If

A few ways the governor’s unallotment may impact you.

If you’re a politician:

You’ll have to find another way to convince people to contribute to your campaign. The political contribution refund is eliminated through June 30, 2011. It reimburses Minnesotans for contributions to candidates.

If you’re a renter:

Your renter’s refund would be reduced from 19% of rent paid to 15%.

If you’re a personal care attendant:

The most hours you can work in a month are being reduced by 45.

If you work for the Department of Public Safety, Military and Veterans Affairs, Corrections, or State Operated Services Division of the Department of Human Services:

Relax. The 2.25 percent reduction in the state agencies budget doesn’t apply to you.

If you invested in capital equipment:

You won’t be getting your sales tax refund payment for up to 3 months.

If you need help applying for public health care programs:

You’re on your own. The money to fund it from the state is being suspended. Parts of the program paid for by the tax on health care providers will continue.

If you live in Albertville, Andover, Arden Hills, Baxter, Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Champlin, Chanhassen, Circle Pines, Corcoran, Cottage Grove, Dayton, Eagan, East Bethel, Edina, Farmington,Forest Lake, Golden Valley, Ham Lake, Hugo, Inver Grove Heights, Lake Elmo,Lakeville, Lino Lakes, Mahtomedi, Maple Grove Maplewood, Mendota Heights, Minnetonka, Minnestrista, Monticello, Mound, New Brighton, Oakdale, Orono, Otsego, Plymouth, Prior Lake, Ramsey, Rogers, Rosemount, Roseville, Sartell, Savage, Shakopee, Shoreview, Shorewood, Spring Lake Park, St. Anthony, St. Louis Park, St. Michael, Vadnais Heights, Victoria, or Woodbury:

You may not feel the impact as deeply. Your city doesn’t get local government aid (LGA) from the state. Other cities will feel it, city officials say. “It could be in the form of no cop in their kid’s school, higher property taxes, or a local library that is no longer open,” according to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

If you’re Wisconsin:

Send that check! Minnesota will require payments under the reciprocity agreement that allows Wisconsin students who attend Minnesota public colleges to pay the same tuition they would at a comparable Wisconsin school, and vice versa. This is wrong. You still have to pay up, Wisconsin, but it’s the income tax reciprocity agreement that allows residents of one state to file income taxes only in the state in which he/she lives when he/she works across the border.

  • Julie

    Why is no one calling the governor on his disingenuous comments about the cuts happening in the future because then the legislature can work out some changes?

    If he’s so keen on finding a way to minimize the impact of these cuts, why didn’t he extend the legislative session?

  • Tyler Suter

    It seems to me that governor Pawlenty is out of touch in directing unallotment at renters at a time when evictions are on the rise.

  • MR

    From Polinaut’s Liveblog

    Minneapolis has been on an unbroken streak of 8 percent increases in property taxes, funding things like $50,000 artistic fountains, duplicative departments with state departments…They need to get their head out of their clouds… It is not business as usual.

    I wonder how much the governor understands about the concept of “dedicated funding sources that can’t be transferred.” Like the decorative fountains. Or when he criticized St. Paul for having environmental program officers…that are only there because of a dedicated federal grant. If they cut the program, it wouldn’t actually free up any money, they’d just lose it.

  • GregS

    LGA should have been cut deeply years ago, if not eliminated entirely.

    Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul duplicate services and functions that any competent city manager would have long since consolidated.

    Their business processes are abysmal.

    Anyone with a background in business has to ask why Hennepin Country, Ramsey County, Minneapolis and Saint Paul all have stand-alone Payroll, Accts Payable, Accts Receivable, financial systems, GIS systems, inspection systems, mechanical and fleet support functions.

    Look at http://www.LOGIS.org and see what the suburbs, who are paying a large share of the inner-city bills, have done for themselves.

  • Bob Collins

    One of the practices that helps create this mess, which no one ever talks about, is the lack of zero-based budgeting.

    As with many private companies, state agencies spend to their budget because they fear if they didn’t do that, they wouldn’t get that much in the next budget (and why should they?)

    I have a few friends in high spaces in several state agencies who say they’ve been on a spending spree as the fiscal years ends.

    And, as I said, that’s not a “government” thing. It happens all the time in business.

  • Bob Collins

    That’s a good question, GregS. How many governments do we need? Do we need county government when we have city and state government? Or do we need city government when we have county government?

    Do we really NEED two big cities next to each other, rather than one…two school departments, two arenas, two library systems etc.?

  • http://www.mnprogressiveproject.com/ Grace Kelly

    Note how Pawlenty’s great hope on the second year emphasis depends on Obama’s stimulus plan working!

    Note how it is OK for Pawlenty to pay schools late however Wisconsin cannot pay us late.

    Tell your sick grandmother that she should have not gotten sick and unemployed when we need to “tighten our belts” during an economic downturn. During flush times, we give more tax breaks to the rich and during the lean times, the poor get to go without government support! Note how the rich benefit and the poor go without.

    Note that stadiums and sport were not unalloted!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKAZDLhDgCI&feature=channel_page NL

    The DFL-controlled legislature had a year to cut spending but instead shoved a spending bill in the last minutes of the session. Blame Pawlenty? Blame Margaret Kelliher et. al.

  • MR

    I thought that Pawlenty’s proposals to make some regional human service delivery centers was a great idea, but after being floated early, I never heard anything more about it. I don’t think that it would be an immediate cost-saver, but it definitely would be helpful in the long run.

  • GregS

    “How many governments do we need?”

    That question is elegantly answered by the hyphenated school districts of rural Minnesota. Well, maybe Lake-Wobegon-Muddy Lake-Foggy Bottoms-Dismal Swamp is not so much an elegant name for a district as it is an elegant solution to the problem of administrative over-head and capital expenditures.

