Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Plethora of conservative convictions, part one

A two part look at the conservative record of our state's CEO.

Believe it or not, some people think that Gov. Pawlenty does not have a conservative bone in his body. So, for your blogging pleasure, is a brief look at Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s conservative credentials from this session.

Gas Tax Veto

Before the fee, there was the veto. The veto of a 10-cent gas tax hike has been largely forgetten since the fee was introduced, but Pawlenty did veto a $7.8 billion tax increase that was authored by House Republicans and passed by House Republicans.

He warned them.

Over and over, Gov. Tim Pawlenty told legislators he would veto any tax increase that reached his desk.

They decided to test him anyway. The Senate on Wednesday voted to send him a bill increasing the tax on gasoline.

When it landed on his desk Thursday, Pawlenty kept his word. He promptly vetoed it.

But the veto means Minnesota won't have the $ 7.8 billion over 10 years that the bill would have generated for roads, buses and passenger trains.

(Source: “Governor vetoes 10-cent tax hike,” Pioneer Press, May 20, 2005)

Pro Life Accomplishments

The main point of this bill is to add further restrictions on abortion. There I said it. As long as abortions are legal, we need bills like this one that heap on restrictions and requirements as a way of lowering the number of abortions that do occur.

Some abortion-rights advocates charge that the new law is just another tool to discourage women from having an abortion.

Fischbach [MCCL executive director] doesn't deny that.

(Source: “Doctors ask questions about fetal pain bill,” Star Tribune, July 16, 2005)

And who can forget this?

The number of abortions performed in Minnesota dropped to a 30-year low last year, state health officials reported Tuesday. The annual total dropped below 14,000 for the first time since 1975.

Why did abortions in Minnesota hit a 30-year low?

No one is sure. It follows the national trend, but the report, by the Minnesota Department of Health, did not speculate.

Is the abortion rate dropping, too, or are there just fewer women of childbearing age?

The abortion rate also dropped to a 30-year low for Minnesota women. It's 11.6 per 1,000 women ages 15-44, down from the peak of 17.2 in 1980.

The "Woman's Right to Know Act" took effect last year, mandating that patients be told
It's too early to say, said Deputy Health Commissioner Doug Stang. "We can't make that outright assumption," he said, though he called the trend encouraging. The report says the information was offered by phone or in person to 15,859 patients inquiring about abortions last year.

(Source: “Minnesota hit 30-year low in abortions in ’04,” Star Tribune, July 13, 2005)

Education Reform

After fighting teacher unions and supporters of our failing schools, Pawlenty finally saw some much needed education reforms take hold. Most notable is Q-Comp, a merit based pay bonus for teachers.

The Q-Comp initiative, championed by Pawlenty, requires participating districts to come up with criteria for assessing teacher performance, using student achievement as one measurement. At least 60 percent of their raises would be tied to merit, a departure from the current practice of awarding pay increases on seniority and college credits earned.

(Source: “For schools, qualified relief over money increase,” Star Tribune, July 13, 2005)

Stay tuned for part two sometime tomorrow.


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