Based on this post, I’d say it’s safe to predict that the DFL Fine Whine Tour will be visiting St. Cloud next Tuesday. They’ve already started spinning Thursday’s event:
In an interesting turn of events in the legislative session, Governor/King Pawlenty decided to fore go that whole legislature thing and those silly election things. He has taken it upon himself to elevate the nearly super minority Republican Party and his own plurality election victories to a position in which they, and only they, make decisions on how to solve the current budget crisis.
There’s a couple problems with this paragraph. Gov. Pawlenty didn’t “forego that whole legislature thing and those silly election things.” In fact, Gov. Pawlenty hasn’t done anything…yet. Correct that: He’s told the DFL-dominated legislature that he won’t allow them to drag Minnesota into a special session. He’s told them that he’ll prevent the DFL from balancing the budget by “reaching into Minnesotansâ€™ pockets.”
Here’s the DFL’s official statement:
We may as well not have held an election in 2008. First, former senator Norm Coleman has deprived Minnesotans of their full representation in the United States Senate, refusing to concede that Al Franken got more votes and is entitled to the seat. Now, Colemanâ€™s crony Governor Tim Pawlenty has threatened to dispense with the elected Legislature, and run the stateâ€™s finances in the middle of a historic economic and fiscal crisis using only his executive powers of line-item veto and unallotment. Next week, after the Legislature adjourns its regular session, Minnesotans may wake up in the closest thing that America has had to a monarchy in 233 years.
Good government requires artful negotiation and compromise among elected leaders with differing views. The Founders of the nation and of our state understood the need for checks and balances so that no individual could impose his or her views on everyone else except through the democratic process. Yet Governor Pawlenty, with support from a narrow minority in the Minnesota House, is willing to ignore the constitutional process and nullify the last election if the Legislature wonâ€™t cave in to his demands.
Governor Pawlenty is not acting like a leader in a constitutional democracy. The DFL-led Legislature is delivering on their campaign promise of fiscal accountability, and has delivered a budget that makes tough but fair choices in tough times. Legislative leaders held listening sessions across Minnesota and took the peopleâ€™s views into account in fashioning that budget. But Governor Pawlenty has walled himself away, barely deigning to meet even with the peopleâ€™s elected representatives, let alone hear the people themselves. Governor Pawlenty is acting more like a monarch than an elected leader.
Iâ€™m extremely disappointed with the direction that Governor Pawlenty has taken the budget negotiations by his comments today. The legislative leadership in both houses have been more than willing to compromise with him in recent weeks, even throwing out their own budgets in favor of a working solution.
If there was any doubt, Tim Pawlenty made one thing very clear today. He has every intention of putting his own national ambitions before the best interests of the people of Minnesota. Instead of a balanced approach, Pawlenty wants to borrow, shift and cut so deeply that thousands of private-sector jobs, mostly in Minnesotaâ€™s health-care industry, will be lost. And he plans to cut 113,000 Minnesotans from health-care coverage. These plans do not reflect Minnesota values, nor do they achieve acceptable outcomes.
Minnesotans want a balanced approach to a balanced budget. They expect their elected leaders to put their future careers and egos aside to get things done. Instead, today they found their governor resorting to petty name-calling and childish foot-stomping, on top of attempts to ignore the constitutional process.
Once again, Tim Pawlenty has proven he is not the leader Minnesotans expect and deserve.â€
Here’s the line that I got the most laughs from:
The Founders of the nation and of our state understood the need for checks and balances so that no individual could impose his or her views on everyone else except through the democratic process.
A fine whine it is that Mr. Melendez is serving. It’s also BS. Governors can’t appropriate money for anything. The legislature passed all of the spending bills, then sent them to Gov. Pawlenty’s desk. When the DFL sent Gov. Pawlenty a set of bills that wouldn’t balance without a major tax increase, they hoped that Gov. Pawlenty would veto the bills. That way, they could force a special session, possibly even a government shutdown with the hopes of damaging him for the next election.