    But look at Mpls-Saint Paul. Each spends $10’s of million of IT every year.

    How much do they spend on firefighting and police training?

    How much of Housing inspection?

    These are functions that can be consolidated across the metro.

    LGA has promoted inefficiency. It is about time we did away with it.

  • Bob Collins

    //Note that stadiums and sport were not unalloted!

    Which ones get state support? The second hockey rink in St. Paul never made it. And as far as I know, the Twins, and Vikings aren’t getting anything.

    I could well be wrong but I believe the biggest private industry beneficiary of state money is farmers and ethanol producers.

    In the last budget crunch, the ethanol producer payments were delayed.

  • Judy

    Mr. Pawlenty is just paving his way to the GOP presidential nomination – he doesn’t really care about the people of Minnesota.

    Its terribly sad when our politicians put personal agendas before the good of the people they represent.

  • Bob Collins

    //DFL-controlled legislature had a year to cut spending

    I haven’t paid attention to their news conference today but I can tell youj their response will be that their budget actually cut, whereas the Pawlenty budget depended on borrowing.

    The DFL tried to portray itself as a pay-as-you-go party and the Republicans as a run-up-the-debt party but the strategy never took hold.

    Of course, Pogemiller had people scratching their heads in March with a proposed 7 percent across the board cut. His plan would’ve cut K-12 more than Pawlenty’s did and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop on that proposal and it never did.

    All in all, it was a bad sign when the leadership and governor communicated through letters and news conferences.

  • http://www.kassiechurch.net Kassie

    You forgot a big one…

    If you are without children and being evicted or having your utlities shut off, you are out of luck. The cut to EGA and EMSA will leave you homeless or without your lights, water, or gas. Or if you are homeless now, you will no longer get help with a damage deposit.

    This one is especially close to my heart:

    >

    This money was being used specifically to reduce disparities in health care and pay non-profits for the great work they are doing. I think a couple non-profits may crumble, or at minimum, need to stop helping people applying for the assistance they legally are entitled to.

  • GregS

    Mr. Pawlenty is just paving his way to the GOP presidential nomination – he doesn’t really care about the people of Minnesota.

    Couldn’t disagree more.

    Pawlenty’s check on raising taxes prevents the great ratchet of economic swing to advance taxes another notch.

    In the past taxes have been raised on each economic down-turn. This has boosted revenues after recovery, which prompts new spending. The new spending simply deepens the deficit on the next down swing, and on and on and on.

    By resisting the urge to crank the system another notch, Pawlenty has made state finances more sustainable.

  • Jamie

    If you’re a renter:

    Your renter’s refund would be reduced from 19% of rent paid to 15%.

    That’s not correct. Renters’ credits are not a percentage of rent paid. I think they’re a percentage of the portion of your rent that goes toward your landlord’s property taxes, or something like that.

    In any case, it’s another cut for those who can least afford it.

  • John T

    Well the governor isn’t going to run again so he can pretty much do as he pleases. Why not a small across-the-board tax increase, rather than pushing the burden further on property tax payers?

    Pawlenty was a disaster. Good-bye and good riddance.

  • David

    Only $50 million at the University of Minnesota?

    Terrible. They should have cut about $100 million just from the University as a start.

    I would predict about 1,000 state workers losing their jobs, maybe more once they figure out the health and human service departments are worthless. You don’t need state, city and county level employees to basically do the same job.

  • Jamie

    …Pawlenty has made state finances more sustainable.

    No, he has started what most right-wingers want to do: eliminate government altogether (except for military and police), and let private businesses take over everything else, to make huge profits, pay workers minimum wages, and expand the gap between rich and poor.

  • Bob Collins

    //They should have cut about $100 million just from the University as a start.

    He had an opportunity to do exactly that in 2006. But he signed the bill that committed state taxpayers to fund 40% of the new football stadium. At the time, that was $99 million.

    // health and human service departments are worthless

    I’m not sure what you mean here. You mean their duplicative? Or that the principle of human services is worthless?

    One of the problems in Minnesota is you can get different human services when you cross from one county line to the next, as opposed to a standardization.

  • Bob Collins

    //That’s not correct. Renters’ credits are not a percentage of rent paid

    According to the Department of Revenue:

    “19 percent of the rent you paid during the year is considered the portion paid for property tax.”

  • David

    I am saying the human service system in Minnesota is broken.

    Welfare has become a program that people live off in Minnesota, where as it was suppose to be a “make ends meet” program. Why should taxes pay for someone without motivation to find a job?

    The people who cheat the system far outweigh those who really need assistance in times of need.

    Why don’t they standardize the system? Why can’t the per pupil system for all of Minnesota be standardize? Are teachers in greater MN less important than those in the TC Metro area?

  • Jamie

    …eliminate government altogether (except for military and police)…

    Oh, and except for all the cronies they want to employ. There are LOTS of Pawlenty/Republican cronies in state government now — how much ya wanna bet they all keep THEIR jobs?

    “19 percent of the rent you paid during the year is considered the portion paid for property tax.”

    But you don’t get 19% of the rent you paid back for the renter’s credit. Not by a long shot.

  • MR

    David,

    Do you have data to show that people on welfare don’t have motivation to find a job, or that “The people who cheat the system far outweigh those who really need assistance…?”

    I would agree that the health care system in the state is broken, because the health care system in the country is broken.

