Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

They Met Him Nearly All The Way, And He Still Went Back On His Word.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 5, 2007

The full text of a letter sent by the Speaker of the Minnesota House and Minnesota’s Senate Majority Leader to Smilin’ Tim Pawlenty, our very own Pharaoh of the Ten Plagues and the Hardened Heart:

September 4, 2007

Governor Tim Pawlenty

130 State Capitol

Saint Paul, MN 55155

Dear Governor Pawlenty:

Two days after the I35W bridge collapse, which you described as “a catastrophe of historic proportions,” you asked us to come together in a special session to pass a long term, comprehensive transportation package that included a gas tax, a bonding bill, and local government aid; we agreed. You suggested the focus be on transportation and helping local communities; we agreed. You asked that we do so in a short, one or two day session; we agreed (August 7 letter).

In order to format bills that would be to your liking, we asked for further detail in the August 7 letter, regarding which of your ideas you wanted included specifically on transportation. On August 10th, you responded; we agreed (August 17 letter).

Then came the floods in southeastern Minnesota. You asked us to meet again (August 21 letter) and told us that we needed to add flood relief to the agenda; we obviously agreed (August 22 letter).

You proposed a five cent gas tax on August 30th, which you admit would only build one “medium-sized road or bridge”. In the same Pioneer Press article, you also said you would like to see more borrowing for transportation and less spending on “social services, healthcare welfare and the like, which the government pays a boatload for and is going up like a rocket”. We do not agree that we should drag the human service discussion into the special session. You also said that it had to be temporary and offset by an income tax decrease. This provides no new money for bridges.

It is time to stop the word games. It is unfortunate that you are unable to act decisively and comprehensively to the transportation challenge, either due to philosophy or politics. However, we agree the emergency needs from the bridge collapse and the flooding remain and must be dealt with immediately. It is our understanding that there is over $370 million cash on the bottom line to deal with these issues; there is no need to burden a future generation with more borrowing.

Therefore, we would ask that you call a special session for Tuesday, September 11th, to deal only with cash flow for reconstruction of the I35W bridge and a flood relief package. We would expect that a special session would end no later than Wednesday, September 12th , for the start of Rosh Hashanah. Please provide proposed legislative language that you would like considered by Thursday, September 6th. Committees will meet Friday, and if necessary Monday, to finalize a package.

While we remain committed to a comprehensive transportation package, meaningful property tax relief, local government aid and a bonding bill, we have absolutely no interest in putting special session legislation on your desk that you feel compelled to veto. If there are other items that you want us to consider in a special session, please provide specific written legislation; we are sure we can match it up with something legislators are interested in doing at this time.


Margaret Anderson Kelliher Lawrence J. Pogemiller

Speaker of the House Senate Majority Leader

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