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.

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