  • Bill

    Two comments regarding governmental costs:

    1. The earlier comment about consolidating financial, licensing and other services between cities (like St. Paul and Mpls) and then citing Logis (which consolidates back end data handling) is a bit disengenuous. The costs of separate licensing, HRA, etc. is the cost of the interface between the citizen and the person who does the service…not the cost of operating the computers and data service centers. If you are in St. Paul, do you want to go to Mpls to get a permit? Do you want to travel to St. Paul to fill out another form? Commonly owned data centers is different from commonly controlled service centers. Da. By the way, we moved from the east coast to the twin cities, and the saving grace of this community is that there are two cities, and not one metro government like Chicago. If one city goofs up, the other city doesn’t or does it differently. And, finally, regarding consolidation of data centers, before long this will be done with cloud computing, so even the Logis approach is out of date.

    2. The cities do, however, bear the costs of poor residents who are zoned out of moving to the suburbs…which have zoning restrictions limiting large rental units, etc. Consequently, the cities bear a far higher proportion of poor person medical costs, etc. LGA equalizes this disparity. Now, if you want to do regional taxing to cover these costs, perhaps we can talk.

  • Bob Collins

    There is still a fiscal disparities program that was intended — at least in part — to get regional interests to work more closely together. I was reading an old Citizens League newsletter the other day — from 2006 — in which it was noted, however, that while funding more government via the property tax might make citizens closer to the decision-making, the property tax system also makes it more difficult for communities and regions to work together toward shared solutions.

    And, of course, we see this all the time. Communities compete against each other — via tax breaks etc. — to attract a business. The JOBZ program, establishing areas with tax breaks to spur economic development, results often in one community losing the jobs another gains but the net gain is zero.

    That’s a lot of effort and expenditures to lead to a wash.

  • Jamie

    Welfare has become a program that people live off in Minnesota, where as it was suppose to be a “make ends meet” program. Why should taxes pay for someone without motivation to find a job?… The people who cheat the system far outweigh those who really need assistance in times of need.

    If you receive public assistance, you don’t EVEN “make ends meet.” Nobody casually “lives off” of public assistance. You get a ridiculously low stipend that makes it necessary for you to live in the worst, most dangerous part of town, and you’re constantly scrambling to try to pay bills and keep your kids fed, while trying to get training for a job that pays less than a subsistence-level wage.

    Where do you get the information that backs up your assertion that “people who cheat the system far outweigh those who really need assistance”? That sounds like wishful thinking on your part. You don’t want to believe that there are really that many people in dire need. And Pawlenty just increased that number.

  • David

    I’ll never understand how K-12 education doesn’t get touched at all in times of trouble. It is not over 40% of the operating state budget?

    I hear all the time that there are administrators and principals keeping their jobs, while teachers, who probably make a biggest difference in education, get cut over and over again.

    When salaries of principals are $100,000 or $200,000 per year, don’t you think they could make a little less to make the money go farther. When did education become so greedy?

  • Bill

    The preceding comment regarding JOBZ raises another issue: we unallot goverment expenditures, but not special interest tax breaks. Special interest tax breaks are gifts that keep on giving. They should be sunsetted and reexamined, and perhaps we should find a mechanism to unallot them as well.

  • Bob Collins

    //Why should taxes pay for someone without motivation to find a job?

    In many cases the people who are receiving human services ARE working. In fact, many of the cuts to MinnesotaCare are made to working people.

    You also have people who are mentally ill and simply can’t work.

    But your comments does get to the heart of the original question — which I believe I asked in another post, now that I think of it — what is the RIGHT thing to do.

    Unquestionably, there are people who are taking advantage of welfare and social service programs just as there are people who rip off the government as contractors. But we need to know to what extent that is the case so that we can make informed decisions and changes. Are we doing that? Or are we creating boogeymen as representative of the whole?

    And how do we talk about it? Just yesterday I was driving home out of St. Paul and a young — far too young — woman was pushing a baby carriage across the street as a young man on the opposite corner walked across the opposite street, keeping an eye on her as if it was his opportunity.

    When you’ve got kids at 16 and 17, you’re asking for a difficult life. The men? Quite often they move on to the next woman.

    How do we talk about this? How do we change this culture so that kids can get a good start on adulthood and their children aren’t forced to live the same cycle?

    Much of this gets back to a discussion on Midmorning yesterday that questioned how much of poverty — especially black poverty — is cultural and how much is racism?

    I’ve heard very little — very little — intelligent discussion in Minnesota political circles in which everyone is asking these questions and trying to come up with strategic answers. Instead, we hear “talk show rhetoric” which quite often is ignorance disguised as expertise.

    How do we change things for the better?

  • Jamie

    special interest tax breaks

    The DFL-led legislature tried to get rid of at least some of these, but it didn’t fly, if I remember correctly.

  • JSmith

    Just as an example of working and still getting Medical Assistance:

    A few years ago I was on Medical Assistance, and was working full time (not quite, actually, but close). I still made under the limit and was allowed to stay on. My regular hours were adjusted slightly after a month at my job, so I worked under what was required to qualify for insurance (a common tactic at most employers by the way), and it so happens that over the winter holidays I worked extra hours and made too much money to qualify for MA anymore. I was cut from assistance, and had made too much to qualify for any Minnesota Care program.

    Now years later, at a different job still without insurance (the employer is small enough to not offer it), I was in the hospital a few months ago (pneumonia coupled with asthma is nasty stuff) and discovered I made $75 too much a year to qualify for Medical Assistance. I did qualify (just barely) for the Allina Partners Care program, thankfully, but without that I would have been completely screwed.

    I do work full-time; unfortunately I have numerous pre-existing conditions and don’t qualify for most coverage. I don’t really make enough to buy into an insurance policy on my own anyway, even if I did qualify.

