The new DFL

Plenty of people, including some DFLers, are still shaking their head at the across-the-board cuts proposed by the Senate DFL caucus yesterday.

“The cuts fail to prioritize,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on his radio show today. “Some things are more important than others.”

Earlier this year, the architect of the DFL plan — Sen. Larry Pogemiller — agreed.

“If Minnesota wants to be on the cutting edge of educational achievement, investment in early childhood is essential. That’s a fact; the research is overwhelming,” Pogemiller told a summit on early childhood education “If we had $1 of new money, the best investment is education.” Isn’t that a priority? (Find the video on the Blandin Foundation Web site)

But just a few days later, Pogemiller said cuts to education would be required. “We are in a deteriorating situation,” Pogemiller said. It is not in the long term interest of the state to try to do this with bubble gum and act like we’re doing something,” Polinaut’s Tim Pugmire reported.

He didn’t change his story earlier this month when he told TPT’s Mary Lahammer that if education wasn’t cut, “we’d have to cut everything else by 22 percent.”

So Pogemiller’s hatchet on the budget shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise as it did. But it did.

DFLers proposing cuts to education — especially early childhood education — and Republicans proposing spending more on it is a paradigm shift that’s going to take Minnesotans more than one legislative session to grasp.

The budget sets up a potential showdown between House and Senate DFLers. House members spent several days last month holding town meetings across the state to hear citizens’ ideas on the state budget and the deficit and few recommended an across-the-board cut.

What do you think?


  • bigalmn

    It is reverse psychology. Pogemiller says education needs to get cut. Everyone says no, then he says well if you don’t want to cut it lets raise taxes more not to cut it.

    I don’t agree with cutting education, but we need to do something to wake up the education system to reorganize. That is where they will find more money. The St. Paul Superintendent is leaving, lets merge the administrative staffs between St. Paul and Minneapolis and let Green be Superintendent of both.

    Then work your way down the line. Every administrative department can be merged without one difference at the schools level except you can give them more money for teachers because of the positions that will not be needed after you merge.

    Fewer bosses and more line workers will make for better schools.

  • Bob Collins

    Is this method the same one being used (I think) by cities. Only they’re using potholes. (g)

    Lahammer did press him on whether this is all some sort of stunt to get people to beg to have their taxes raised. He denied it.

  • George

    It’s time to stop beating up the educational establishment and blaming them for all the problems. Between unfunded special ed costs, teach-to-test curriculum, and the unrealistic expectation placed on the districts by parents who fail to prepare kids for the classroom there is precious little room to move.

    The simple fact is that schools need more money to carry out their mission. We fund war with no scrutiny of the staggering waste and inefficiency not mention bad all around outcomes. Why can’t we bring ourselves to fund education with similar generosity is irrational.

    To have this nonsense spewing from DFL lips is discouraging to say the least.

    Is Pogemiiller running for guv?

  • bsimon

    “Lahammer did press him on whether this is all some sort of stunt to get people to beg to have their taxes raised. He denied it.”

    He’d be a fool not to deny it, even if it is true.

    It certainly looks like a stunt to me, but it also looks like a more honest plan than the Governor’s ongoing shenanigans with borrowed money and accounting tricks.

    What Pogemiller’s plan seems to do is force the issue of whether the Governor’s plan is good for Minnesota’s future or not. While Pogemiller’s plan is bad for Minnesota’s future – because it sacrifices the education of our future workforce – it is more rational than the Governor’s plan, which doesn’t address the systemic budget problems the state faces. The Gov’s plan defers the difficult decisions, while Pogemiller’s faces them. That, at least, is a good place to start.

  • Bob

    Unless we want to become a cold Mississippi, we need more revenue for education and for programs that aid the less advantaged. It is a Bizarro World notion to think that cutting spending in areas that should be increased will boost either the short or long-term viability of our state. All such cutting will do is lead us into a mondo hole from which we will never be able to climb out.

  • bigalmn

    I think education will sell better if they show how they have changed to maximize the dollars they do get. I agree they need more funding because of the mandates, but last year Burnsville participated in the merit pay program.

    Virtually every teacher got it so it was just a raise not merit pay. They have to understand that the rest of the world has changed so they need to change.

    We can’t continue to run education the same way it has been run for over 100 years.

  • Jim

    Given the last eight years of federal spending deficits, I would think that people would be used to the new breed of Spend-icans replacing the Spend-ocrats.