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Letter: Bad news for rural Minnesota

With his unallotment announcement, Gov. Pawlenty made it official last week that Greater Minnesota will again have the honor of carrying a disproportionate portion of the burden in correcting the state budget deficit. Can we cope with this for the next few years? Of course we can, but it is not the next two years that are the real problem. How does this solve the long-term deficit problems of the state, deal with the crisis in health care costs and access, improve education, and reform the tax system and so on?

The result of the unallotment failing to deal with the long-term deficit problem of the state is a 2011 deficit projected to be between $5 billion and $7 billion! There won't be any federal stimulus money to cushion the impact like this year, as that was a one-time event. The economy is projected to recover very slowly, so unlike previous economic downturns, growth will not solve the problem. All of the tax shifts, gimmicks and rainy day funds will be gone. The huge deficit arrives as the census redraws the political map in Minnesota with the political power concentrated in the urban corridor from St. Cloud to Rochester. Greater Minnesota, for all practical purposes, will politically fall off the face of the earth in 2011.

With their ideology and actions, Gov. Pawlenty and his allies make it likely that Greater Minnesota will continue to enjoy the honor of occupying the bottom rung of the economic ladder in Minnesota now and possibly indefinitely into the future. There can be no joy in Mudville over the direction unallotment will take us.

Dr. Dave Detert