    I’m not the only person I know in a similar situation. Some people work multiple jobs, because each job they work at only has so many work hours available to them (and sometimes they end up working more than 40 hours a week because each job requires a certain number of hours minimum). It lets them pay the rent, but what about the medical bills?

  • Esther

    Interesting how Pawlenty will not tax the rich, but creates a greater burden on the poor. All these cuts will greatly effect those who live from paycheck to paycheck, however, those who live in McMansions will not pay any additional burden. Because of the deductions that are allowed to the wealthy, they pay a smaller percentage of their income to taxes than the poor. Ten dollars to these different classes are the difference between a cup of coffee (advantaged) to three meals (disadvantaged).

    While I agee that the state should live within its means, we all agree that our roads are terrible, our schools are in need of help. But what the heck, new stadiums for all. Lets keep those priorities in check. GRRRR

  • Bob Collins

    Theoretically, everyone pays a smaller percentage of their income than the poor. So why do we use that as a justification for taxing the wealthy? If that reasoning works, why isn’t the middle class facing an income-tax increase, too. It’s kinda rhetorical, I know the answer. There are more middle class voters than rich voters. But that means the tax policy is more about politics than fairness, right?

    What would happen if we just admit that? Wouldn’t it lead to a more honest debate by the pols?

  • Minn Whaler

    “Welfare has become a program that people live off in Minnesota, where as it was suppose to be a “make ends meet” program. Why should taxes pay for someone without motivation to find a job?

    The people who cheat the system far outweigh those who really need assistance in times of need.”

    David… as others have asked, show me the data?? Do you have any experience in this area? Do you know what a family of 2 get to live off while on assistance? One adult, one child… $458 cash

    $350 food and healthcare. Try it for month and I’ll even give you a break, don’t count mortgage/rent, or transportation/car upkeep. Think about clothing, household goods, healthy living conditions, etc.

    Send your budget plan to me. It might help the thousands of clients who are suddenly scapegoats for a governor unwilling to bend on no new taxes.

    Desperate times require desperate actions… Gosh oh gee I didn’t see this coming, We need to find a way to keep Minnesota a state that attracts families, etc. Dismantling the safety net, taking funding away from higher education, etc.

    Governor Pawlenty is just a liable for the legislative impasse as anyone, but he gets to pull this emergency budget balancing law out of his sleeve after he was part of the reason the emergency occurred. He was not present at any of the last few sessions of our senate and house had struggling to find a compromise and he is not open to compromise. He is his own government. We at least need more than him.

  • Ray

    Pawlenty is an idiot and does not understant the concept of LGA.They should put up a toll booth at Hinckley and divide the state in two.North and South Minnesota.

  • David

    Spare me the sob stories. It wasn’t me that decided to have a young child and chose a path towards living off welfare.

    The system is broken because it rewards people for bad decisions, like having a child without being able to afford the responsibilties. Why should we pay for obvious bad decisions by people living off welfare? They make the horrible decision that having more children might mean more welfare money, when it only makes the situation worse.

    I am sure I could find more proof that welfare is a multiply-generational problem, where as children living in it choose the same path as their parents because it is simply, and sadly, their only option.

  • Bob

    I think there is a huge elephant in the room that few, if any media — including MPR, have addressed directly, and that is the lack of compassion/empathy that Pawlenty has displayed throughout his gubernatorial terms, and which is illustrated in spades by his unallotments.

    He may be a smart guy, but he exhibits a bloodlessness that is quite evident to anybody who’s paying attention.

  • Lana

    The cuts to GAMC are cruel and inhumane. Persons of both political parties need to be outraged by this cut alone. GAMC IS our state’s safety net for its most vulnerable citizens–especially those with major mental illnesses. Folks will not be able to get medications. This will result in increased crime, ER visits, corrections costs, and a society where some are truly discounted. I am terribly dissapointed in this Governor I once supported.

    Is this the same governor who had a mental health plan a couple of years ago? How can this be–please help me to understand!

  • Bill

    Regarding the comment on the poor paying taxes relative to the rich:

    Please note the following: poor people’s wages are taxed based on earnings which include social security and medicare deductions (with SS capped at 100k+); please also note that sales taxes are based on consumption and that poorer people consume most of what they earn, with little left for savings.

    Contrary to what you may believe, savings are not taxed at the same rates as wage earning. We have capital gains taxes; we have deferred income (401K, deferred comp plans) etc. for those who have surplus income to save, and we have tax deductions for such things as my trip to a nice location to attend a seminar (thank you very much).

    But, then, all of you who went to college and took that econ class also know that the marginal dollar for a rich person is not savored as much as the marginal dollar for a poor person–just think about a stream of ice cream cones–too much consumption can make you sick, or at least, a bad neighbor.

    So, for all the rich whiners about taxes, count your blessings. Be grateful the hamburger flipper with a minimum wage subsidizes your middle class consumption to support athletic stadiums, highways they may not use, while getting poorer services in schools and other facilities you would not tolerate.

  • Lynn

    “Spare me the sob stories. It wasn’t me that decided to have a young child and chose a path towards living off welfare.”

    Spoken like a typical male. No offense to all you thoughtful guys out there who are forward thinking enough to supply your own birth control.

    I was lucky enough to live in a state where my mother was supplied with what she needed after she left my abusive bi polar alcoholic father. With no diploma or GED, and undiagnosed untreated mental illness, it was virtually impossible for her to obtain meaningful work in a small town. And No, I did not choose the same path as my mother, although it was temping. Living in a small dumpy apartment with kids screaming in the hallway, the stigma of living in “HUD” housing in an otherwise upscale town, pulling out my food stamp coupons while my neighbors impatiently wait and gawk behind me, and waiting for 6 months to get into a dentist that accepts public assistance, only to find out I have to have a tooth pulled that *could* have been saved had I only gotten in earlier. Yup, that is just what I wanted for my life.

