Political Notebook: Plenty of cuts expectedST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty warns Minnesotans that his budget plan will cut a lot of budgets.
By: Don Davis, South Washington County Bulletin
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty warns Minnesotans that his budget plan will cut a lot of budgets.
Democrats said they can accept some cuts, but still support a "balanced approach," which can be defined as a mix of cuts and tax increases.
Monday is the day when the real budget discussions begin because Republican Pawlenty then will release his proposals for adjusting the current two-year, $30 billion budget to plug a $1.2 billion deficit. He already has cut $2.7 billion.
"Our budget will protect veterans, it will protect the military, it will protect core public safety issues," he said, as well as public school classrooms.
However, all other budget areas will be at risk when he announces the changes he wants in the current two-year, $30 billion budget. Pawlenty says his entire budget-balancing effort will be by cuts.
"His budget proposal needs to be decisive," Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said. "It cannot be a dodge."
House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, has his doubts about Pawlenty's budget. "I'm still not convinced he can make those cuts."
Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said they hope to pass the budget fix in three pieces, starting with the easiest and working to the toughest cuts.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he is not interested in a long Minnesota goodbye, but his State of the State speech said otherwise.
Early in his speech, Pawlenty took a trip down memory lane in the form of giving tips to the next governor, including hair styling and speaking suggestions
"First," he said, "schedule a monthly haircut to manage your mullet."
Also, he added, "before you take the microphone at a Minnesota Wild game, carefully practice pronouncing the word 'puck.'"
Later in his speech, however, Pawlenty promised "to try to avoid" the long "Minnesota good-bye, where the guest announces they're leaving multiple times before they actually do. It can often start at a table, move to the front door, then the front yard and even move down the driveway, with multiple hugs along the way."
It is safe to assume that the State of the State speech was the table goodbye, with more to come.
Pay Bulls bills
Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, and Rep. Phil Sterner, DFL-Rosemount, have introduced bills to pay $10 million past due to the Minnesota National Guard 34th Infantry Division, known as the Red Bulls.
The bills call for the state to send about 2,500 military personnel checks that were due them from serving in the Iraqi war three years ago. Then, when the federal government comes through with the money, it would go to the state.
"The members of the Red Bull Division put their personal and family lives, their jobs and their careers on hold to serve our country," Sieben said. "About one-third of the Red Bull members coming home in July 2007 had no jobs to return to. Withholding their pay after they continued their service during a very bloody time in the Iraq war is a grave injustice."
“These men and women willingly faced hardship, uncertainty and personal sacrifice in order to serve their country,” said Sterner added. “We not only owe them our gratitude, we owe them what they’ve earned.”
Self court help
Minnesota's Appeals Court now provides free help to people who want to appeal district court actions.
The help is available at www.mncourts.gov and court officials say the site was designed for use by non-lawyers. It explains the appeals process.
“We hope Minnesotans considering filing an appeal will find our new self-help center a useful resource,” Chief Appeals Judge Edward Toussaint said.
The Minnesota Vikings' luck in the Capitol is no better than their luck getting to the Super Bowl.
One of the few proposals presented to build a new Vikings stadium, to replace the 30-year-old Metrodome, is not acceptable to many key policymakers.
A bill by Rep. Paul Kohls, R-Victoria, to give the Metrodome to the Vikings for $1 is going nowhere, legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. A gambling proposal due to be introduced within a couple of weeks could feature some Vikings funding.
As if about 30 Minnesota governor candidates are not enough, state Rep. Andrew Falk is wearing a "Benson for governor" button.
Who? It is not a new candidate, or button. It is Elmer Benson, the 24th governor, who served 1937 to 1939. The Appleton native was the second and last Farmer-Labor Party governor, before "Democratic" was added to the name.
Falk, DFL-Murdock, serves the Appleton area.
Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.