of government or program. Please be as precise as possible using facts such as number of lay offs, increases in property taxes, cuts in services, increases in tuition, elimination of programs. To be respectful of the time necessary to hear from a large number of constituents it would be advised to use no more than 3-5 minutes to convey your message. If you choose to provide handouts or printed materials, please plan to bring approximately 25 copies, enough for committee members and media.

Sincerely,
Representative Gene Pelowski
District 31A

The DFL is lining up their special interest allies to flood these meetings and paint a picture of abject horror. They want their allies to savage Gov. Pawlenty’s budget proposal while painting a picture of unending misery.

What’s missing is most telling. What’s missing from Rep. Pelowski’s email is his imploring his constituents to talk about reforming the way things are done. That’s because there isn’t proof that reforms are part of the DFL’s agenda. Quite the opposite, actually. There’s ample proof that their motto is ‘Keep doing what we’ve been doing’.

Staring at the biggest deficit in Minnesota history, the DFL insists on doing the same thing using the same formulas that yield the same results. Then-Gov. Clinton said in a presidential debate that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s something I’ve always agreed with President Clinton on.

This is unquestionably why Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark told Tom Hauser that, at most, we could find $500,000,000 in savings in the budget. Rep. Pelowski’s email is proof that the DFL never intended on finding better ways to make government smaller or more efficient.

The DFL has lived in a status quo world for more than a decade. It’s time that changed. We can’t afford another year of status quo DFL leadership, much less another decade.

The House and Senate GOP is offering a stark contrast to the DFL’s status quo policies. Wednesday afternoon, the House and Senate GOP leadership is holding a press conference to announce their legislative proposal, which is to cut the pay of legislators and Minnesota’s constitutional officers.

The contrast couldn’t be more stark. The DFL is counting on their special interest allies to keep the status quo intact. The GOP is offering solutions to whittle government’s bite on the taxpayer’s collective wallets. that’s before we start talking about Gov. Pawlenty’s reform proposal to cut education costs or his initiative with Wisconsin Gov. Doyle. Both initiatives are designed to increase buying power for everything from alt for road to food services to IT supplies.

The things in Gov. Pawlenty’s initiatives represent cost savings. They aren’t budget cuts, where actual services get cut. Service levels are maintained while controlling costs.

If the DFL had an reformist attitude instead of a status quo attitude, there wouldn’t be a need for Rep. Pelowski’s email pleading for the DFL’s allies to maintain the status quo.

There’s only one thing in this state bigger than the budget deficit. That would be the DFL’s new ideas deficit.

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