    No sir, I moved out, supported myself, put myself through school at the U of MN, and am now in my 30s and making a comfortable living for myself. So don’t assume that just because a child grows up on welfare means he or she is going to choose that life. The stigma applies to them too, and they are just as eager to put it behind them. They get to have that “special” lunch card that indicates they get free lunch because they are “poor” (and trust me, kids pick up on this). They get the charity school supplies and do their school shopping at the helping hand where the clothes smell like a dirty hamper. You look on longingly as your friend shows off her new puppy or kitten, something you can never have. Family vacations are non-existent. At least once or twice a year, your phone is disconnected because there just isn’t enough money to pay the bill. I distinctly remember trekking up town with our laundry quarters to call Grandma. If your family has a car, it is probably an eye-sore and is broken down more than not. You are embarrassed to be dropped off at school, as the muffler can be heard blocks away. Need I go on?

  • David R

    Bob,

    You’re absolutely right. This governor’s forced but condescending smile says it all for me. (“There, there, now. I know what’s best for all of you.”)

    But when our family sits down and discusses how to make ends meet, we don’t say “We’ll just have to pay only 80% of our boys college tuition this year.” We find ways to look for extra income – extra REVENUE. Cut my plans for that summer vacation? Forget it. Too busy with a second and third job setting aside enough cash to keep up with property taxes.

    Pawlenty is smug, condescending, and has NO VISION for the state. Thank God he’s leaving.

  • Anton Rang

    As a Wisconsin resident, I’m curious about how Governor Pawlenty plans to change the tax reciprocity agreement without Wisconsin’s agreement. Minnesota can unilaterally break the agreement — though that would also end the higher education reciprocity agreement, as the two are linked — but not simply change it. As pointed out a few years back when Gov. Ventura wanted to end reciprocity, “Other parts of the agreement, including payment due dates [the part Gov. Pawlenty plans to change], are left to be negotiated by the two commissioners of revenue”.

    So perhaps both income tax reciprocity and higher education reciprocity are on the table.

  • GregS

    “1.The earlier comment about consolidating financial, licensing and other services between cities (like St. Paul and Mpls) and then citing Logis (which consolidates back end data handling) is a bit disengenuous. The costs of separate licensing, HRA, etc. is the cost of the interface between the citizen and the person who does the service…not the cost of operating the computers and data service centers.”

    Then why, oh why, have those silly suburbs banded together to save $100’s of millions by founding LOGIS to consolidate services?

    “The cities do, however, bear the costs of poor residents who are zoned out of moving to the suburbs…which have zoning restrictions limiting large rental units, etc”

    Really?

    Obviously some people are not aware that the Feds, the State and the Metropolitan council has mandated low-cost low-income housing in the suburbs for decades.

    Maybe people should spend some time just driving around the Brooklyn’s, Hopkins and Eagan, etc.

    Here is a clue to the finances of cities. The first thing any first time visitor to the suburbs should notice is the lack of a downtown full of tall office buildings. This feature is the source of 25% of Mpls and Saint Paul’s revenue.

  • GregS

    “When you’ve got kids at 16 and 17, you’re asking for a difficult life. The men? Quite often they move on to the next woman.”

    Could the fact that poor young men move from woman to woman have something to do with public policy?

    Aren’t they just following the money?

    Which gender is subsidized to have children and which taxed?

    By law, it is illegal to discriminate against women in employment, housing or education, but in legal practice, a poor black male less chance of being awarded custody of a child then a black man used to have becoming a judge in Alabama.

    If a mother chooses not to work, the state provides her with housing, food and spending money. There is no expectation that she will ever pay that money back.

    On the other hand, a father accrues an unforgivable child support debt that for the poor is life-long barrier to employment.

    We talk about ending racism, sexism and unhealthy stereotypes, but then we have family court and DHS.

  • Bill

    Responding to Greg:

    To be objective, please look at the Logis site, and also please admit the the suburbs that have banded together for back end data handling perform their services locally…unless you want to say that if I am in a suburb I travel to Logis to get my services.

    To be objective regarding locations for poor people to live in the Twin Cities, I would be glad to direct you to Census maps which show the locations of rental and high density, low cost rental units in the Twin Cities. I might also be able to put you in touch with an urban geographer who would disabuse you of the belief that recent efforts to change zoning have not made a difference. But, by all means, use Census data, and please be objective.

  • GregS

    “To be objective, please look at the Logis site, and also please admit the the suburbs that have banded together for back end data handling perform their services locally…unless you want to say that if I am in a suburb I travel to Logis to get my services.”

    My point is not hard to understand. The suburbs have banded together to cut expenses, Minneapolis and Saint Pault have not. With generious LGA subsidies there is little incentive to economize.

    While some costs of service delivery to citizens is difficult to cut by consolidation, enough of it is to make it a sensible goal.

    “To be objective regarding locations for poor people to live in the Twin Cities, I would be glad to direct you to Census maps which show the locations of rental and high density, low cost rental units in the Twin Cities.”

    And I would be glad to direct you to the locations where large concentrations of low-income rental property exit in the suburbs.

    The expense of low-income housing in the inner-cities is more than offset by the revenues from downtown business districts.

  • MStein

    Governor Pawlenty stated that he was on “firm legal ground” in making these cuts. Apparently, moral ground wasn’t considered.

  • GregS

    “moral ground wasn’t considered.”

    If the people who own the DFL: Education Minnesota, AFCME, MAPE, etc, can put their interests over those of uninsured children, why should Gov. Pawlenty be held to another standard?

