Thursday, June 18, 2009

However you look at it, someone has to pay.

Our governor (watch out, America) refused to negotiate on the budget this year, again. If anything includes tax increases, he won't listen to it at all, but he blames the democrats for everything. Since they know he will just veto it, they should not even bother. Thing is, it's Mr. Pawlenty who is being recalcitrant; playing politics instead of being sensible.

He likes to talk about how government needs to live within its means, just like a family. Well, I am thinking that no sane family would sit down to talk about solutions and, out of hand, reject something like, oh, I don't know, raising revenue. Like us. I was cut to 75% at work. Should I have refused the freelance editing project I was offered over the summer?

Someone will always have to pay. Mr. Pawlenty made his own cuts, and many of them will require that my family pay in the end. And most likely, we will be paying more than we would have under the democrats' plan, which raised taxes.

The governor cut 730 million in spending and made up the rest of the 2.65 billion deficit using massive accounting shifts.

I don't know about your family, but massive accounting shifts are not going to help us in any real way here in the McCauley household. I thought that we had pretty much decided that these accounting shifts are gimmicks and are not good for long-term financial health. I could be wrong.

Minnesotans lose 100 million more from state colleges and universities, disabled Minnesotans will receive fewer hours of in-home care, renters' credits drop by 30%, and chemical dependency, emergency housing, and child support grants will be cut, among other things.

The accounting shift is $1.77 billion in education, and is money that will have to be paid back at some future date. Some future date when Mr. Pawlenty is no longer governor.

Here's the thing: if you cut health and human services, does that mean the fewer people need them? If you cut aid to local governments, does that mean that they won't need it? If you cut aid to universities and colleges, does that mean that nothing changes for the students and employees?

Um, no.

It's pushing expenses down and abdicating responsibility, which is what Mr. Pawlenty has been doing for his two terms as governor due to his no-new-taxes pledges. It's all about being able to say that he did not raise taxes but still balanced the budget. It's all about being technically right, which is all you need be when all you need is a soundbyte on the national political stage. Meanwhile, my property taxes go up 12-16% a year or more, even while the value of my house goes down. My school districts have to have referenda to raise money. Tuition goes up for students, and both our jobs are at risk.

And my family is in relatively good shape. What about the people who need health and human services aid? What about renters who rely on that credit? What happens to those who need the help? They will get it somehow, or someway. At some point, the system will have to pay. The need does not go away, it just gets shifted.

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