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Editorial: Pawlenty, lawmakers face major challenge

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opinion Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Gov. Tim Pawlenty presented his final State of State address Thursday. Unfortunately, Minnesota is in far worse financial shape than when Pawlenty took office eight years ago.

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Certainly, it is not all Pawlenty's fault.

There is enough blame for the lack of leadership -- by both the governor and the Legislature -- in this state.

Minnesota has lacked significant leadership during the past eight years to make the tough decisions needed to right the state's financial ship. In fact, one of the premier credit-rating agencies said just that earlier this week. Moody's cited the governor's and state's reliance upon one-time financial solutions and emptying reserves when downgrading Minnesota's outlook to negative.

The governor and the Legislature must find a way to govern appropriately and make the tough decisions necessary in the current recessionary times.

Pawlenty again threw out a foolish suggestion -- as if to see if it would stick to the wall -- calling on the state to give the respective mayors "the accountability and full control" of the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts. This has not worked all that well in Boston, Chicago, New York or Washington, D.C. This state has priorities that are more important than this proposal.

The governor promised a new "Jobs Creation Bill," scheduled to be announced next week. The proposal supposedly will seek to cut corporate tax rates and offer some tax credits to create investment, development and research.

This proposal may be intriguing as small business in Minnesota could use some assistance. The state's corporate income tax remains one of the higher in the nation.

Pawlenty's financial stewardship claim remains uncertain. His budget unallotment decision has been ruled unconstitutional and he has appealed. The next state financial projection is due shortly and could be worse. The economy is not expected to rebound quickly. Balancing the state budget is not going to be an easy task.

While the governor and the Legislature's DFL leadership do not like each other very much, it is time that they both grow up. Together, they must learn to govern by partnership and compromise for the benefit of the state we all cherish.

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