    The worst is yet to come.

    Wait until the state has to make good on all the defined benefits pensions the DFL has written into law.

    Heck, the teachers in Minneapolis alone clipped us for $1 Billion.

    How many kids could be insured for that kind of cash?

  • MIKEB

    So many arguments. There is a simple fact. When times are tough it is the moral responcability of those who have to share with those who do not. In our times this is accomplished by those who have paying a little more in taxes for a length of time necessary to bridge the gap cause by those who have lost their jobs and have no income to support our government and said systems that make it up. These systems are for the good of everyone. Educated children don’t destroy your neighborhood. The sick should never be stuck in the poor house for something that wasn’t their fault.

    And no matter what it is morally wrong for someone to be stuck in the cold without a roof over their head. There is enough that we can meet these need and the rich can still stay rich.

    JFK was right ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. the higher the safety net is the better we all live including those at the top.

    I for one would be happy to pay more to maintain the quality of life we have here in Minnesota.

  • Sandy

    Greg

    All of those defined benefit pensions are fully funded. Those funds already exist so the STATE does not have to fund those pensions in full at some time in the future. THE STATE IS NOT ENRON! or at least I hope not.

  • GregS

    Sandy,

    A number of Minnesota public pensions have gone bankrupt recently and the state has picked up their unfunded liabilities.

    To suggest state pensions are “fully” funded is not accurate. Our funds are (somewhat) actuarially funded. In other words, if a whole series of assumptions play out perfectly, maybe, the taxpayers will not have to cover “that” much.

    Here’s an interesting read on public pensions. (Bob notes: I’ve edited to add the hotlink. Please see the instructions for how to form links in comments).

  • Linda

    Is it a shock that the governor who knows this no new tax policy cannot be sustained now decides he wants to dump a huge mess on the next guy, presumably to blame that person for the problem? First Bush does it, now Pawlenty. And where are people getting the popularity and approval ratings? I saw the Star Trib, and it is less than 50%. Is he only looking at the ones that go to his wealthy friends? And why is it we tell the poor to quit complaining when the rich get richer. Shouldn’t they quit complaining that they can’t have a second home or go on a European vacation and do the moral thing–support those who cannot support themselves?

  • Max

    Thank God for Governor Pawlenty! The DFL controlled legislature did not do their job so he had the political courage to take charge and do it for them. A special session? No way. Why would a cash-strapped state spend more money on a special session to prolong the argument? The DFL could not balance the budget because they were afraid of the political fallout. They dropped it in Pawlenty’s lap so the criticism would rain down around him as is happening with many of these comments. Well it backfired. The Governor “ate it up and spit it out” in a very responsible way. The DFL has shown it cannot function when the chips are down. Thank God for Governor Pawlenty!

  • Russ

    The DFL wanted to raise taxes.

    The Governor said NO !!!!!!

    If you agree with the DFL please feel free to send your money to the Dept. of Revenue State of MN.

    If you don’t send in your money we can assume that you agree with the Governor.

    If you don’t understand my point feel free to keep on watching American Idol and go to bed each night knowing that Obama and the DFL will continue to spend other peoples’ hard earned income to take care of you.

    Have a good day Sunshine.

  • Bob Collins

    We’re slipping back into the usual arguments that get us nowhere, so I’ll reiterate my original question.

    What is the RIGHT thing to do in terms of approaching problems of the state with regard to poverty, education etc. I’m not talking about the RIGHT way to do it, I’m talking about the end result.

    Can we agree on what that end result should be, and get to the ways of achieving it later?

  • deminn

    That’s the conversation no party politician wants to have becaue it starts the ball rolling in the correct direction and there’s political consequences of that.

    So they put their interests in front of the state interests, and play “chase your tail” with funding and accountability and shifting and new tax schemes, but we get nowhere closer to a sustainable and just standard.

    What we end up with is a bifurcated society gounded in the same campsite, both seeing the same thing but identifying a differnet set of values, only one of which is based in the reality of a smouldering reminiscence of the values our nation was founded on, those being equality under the rule of law, proeprty ownership and freedom of the individual, and holding the bond of common union in citizneship and country amongst the highest (as opposed to corporatisim).

    The problem is more of the former kind enter politics and get elected so the theatre involved with keeping them safe and secure, rather than the state and it’s citizens, clouds the soultions because the dialogue and values aren’t really acting out on the plane they should be.

    Bottom line, things NEED to get far more ugly than they are for things to get better. And the Crown Party seems dedicated to making that reality happen no matter which side of the aisle they sit on.

    I guess that’s a positive taken one way.

  • GregS

    What is the RIGHT thing to do in terms of approaching problems of the state with regard to poverty, education etc.

    The first thing to do is separate the interests of the people being served from those who serve them.

    Frankly, too much is focused on servers rather than served.

    For instance, look at something as simple as the school schedule. The school day begins too late and ends too early for single working parents, but it works great for teachers and administrators. In most of the world, the school day is longer.

    So what happens? Parents have to pay for “latch-key” services.

    Back when my kids were in school, I ran through the calender and found school was out more than 30 days beyond summer vacation.

    Each of those days, a poor parent has to spend money on child care.

    Talk about the complete lack of compassion.

    Look at pensions.

    There are thousands of civil servants in Minnesota who have retired and collect full state, county or city pensions ….only to cross the street and acquire another pension at another state, county or city job.

    Ever heard of a quadruple dipper?

    That is a person who collects:

    1. Social Security.

    2. A civil service pension.

    3. Another civil service pension.

    4. A tax free 529 (401K for civil servants).

    So what is the right thing?

