Minnesota Can Keep Pawlenty

Abysmal Record for Taxes, Schools, Protecting Kids Sets Bad Example for Wisconsin

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MILWAUKEE — Stay home, Governor Pawlenty. That’s the plea from One Wisconsin Now (OWN), as Pawlenty travels to Stevens Point to serve as the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Republican Convention on Friday.

“Since Pawlenty took office in 2002, Minnesota’s property taxes have skyrocketed, schools have struggled and roads have deteriorated,” said OWN Executive Director Scot Ross. “Just this week, he vetoed a bill that would have ensured baby toys didn’t have toxic chemicals in them. We don’t need this kind of guy to be held up as a leader for our state. Minnesota can keep him and his bad policies.”

Under Pawlenty, Minnesota Property Taxes Skyrocket: The average property tax on a Minnesota homestead is expected to increase by 71 percent from 2002 to 2008. Even after adjusting for inflation in the cost of government services, the increase is nearly 30 percent. In 2003, the Star Tribune editorialized that “Pawlenty tacitly acknowledges that his budget will compel local property tax increases …” [Sticker Shock, Minnesota 2020, 2/10/2008; Star Tribune, 3/30/03]

Under Pawlenty, Minnesota Schools Struggle: After adjusting for inflation, revenue for Minnesota public schools has dropped 4.4 percent since 2003, and a report by the state auditor released in June 2005 showed that between 2000 and 2004, class sizes in Minnesota increased. On the higher education front, Pawlenty has done damage as well. The average tuition and fees for Minnesota’s public two-year and four-year colleges and universities increased 33.4 percent under Pawlenty. In 2002, the average cost of tuition and fees (for state public universities and state public community colleges) was $4,235 per academic year, rising to $5,650 in 2005. [Schools Suffer Five Years of Financial Drought, Minnesota 2020, 1/10/2008; Legal Ledger, 6/23/05; Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Average Annual Resident Undergraduate Tuition & Required Fees, http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/tPg.cfm?pageID=812]

Under Pawlenty, Minnesota Roads Deteriorate: The state’s decision to build with borrowed money and expected federal funding has led to deteriorating roadways. Existing roads are now in their worst condition in decades, according to the state Department of Transportation. The agency’s cash balance dwindled from a $155 million surplus in 2002 to a deficit of $60 million before officials were legally required to get back in the black. According to the Star Tribune, tight finances are starting to delay highway construction, even on projects already underway. [Star Tribune, 7/4/06]

Pawlenty Vetoes Toxic Toy Bill: Pawlenty vetoed a bill that would have protected Minnesota’s children from toxic chemicals. The bill, the Public Health Omnibus bill (SF651) passed both house floors with wide margins last week (93-39 in the House and 45-20 in the Senate). Note: Pawlenty has line-item veto powers, so could have vetoed the provisions of the bill he didn’t like and kept this portion.

To learn more about how Pawlenty is causing problems in Minnesota, visit Alliance for a Better Minnesota at www.pawlentyofproblems.com.

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.