Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Enough is ENOUGH already 

While I was traveling, Mark Brunswick has posted a story on the local government junkies saying they can't wait four months for their next fix.

When legislators will meet again in February, will they really pass a gas tax increase in an election year? Will the housing implosion by that time have dried up revenue that could have gone to property tax relief as the economy turns sour?

A property tax bill vetoed by Pawlenty would have given cities like Hibbing a 10.1 decrease in its tax levy. Without the tax bill it is facing a 9.9 percent increase. Minneapolis would have received over $13 million in new local government aid. St. Paul would have received more than $9 million.

Tom Kuntz, the mayor of Owatonna and President of the Coalition of Grater Minnesota Cities, said cities awaiting help for local government aid cannot wait. Local budgets are being finalized by the first of December and a special session is needed by mid-November, he said.

�If the economy turns sour they don�t have the dollars to work with, there�s no chance in heck of getting an increase in local government aid.�

Well that's the game right there, isn't it? The state government cannot, of course, run a deficit, so if they pass the spending bills right then and there, the state will have to make up the money with a tax increase in 2008. But that wouldn't be blamed as much on these local weasels officials. So get your fix while your dealer is still offering credit? Particularly when the governor has said in the past "we'll get you that LGA."

Governor Pawlenty, I suggest you go on a very long trip. Milan is beautiful; I have an osteria I can recommend that is cheap and pours a free negroni at the end of your meal. Come back in January, sir, have a great time. We'll keep an eye on things while you're gone.

UPDATE 9/20: Drew has some interesting speculation about a quiet move made by the DFL leadership during the special session that might increase pressure for a second special session.

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