After all of Governor Pawlenty’s huffing and puffing, some of the major benefits from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act are coming in to full view for Minnesotans. The new budget forcast was released this morning and the big news, from MPR:
"For the next two fiscal years, the state is facing a $4.57 billion deficit. Finance officials said the deficit would have been nearly $6.4 billion without the federal stimulus money…The new deficit number will guide lawmakers for the remainder of the legislative session, as they try to come up with a plan to close the gap."
So let’s recap Pawlenty’s opposition to the Recovery and Reinvestment Act now that the dollars have started to flow. First, he flew around the state talking about the projects it funds and the jobs that it would create, but still put in a few quips about how he didn’t like it. Now, the stimulus money is closing the budget deficit by almost $2 billion, preventing what would be even more devastating cuts than what were looking at before. Not to mention that the hole could have been closed even more had he actually lobbied for Minnesota projects in the bill. Hmm… his opposition doesn’t really make sense.
That is until you consider our Governor’s notorious wandering eye. In order to keep his political hopes alive, and continue to out-poll stimulus supporter Charlie Crist in the uber-conservative voting, Pawlenty is going to try and have his cake and eat it too. He’s going to criticize the bill for spending money we don’t have, while doing the same thing in his own budget plan. He’s going to tout the all of the benefits of the bill but then still find a way to be against it, because the party of Rush Limbaugh will not tolerate any dissent.
It’s time for Tim Pawlenty to remember who he works for and who’s interests he needs to represent. Working Minnesotans are hurting and they need Governor Pawlenty to understand that. Tell him it’s time to get back to helping Minnesotans through these tough times and prepare us for the future, not just prepare himself for the kick-off to 2012 down in Iowa.