Monday, July 25, 2005

Ron Carey on the DFL and Pawlenty

New Minnesota GOP Chair Ron Carey wrote a letter to the Star Tribune discussing the past legislative session.

Ron Carey: DFL forced shutdown to harm Pawlenty

It was brutal. It was frustrating. It went far longer than it should have.

Say what you will about the 2005 legislative session, when you look at the final results, it's clear that the only reason the DFL Senate forced a government shutdown was to embarrass Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The Democrats, emboldened by their electoral gains in 2004, felt that by holding Minnesota state government hostage they could enhance their chances for further gains in 2006.

Democrat legislative leaders are deeply mistaken if they walked away from this legislative session thinking they have accomplished that goal. Not only did Pawlenty and Republican legislators manage to overcome the Democrats' desperate and deceitful shutdown tactics, they also achieved many of the goals they laid out at the beginning of the session.

Republicans stopped the Democrats from passing a huge income-tax increase that would have given Minnesota the distinction of having the highest tax rate in the country -- higher than even Massachusetts. This session the DFL showed its true colors by proposing job-killing tax increases on individuals and businesses, ignoring the negative impact these increases have on our economy.

Over the last three years and two state budgets, the governor has successfully eliminated more than $5 billion of budget deficits -- and the Minnesota economy is on the rise. Despite the doom-and-gloom predictions of the DFL, tax collections are up and this year's revenue is 8 percent larger than last year's.

Republicans worked to control the unsustainable cost increases in health care and welfare spending that threaten to completely take over the state budget. Republicans made sure our state health care and welfare spending was more focused on those with the greatest needs. Even after slowing down the rate of human services spending from 19 percent to 15 percent over the last budget period, Minnesota continues to have the most generous programs in the Midwest.

Perhaps the single most important reform to come out of the 2005 session was the QComp proposal that gives school districts financial incentives to pay teachers based on student achievement, not just seniority.

The QComp merit pay initiative is the latest in an impressive string of vital education reforms proposed and supported by Republicans including open enrollment, charter schools and education tax credits.

Republicans also led the way with tough new penalties for sex offenders, including life in prison without parole and a new indeterminate life sentence that will keep offenders locked up as long as they remain dangerous.

It was Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, who spearheaded the push to restrict the sale of pseudophedrine and call for tougher penalties for those who sell or manufacture meth.

All of these accomplishments, and frankly much more, could have been finished during the regular session if the Democrats didn't shut down state government in an attempt to make Pawlenty look bad.

Fortunately Democrats overplayed their hand and showed Minnesotans the true nature of their extreme agenda and their lack of new ideas.

They want to raise taxes and force Minnesotans to live on less so that government can continue to grow even bigger. They want to kill education reforms that will help guarantee that every Minnesota child can receive a quality education. They are soft on crime. And they are willing to sacrifice the rights of individuals in order to expand the size and scope of government.

Ron Carey is state chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

(Source: Star Tribune, June 25, 2005)

I think Carey has just framed the issues that we will be focusing on in the 2006 elections.


At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

Need to learn to link, dude. This is good stuff. Don't make lazy readers (*cough* Me *cough*) have to search for the source.


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