Friday, July 29, 2011

A Budget Correction

Steve Chapman, a respected Chicago Tribune columnist, recently wrote a column praising Tim Pawlenty’s financial management as governor of Minnesota and declared that Pawlenty held the rate of annual spending growth “to less than 1.7 percent”.

That is not accurate.  Here are the final growth numbers from Governor Pawlenty’s office of Management and Budget (Minnesota historical spending growth).  

General Fund
2004-2005                  +5.6%
2006-2007                 +11.9%
2008-2009                  +7.5%

From the same office when you calculate all funds:

2004-2005                 +7.3%
2006-2007                 +8.4%
2008-2009                +11.0%

The state of Minnesota does not prepare annual budgets but rather operates on a 2 year cycle with the fiscal year ending on June 30th of each odd-numbered year.  The final audited budget numbers for Governor Pawlenty’s last budget (2009-2011) are not yet available.

Mr. Chapman may also want to read the annual reviews prepared by Moody’s and their criticism of the heavy borrowing which caused them to downgrade Minnesota’s credit rating under Governor Pawlenty.  Further, it should be noted that property taxes rose $2.5 billion under Governor Pawlenty compared  to $716 million for the prior eight years which was largely due to the shifts to local government.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday George

Years ago, my youngest daughter wrote a grade school paper on the early development of democracy in Greece.  What caught my attention was the part about citizen participation and the expectations of good citizenship.  The emphasis was on giving to the well being of the whole and intelligent participation in civic affairs.

In so many ways, George Pillsbury is Minnesota’s model citizen.  He is always there, always participating, always contributing.

Take a moment and revisit Frank Capra’s marvelous film It’s a Wonderful Life and then think about all the meaningful improvements we have made in Minnesota since the close of World War II.  We became a national showcase for our efforts in education, the arts, business civic participation, human rights, the environment, political governance, etc.  Simply put, Minnesota was recognized as the state that works.

Continuing as a part of this exercise start to think about the impact of George’s involvement.  He and his truly magnificent partner, Sally, have been part of virtually all facets of what defines our quality of life from endowing scholarships at the University of Minnesota to growing the arts.

A war veteran (marine officer during World War II), business leader, philanthropist, and State Senator, George Pillsbury has always represented the best in Minnesota.  And he does it with grace, intelligence, and a deep sense of decency.

George, thank you for being you.

Happy Birthday!

Susan and Arne

P.S.  Read Lorie Sturdevant’s recently released book entitled The Pillsbury’s of Minnesota.  It is very well done.

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