Sunday, May 31, 2009

You’ve got to walk that Lonesome Valley

Sometimes, you have to walk it by yourself. Governor Pepsodent is finding that out:

In a sign that wounds remain raw after a bruising legislative session, only a handful of lawmakers have formally responded to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's request for ideas to help him balance the state budget under his controversial use of the so-called unallotment process.

More than a week after Pawlenty sent a letter to legislators asking that they respond by Friday, only 13 of the state's 201 lawmakers had written back. Just eight of 133 DFLers had replied as of Friday, suggesting that many are troubled by the Republican governor's bold move to unilaterally make cuts to balance the budget and seem content to leave the choices -- and the political consequences -- to him. [Note: this means that a total of five Republicans have put their shoulder to the wheel.]

The governor also put up a website soliciting suggestions from the public; he did get some suggestions there. Some of them are brilliant:

Since his administration created a website a week ago where citizens can send budget-balancing ideas, Pawlenty has talked publicly about the many people who have responded. As of Friday, according to a spokesman, more than 1,600 e-mails had been received -- and have included suggestions that Pawlenty reconsider state-authorized gambling as a way to raise money and even think about opening liquor stores on Sundays. Opening liquor stores, one e-mail said, would "create tax revenue. Create jobs. Save gas, as you wouldn't believe the [Minnesota] cars that line up at [Wisconsin] border towns waiting for the off sale [stores] to open on Sundays."

Governor Pepsodent doesn’t seem to need the Legislature to create a budget, so why should he need one to expand gambling or revise liquor store regulation? Come to think about it, why not authorize the sale of really big fireworks, too? Why, we might even get some revenue from that from Wisconsin! Come on, Tim! You can do it!

Update: Do you know what only five Republicans giving suggestions means? The Republicans are as afraid of Pawlenty’s shenanigans as the DFLers are disgusted by them. Spot says, if you have a Republican legislator, you should contact him or her to see whether the legislator has offered advice to the guv on cuts.

Further update: Has everyone contacted his or her Republican legislator to find out what advice the legislator has given the governor about cuts? Republican House members, who helped sustain the governor’s vetoes, like Keith Downey, should be questioned especially closely.

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