A failure to communicate


At the Capitol today, Governor Tim Pawlenty offered some changes to his position on the state budget.

According to the Associated Press, “the governor offered to cut his borrowing plan in half and to agree to a larger amount of deferred education spending that wouldn’t appear on the books during this budget period. He also said he would divert $250 million he wanted in a reserve account to the general budget.” (More via Polinaut)

The governor offered the suggestion “in the spirit of compromise” by sending a letter to legislative leaders.

Let’s look at the Capitol floor plan, again.


House leaders rejected the idea by posting it on Twitter.

From House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher:

Governor’s letter a compromise? Compromise in word only, doesn’t balance the budget. Not a responsible plan.

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich also used Twitter, but “retweeted” a reporter’s “tweet” to reject the idea:

Agreed. RT @sturdevant: Gov’s first end-of-session proposal is more of the same: loads of one-time money.

I don’t think the governor is going to see it on Twitter. He only posts about once a day. His latest one is pretty old:

Fishing opener banquet last night; Then to Rochester for daughter’s Vball tournament; mom’s day lunch; mowed grass and now cooking dinner.

Meanwhile, aides are standing by in the event further negotiations are needed.


  • Elizabeth T

    What am I missing? Why is there a floor plan of the capitol?

  • MR

    I think that Bob was trying to point out the absurdity of sending a letter when they all work in the same building. The governor can go upstairs, or invite the legislative leaders downstairs, if they want to talk.

  • I think sending it in writing has certain pluses. Both sides have evidence of exactly what he’s offered. The legislature can’t claim he’s offered less than he has and Pawlenty can’t claim he’s offered more. It actually helps maintain some transparency to the negotiating process.

  • Bob Collins

    What if everyone just went over to Alary’s for Happy Hour and hammered out a deal? I suppose I have to spell out the pigeon joke? It’s another form of potential communication to be employed before talking.

  • bsimon

    “The governor offered the suggestion “in the spirit of compromise” by sending a letter to legislative leaders.”

    My interpretation is that the Governor prefers to negotiate via the media, rather than directly with the legislators directly. He likely feels like his ‘no new taxes’ budget will receive more popular support than the DFL’s proposed tax increases – so he’s hoping to apply public pressure to the DFL to compromise on his terms. Politically speaking its a smart strategy; the Gov is far more media savvy than DFL leadership. Perhaps rather than twittering they might try publishing an open letter themselves, explaining why balancing the budget with borrowed money is fiscally irresponsible. Given the public’s renewed realization that borrowing isn’t free, they have a compelling argument to make.