Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


David Kruse is an agriculture analyst and trader who writes a column, "The Commstock Report" for the DTN network. He is an observer of public affairs and asked his Minnesota readers to comment on our Governor. Pawlenty is becoming more well known and has been tagged as a governor that does not raise taxes and as the guy who wants to defeat President Obama. Fred drew my attention to the fact that, "Commstock wants to know about Pawlenty!" I gave him an earful!

In my opinion Pawlenty is a politician in every sense of the word. He has a Teflon quality that serves him well. He appears to not be responsible for raising taxes, but the bottom line is that he does. My message to Kruse was, "I am a county commissioner and Pawlenty's politics (no new tax pledge) has dumped many problems on the backs of local units of government."

We are dependent on the gas tax to help fund our roads. The roads were falling apart, but (for years) we could not get a gas tax increase. So the Nicollet County Board of Commissioners bonded several million dollars to build 10 ton roads. The result is a tax increase.

Pawlenty is creative, he changed the words and implemented a tobacco fee to help balance the budget. This fee is a tax in disguise. This is a tax increase. He is holding back regular payments to schools, meaning some have to do short term borrowing. The result is a tax increase.

Eliminating the GAMC program meant increased cost for local hospitals and law enforcement. This is a tax increase.

Local units of government cut the fat (if there ever was any) years ago, they have cut the meat, and now there is only bone left. The result of Pawlenty's no new taxes is that local units of government have had to increase taxes in order to keep baseline level of services. Over 65% of our county budget is spent doing the work of the state at the county level. The state expects the work to be done (mandates) with fewer and fewer funds to contribute to the state/county partnership. (ps, Kruse used much of this information in a later column.)end


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