Monday, December 15, 2008
Rising to Defend Governor Pawlenty
I admire and respect Governor Tim Pawlenty, and I appreciate the restraint, the discipline and the self-sufficiency he encourages Minnesota’s state and city governments to embrace. Governor Pawlenty has asked us to do what he has done himself: exhibit restraint, discipline, and self sufficiency as we work through our city’s challenges.
I have had the opportunity to introduce Governor Pawlenty on several occasions. As a result, I have learned a great deal about him and have come to admire his approach to politics and to life.
Tim Pawlenty has known and overcome adversity. The youngest of five children, he has a blue-collar background that includes a childhood close to the meat-packing plants of South St. Paul and a family that lost its livelihood when those plants closed, leaving his father – a truck driver – without work. At the age of sixteen, Tim experienced the death of his mother and began to work delivering newspapers and stocking shelves at the neighborhood grocery store. These challenges inspired him to do better and reach higher. He worked his way through the University of Minnesota, where he achieved top academic honors, and went on to the University Law School, again working his way through and again earning high honors.
Knowing these facts may help us understand why he recently indicated that he may respectfully decline the proposed additional Federal Government support directed to the states. His position may be summed up as “Thanks, but no thanks. We will take care of these monetary challenges at the State level.” Governor Pawlenty believes that taxes should not increase when businesses are already weighed down by the burden of local, county, and state taxes and fees. He believes, as well, that city financial challenges should be handled by the city. His support lessened among many Duluth area elected officials when he singled out Duluth for what he understands to be a double-digit tax increase even though the economy is in recession and is not expected to grow by more than one percent before the end of 2009. He stated: “Taxes should not increase when the economy and people’s paychecks are not growing.”
I agree. And I believe the great majority of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce members also agree with Governor Pawlenty. This is no time to increase taxes.
Governor Pawlenty should not be vilified for voicing opposition to Duluth’s proposed increase in property taxes. Rather, he should be applauded. I stand in his defense and support his efforts.
posted by David Ross