Monday, May 22, 2006

Pawlenty's Priorities

I think stadiums are a good thing. They create a quality of life in the community that is rare. When the teams are doing well it brings a level of pride and camaraderie that is difficult to conjure any other way. The economic opportunities are also advantageous. Not only fans coming into town providing business, but also the opportunity to bring in other cooperate interest, be it conventions, headquarters or expansions. People want to live where there is vibrant activity, not the 'cold Omaha' analogy that we hear often.

Governor TPaw is expected to sign the legislation. A bill that carries a tax increase. Yes, we have a Governor who signed a No New Tax Pledge, and the last time he needed money he pulled out his dusty old smoke and mirror tricks and called a tax a fee. Now it is a tax, plain and simple. When City Governments were being stripped of their LGA creating difficult decisions regarding crime and safety, taxes weren't an option. When children were being cut from Minnesota Care, taxes were off the table. While public education is reeling from increased energy costs, transportation expenses, and other uncontrollable budget items, taxes were not in the mix. But when the billionaire businessman wants a new playground for his team, Gov TPaw didn't even blink an eye about taxes.

I like the idea of a new stadium, and I have always said in any negotiations that everything must be on the table to have successful debate. When you limit your options, you limit your strength at the table. Governor Pawlenty has showed his weakness once again. Crumbling before the feet of private interests, at the expense of those who are unable to have expensive lobbyists defend their goals.

Yes, I was in favor of the stadium, but I am still in favor of healthy children, an educated society, and safe streets. What were Governor Pawlenty's priorities?


UPDATE: Pledge breakers
The following elected officials have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, thereby promising to "oppose (and vote against/veto) any and all efforts to increase taxes." yet voted FOR the stadium tax increase

State Senators

Paul Koering (Fort Ripley)
Bob Kierlin (Winona)
Mike McGinn (Eagan)

State Representatives

Frank Moe (Bemidji)
Bud Nornes (Fergus Falls)
Paul Gazelka (Brainerd)
Greg Blaine (Little Falls)
Rob Eastlund (Isanti)
Bob Gunther (Fairmont)
Jerry Dempsey (Red Wing)
Gene Pelowski (Winona)
Barb Sykora (Excelsior)
Mike Charron (Woodbury)

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