    We need to focus on the served and quite padding the pockets of the politically connected.

  • Bill

    Responding to Greg re Logis: there is something known as fixed and variable costs in providing services. A fixed cost is spread over more units, whereas a variable costs, combined with the number of users, is proportionate to users. It is perfectly understandable that smaller units of government would save by doing back end data handling together, whereas larger units would not. If you did explore this more, you would find that smaller units of government are usually less efficient than larger ones, and, evidenced by the fact that Pawlenty has spared smaller units over larger ones, this is evidence in itself. Smaller units typically do not band together on police, fire, sherriff, etc., nor do they do enough joint purchasing to achieve economies of scale. Pushing smaller units of government to consolidate would save everyone money, but that is not what the Pawlenty budget program does. So much for efficiency.

    Regarding locations of poor people in the Twin Cities, and available housing for poor people, I would direct you to a group such as Person to Person which has identified the few sites there are in their efforts to deal with relocation of poor residents across the Twin Cities. Everyone reading this post knows the world, and the Twin Cities, and no one can convince me, or I suspect anyone else, of a different reality of the location of poor people and the availability of low income housing.

  • Bill

    Regarding the question of the right way to deal with the cost of handling poverty, it is for the state to assume the costs–and then reimburse the cities, counties or whatever government entity for providing services. It could be on a per capita basis. So if St. Paul has x poor people, and Chaska has y, and Wayzata has z, they each receive the same payment for providing services on a per person basis. But, we can’t pretend that cities don’t currently bear a disproportionate cost of providing these services and then cut local government assistance.

  • Bob Collins

    The question is not what is the right way of dealing with the costs of handling poverty. The question is what’s the right thing to do about poverty. It’s much more basic than the discussion which usually ends up as arguments.

    For example: Let’s suppose we get a Republican and a DFLer together and simply ask the question — what is a minimum standard of living you think is acceptable in Minnesota? Would they be able to answer that without a debate on how to achieve it?

    Or would they be able to discuss — without the political philosophy — a desired end result?

    In many ways, our state dialog begins at the wrong point, which is why it never accomplishes anything.

  • deminn

    For example, the progressive starting point for a discussion about the uniform system of state schools (as mandated by the constitution) whould go something like this. “What do we as a state consider a quality education” “How would we go about providing that uniformly throughout the state” “What would that cost” “Are we willing and able to afford that” “If not, how much are we willing and able to afford and how do we allocate that to ensure uniformity of opportunity across the state and state system of schools”.

    Try getting a legislatore to follow that line of reasonaing, and it’s their constitutionally mandated responsibility to do so, yet they continue to run like a hive of mite infested bees from their responsibility, even when you constitutionally mandate it.

    Isn’t there some sort of criminal culpability they should be charged with for acting as they have? I think there should be,a nd a monetary sanction on their sponsoring party organizations and personal resources.

  • JSmith

    Bob:

    We also have to be careful in the argument with generic and broad phrases like “basic services” (which I’m sure everyone agrees are needed if asked). What are “basic services” ? For a low income person in the city that might mean bus or train service (for example), but for a middle (particularly high-middle) income person in the far suburbs that might not matter to them at all. The two may have a completely different set of things they consider as basic services. I think this also ties into the argument somewhat.

  • Bob Collins

    Very good point.

  • GregS

    “It is perfectly understandable that smaller units of government would save by doing back end data handling together, whereas larger units would not. If you did explore this more, you would find that smaller units of government are usually less efficient than larger ones, and, evidenced by the fact that Pawlenty has spared smaller units over larger ones,”

    Sorry to disagree once more. While it is true that smaller units of government often save proportionately more by consolidation, it is also true that large units of government can save $10’s of millions by the same process.

    Buying half a $3 million regulation system still represents a $1.5 million savings even though that kind of chump change does not seem like much to the DFL of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

    Smaller cities are MUCH more efficient than large cities.

    I don’t think you understand LGA.

    Few suburbs or small cities receive LGA; which is why they are not affected by LGA cuts, or in your words “spared by Pawlenty”.

    Here is a classic example of small city efficiency.

    Bloomington has a volunteer fire department, as does almost all of the suburbs. On the other hand, Minneapolis or Saint Paul have full-time fire fighters.

    Now one can make the argument that Minneapolis or Saint Paul have tall building that require professional staff. Of course this would ignore the fact that most suburbs also have tall buildings. It also ignores the fact that most of Minneapolis or Saint Paul is made up of neighborhoods that could be serviced very well by volunteers.

    So the bottom line is: suburbs and small communities with volunteer fire department pay state taxes to subsidize a professional force in the inner-cities.

    That is a luxury that needs to be reconsidered.

  • GregS

    Much of what we expect as “basic service” is the product of a growing affluent society.

    We expect to always have more.

    We expect government to grow and take care of us as our needs and wants increase.

    But how do we deal with diminishing expectations?

    What can we expect from a government less able to meet our expectations? Like one that is deeply in debt and has no means of financing things that we view as entitlements?

  • JSmith

    I think that ignores the question. In fact it not only ignores the question but changes the argument. Worry about those questions after we define a minimum.

    Just like a household, once you have a minimum set of spending goals, you find ways to make it work. If you don’t have any idea what your target is though, you’ll either over-spend or under-spend.

    We need to define what the goals are for every day living, a minimum standard that we can all agree on, and then work out the details of achieving it. Bob already said this, but it makes sense. There’s no real argument unless you have a starting point.

  • jtb

    I agree with JSmith, and with Bob for the initial point he is trying to hammer. What is our goal? Once the parameters are outlined such as combining services or having volunteer services, we must ask if it is feasible or what is a feasible time table? It is easy to be critical looking from the outside, but a different story to implement the change from the inside (this goes for both public and private entities).