Rather than allowing himself to be painted into a corner, Gov. Pawlenty used his line-item veto authority granted by the Minnesota Constitution:
If a bill presented to the governor contains several items of appropriation of money, he may veto one or more of the items while approving the bill. At the time he signs the bill the governor shall append to it a statement of the items he vetoes and the vetoed items shall not take effect.
The DFL’s whining about the lack of checks and balances doesn’t ring true. It’s just that the DFL doesn’t like how Gov. Pawlenty and the house GOP prevented the legislature from doing whatever it wanted to do.
Here’s another statement that’s total BS:
Legislative leaders held listening sessions across Minnesota and took the peopleâ€™s views into account in fashioning that budget.
Mr. Melendez must hope that people would forget about the DFL’s attempt to manipulate the testimony:
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 Governorâ€™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 â€œTown Meetingsâ€.
We would ask you to focus your comments on the impact of the Governorâ€™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.
Representative Gene Pelowski
TRANSLATION: Stack the testimony with activists who will tell the attentive legislators that they should have the “courage to raise taxes” so their program won’t get cut.
Rep. Pelowski’s wasn’t the only email sent instructing the activists to manipulate the testimony:
Dear Reps. Benson, Ruud, Winkler, Peterson and Simon and Sens. Bonoff, Rest and Pappas,
Thank you for participating in the Plymouth town hall meeting this Thursday. I anticipate there will be additional members participating but have so far not yet been notified. Meeting details are listed below and directions from the Capitol are attached.
Plymouth Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, Feb. 26 7:00 pm
Plymouth City Hall
3400 Plymouth Blvd.
I have also attached the list of people who have signed up to testify as of 9 a.m. this morning. Because we will be meeting for approximately 2 hrs., we will not be able to hear from everyone. (140 have submitted their names.) We will be limiting testimony to 2 minutes and encouraging individuals to submit their comments in writing or online. If there are any individuals listed who you think would provide particularly compelling testimony, please let me know. We will be working to hear from a variety of individuals covering a wide range of topics.
Please contact me with any additional questions or suggestions.
This is the sentence that’s the biggest pile of BS:
The DFL-led Legislature is delivering on their campaign promise of fiscal accountability, and has delivered a budget that makes tough but fair choices in tough times.
The DFL’s budget is irresponsible because it originally included a major job-killing tax increase. The DFL’s Tax Increase Bill was so awful that it barely passed in veto-proof Senate. It’s so awful that Rep. Gene Pelowski wrote an op-ed criticizing the DFL’s bill.
The narrow minority that Mr. Melendez talked about earlier wasn’t that minor in the 36-30 vote in the Senate. There are 48 DFL senators and 19 GOP senators. That means that at least 11 DFL senators voted against the DFL’s irresponsible Tax Increase Bill.
This is the other sentence that I vehemently disagree with:
The legislative leadership in both houses have been more than willing to compromise with him in recent weeks.
This Strib article suggests that Mr. Melendez’ statement is as reliable as Nancy Pelosi’s tortured version of the truth about EITs:
Pawlenty’s new plan, offered Monday morning, would borrow just under $500 million against future state revenues instead of the nearly $1 billion he had originally proposed. It would adopt the Senate’s proposal to drain $250 million from the state’s reserve account and would fill in the remainder by acceding to the larger accounting shifts proposed by the House.
The proposal by Pawlenty steps around the cluster of tax increases passed by the House and Senate last week.
The Lady Logician sums things up nicely in this post:
In a letter addressed to the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, the Governor said that he would relent on his opposition to two of the three main sticking points between the the Legislature and the Governor’s office and he would cut in half his request for bonding. In essense, he was giving in to the DFL on 2 1/2 of the 3 main issues that the DFL had with the Governor’s budget. The DFL’s response was quick and predictable. Calling it a “false compromise” and a compromise in “word and not in deed” the DFL leadership of the House and the Senated doubled down on their intent to once again drive the state toward a shut-down (as they did in 2005).
The Strib’s article suggests that the “legislative leadership in both houses” wasn’t as “willing to compromise with [Gov. Pawlenty] in recent weeks” as Mr. Melendez suggests.
Then again, that’s what I’d expect from a spinmeister like Mr. Melendez.