Thursday, June 05, 2008

A State in Decline

Minnesota's experiment with a no-new-taxes legislature and governor has been a notable failure. So says a report by Minnesota 2020, a non-partisan MN think tank (non-partisan in the legal sense; it is a lefty group):
Minnesota has slipped behind other states in employment and personal income in recent years as it spent less on education and other government programs, according to a report released Wednesday by a St. Paul think tank.

While the report stops short of blaming declining public spending solely for lower economic performance, it argues that the slippage refutes the claims of tax watchdogs that cutting taxes and spending would improve Minnesota's competitiveness.

"The economic experiment undertaken by the advocates of 'less government' and 'no new taxes' has been a failure," said Minnesota 2020 in its report, "Minnesota's Slip Toward Mediocrity: Less Investment, Less Return."
The Governor's spokesperson dismissed the report, but it's statistics are hard to refute. And there is one other hard fact that should make the governor's team be a bit more humble: collapsing bridges. Since the I35 bridge collapsed last year and Pawlenty's highly partisan transportation secretary was canned and replaced by a transportation professional, emergency bridge inspections have led to closings or restrictions on The Hwy. 61 bridge in Hastings, the Lowry Avenue bridge in Minneapolis, the Blatnik Bridge in Duluth and yesterday in Winona, the only bridge across the Mississippi to Wisconsin for miles around. The state of our bridges and transportation mess is not just the fault of Governor Pawlenty, it is also the fault of Representative Pawlenty and his party who for years prior to taking over the governor's mansion, peddled their no-taxes mantra and blocked needed spending on infrastructure. It remains very fitting that the Republican National Convention will be here this summer to enjoy the fruits of their failed policies.

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