    Leadership, management must ask the initial question is what is our goal? Where do we want to see things going? Otherwise the organization (i.e. city, county, regional, state, national, even private) is just shooting in the dark with fractions going in this direction or that direction, which I believe is less productive then status quo.

  • GregS

    The problem is not setting goals, the problem is resolving the conflict between goals.

    For instance, here are two goals that commonly conflict in government:

    1) Use taxpayer funds both efficiently and affectively.

    2) Do not spend funds allocated for one purpose, on another.

    Now here is how the wheels fly off the wagon.

    In Minneapolis we spend $18,400 a year per child on K-12 education. Not that much less than the elite schools of Saint Paul Academy and Breck. Yet half the student drop out.

    You would think with all that cash we could provide one hell of an education, but we cannot.

    We cannot meet goal #1 because of goal #2.

    Most of that money is encumbered in specific budgets with dedicated funds for transportation, meals, special ed….etc. If an administrator has money left over in one pot, they cannot spend it on another purpose….

    So even if they do not need it, they usually find a way to spend it — on things that do nothing for children or the taxpayer.

    That is why it cost just as much to educate a drop-out in Minneapolis as a graduate of Breck.

    Pawlenty steered around this by unallotment.

    He simply mandated that alloted funds – be less.

    Not a bad idea.

    If the DFL really wanted to do something for children, taxpayers and the uninsured they could have given government at all levels (in the state) a two year allotment holiday.

    That would have been really fun to see.

  • Bob Collins

    “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” — Sen. Dave Durenberger

  • jtb

    I think those are two good goals to have, but they really do not say anything to me. I do think practices whether public or private want to become more efficient…of course, but what should become more efficient? Should it be a complete overhaul? That is what leadership should be putting together to have cohesive plan instead of trying to herd cats. Plus the public entities can not become too efficient on SOME parts of there process otherwise you could have a nuclear planted in your backyard without any public input.

    You can not just throw things out there without any discussion and expect it to work whether it in in a public or private organization. Everything bought up takes time, planning, and money to achieve and with public scrutiny. It does not mean they should not try though.

    Finally, SPA and Breck would have the same students as the public schools of Minneapolis instead of the higher class students, then you can start talking about comparing them…you are comparing apples and oranges.

  • GregS

    “Finally, SPA and Breck would have the same students as the public schools of Minneapolis instead of the higher class students, then you can start talking about comparing them…you are comparing apples and oranges.”

    Whoa, let’s not blame this on the kids!

    For years, the left has been caterwalling about “funding education”, and they sure cranked up the volume on this topic over the last year.

    Heck, this spring you couldn’t watch an hour of TV without being bombarded by Education Minnesota commercials howling about “MO MONEY, MO MONEY”

    Well, they got their money. In Minneapolis they got just as much money as Breck and SPA.

    The problem with education is not lack of money, it is lack on common sense when spending it.

    We need to start asking, “what is important?”

    Is keeping under-utilized schools open important?

    Is allowing senior teachers to flee with their experience to affluent part of town important?

    Is busing an affluent kid from Highland Park to the East Side important, or is increasing the number of days in school important?

    The problem is…..transportation funds are allocated and encumbered, so there is not downside in busing the rich kid. Pay increases are not allocated and not encumbered, so there is no way this will happen.

    We are talking about doing the simple, stupid things first, and it will be decades before government does them.

  • Mike M.

    Tim Pawlenty has worked tirelessly throughout his political career to ensure that the infrastructure of our state is completely destroyed. He has told us repeatedly that good economic times are a bad time to tax the rich. He has told us repeatedly that bad economic times are a bad time to tax the rich.

    Always remember: Ignorance leads straight to David.

  • GregS

    Tax the rich, tax the rich, it’s the outdated mantra of an outdated left.

    Somewhere around the middle of this decade, the wealth of pension funds and 401K’s exceeded that of the wealthy. The majority of capital is now in non-taxable investment funds.

    Unions alone hold 25% of the nation’s wealth.

    I am not affluent, far from it and I expect never to be rich, but I do not want to see the wealthy taxed at a higher rate.

    More revenue in lean times means higher levels of spending in good times and as the wealth of the nation tilts further and further in direction of my humble class, so too does the burden.

  • JSmith

    Actually, according to the WSJ, because wealthier people have the funds to pay someone to find all of the tax loopholes the actual amount of taxes paid in hasn’t changed over the years, despite increases and decreases in the tax rates.

    But that’s a different argument.

    Even in your argument about schools, you didn’t say what kind of education the kids were getting at each school (different test scores on different subjects, etc etc). You also didn’t site any data on the size of student body vs classroom capacity and number of staff.

    I actually went to private school during high school, and considering how small the school was (and the number of students) vs the number of staff (I honestly had classes with maybe 7 students, and my entire grade level had about 20 people) I had a massively different experience from people that went to public schools.

    Even when we talk about education, we should be setting a minimum goal for what is considered a “good” education, and then work out the targets for it. That’s a little tougher though because there’s many different philosophies on education, and many of them have merit.

    But then again that’s why we have a variety of school options.

  • Mike M.

    All the data, all the evidence, points to the fact that the gap between the wealthy and the poor has increased dramatically over the last forty years.

    Remember Tim Pawlenty’s mantra: In good times there is no reason to help the poor, the afflicted, the down-trodden. In bad times there is no reason to help the poor, the afflicted, the down-trodden. He likes to have it both ways.

    I sure see a lot of right-wingnuts here who are under the influence of Fox News and Boss Limbaugh.