Budget hurts, but it's balancedMinnesotans have had a week to absorb the news of how Gov. Tim Pawlenty will fix the state budget.
By: R-E Editorial Board, The Republican Eagle
Minnesotans have had a week to absorb the news of how Gov. Tim Pawlenty will fix the state budget.
In our view, he did what he said he was going to do and what he needed to do. He cut department and agency budgets as well as used the unallotment process to delay or eliminate funding that also will affect counties, cities and schools.
Anyone who's followed state news in recent weeks knew major cuts were coming. People who listened to the governor's State of the State address in January and then compared his proposed state budget with those of the House and Senate in February shouldn't be terribly surprised how Pawlenty chose to balance the state's finances.
There was no guarantee Minnesotans would end up with a better budget had the governor opted to call a special session rather than make the cuts himself.
Such a session certainly would have bought House and Senate DFL leaders some time, but at taxpayers' expense. Remember, the House and Senate budget plans were further apart from one another's than they were from governor's original budget plan.
Had a special session failed, the governor still would have had to make cuts through line-item vetoes and unallotments by July 1, and he would have had $40,000 more to cut for every day the special session had lasted. That's what bringing lawmakers and support staff back to the Capitol costs.
Pawlenty made cuts across the board wherever possible. In total, his actions will reverse state government's growth, which had been clipping along at nearly double-digit figures for a long time, and will represent a 7 percent reduction from what most state agencies expected to receive. There's still growth in a few areas, there's just less growth than some folks wanted.
Some of the cuts are true cuts, of course. Those cuts will hurt and they will hurt some individuals more than others. That's a sad reality whenever state government trims any program let alone an entire budget, but it's especially true in a recession like we have now.
Now governments and state agencies must do the best they can with the state funding they'll receive.
The Minnesota Constitution requires a balanced budget. With the cuts, we'll have one —unpleasant as some people may find it.