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King posted DFL Rep. Gene Pelowski’s email in this post. Yesterday morning, King posted about this editorial. Congratulations to the St. Cloud Times Editorial Board for getting it right. This section nails it perfectly about what these meetings are really about:

Sorry, we’ve seen enough of these types of political efforts to know their only real purpose is to provide political cover to legislators after they have made that tough decision. Please note, that’s a decision expected to come months later, and perhaps even under the cover of that political darkness known as the party caucus system. Don’t think so? You really think legislators are holding these sessions because they will yield a miracle cure for the state’s money problems?

It’s time to apply truth-in-advertising laws to this tour. If they were, this tour would be titled ‘The DFL’s In Search For Political Cover Tour’. After reading Rep. Pelowski’s email, it’s impossible to think that this is anything other than turning public opinion for when the DFL decides that they’re going to start their tax-raising agenda.

The Democrats’ tour is also their attempt to criticize every aspect of Gov. Pawlenty’s budget. It’s a last ditch effort to take the spotlight away from them not having a plan. Thanks to Rep. Paul Kohls, they aren’t going to get away with it. Here’s the text of Rep. Kohl’s op-ed:

Dear Friends,

I’m still waiting. I’m waiting for the DFL leadership in the legislature to offer a suggestion on how it intends to solve our state’s budget deficit. And I’m waiting for an opportunity to present my budget resolution to the Ways and Means Committee.

Instead of coming up with an alternative to Governor Pawlenty’s budget proposal, which they have made abundantly clear they don’t agree with, the legislative “leadership” has planned a tour of Minnesota to gather input from citizens. I absolutely commend the effort to gather input from everyday citizens, but I’m incredibly disappointed that they are unwilling to put their own ideas on the table prior to touring the state.

In fact, the most generous thing that can be said about the legislative leadership is that they are spending lots of time trying to figure out how much money Minnesota is going to receive from the massive federal spending bill passed last week. I appeared on Fox 9 News on Sunday morning with Assistant Senate Majority Leader Taryl Clark (DFL–St. Cloud) to discuss the stimulus bill. My message was simple, whatever money we receive will be one-time money and we cannot try to use it to fix our ongoing structural budget problems. If we rely on it too heavily, we will find ourselves in another major deficit in 2011.

I’m hoping that Minnesotans will send a clear message to legislators over the next couple of weeks at the hearings that will be held across the state. I think most Minnesotans want us to get to work solving the budget deficit by cutting spending, not raising taxes. If you are able to attend one of the meetings, please do so and make sure our common sense message is heard. A list of the hearings can be found here:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/budgettownhallmeetings.asp

Thanks again for your support.

Warmest regards,

Rep. Paul Kohls

To be fair and balanced, Here’s a portion of Tarryl Clark’s Your Turn editorial in today’s St. Cloud Times:

Lawmakers will get their first look at his new budget sometime after March 3. We will need to examine it closely, listen to our citizens and then accept, reject or modify what it proposes do. So that’s how it goes. The governor proposes; the Legislature examines; the public speaks; the Legislature listens and then it acts.

I’ll believe that they listened to everyone when I see the DFL propose things that aren’t already on their agenda. I’ll be honest. I’d be skeptical after the games the DFL played in 2007. That skepticism grew when I read Rep. Pelowski’s email encouraging DFL activists to flood the 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.

The more I think about it, the more I question whether the numbers presented will be accurate. I’m not suggesting that activists are dishonest. I’m suggesting that their statistics might be the worst case scenario numbers.

It’s also worth noting what isn’t in any of the DFL’s proposals: reforms. When Gov. Pawlenty started talking about the opportunities this deficit created, the DFL immediately picked up on that verbiage.

Unfortunately, they haven’t picked up the action part of it yet.

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