Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wherein OurLeader Shows the First Hint of Feeling the Student's Pain

Mr Bonzo generally approves of Lori Sturdevant who is thoughtful and does her homework vis-a-vis ColdState politics. She seems a little too trusting of BigU's administration, but it is a very difficult situation to interpret and she has Mr. B.'s sympathy in trying to figure out who is on first. Mr. B. was pleasantly surprised that OurLeader is starting to realize that students should not be the ones paying for the transformation of BigU into GreatBigU.

Last update: February 11, 2007 – 12:22 AM

Columnist: The courage to do what needs to be done?

House DFLers are learning that without higher taxes, public services will stay pinched.

At 85 members strong (out of a possible 134), the new Minnesota House DFL majority is big. It remains to be seen whether it's brave.

"Fiscal prudence" (read no tax increase) has been the new majority's official watchword, so far. But plenty of nudges in a bolder direction have been coming at them in the three weeks since Gov. Tim Pawlenty released his skinny "no-new-taxes" budget proposal for 2008-09.

State Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, asked a good question. If the university needs more than the Republican governor proposes to allocate, "Where would you like us to get the money?"

[Ms. Hortman appears to be a sharp cookie and has previously appeared in the Periodic Table.]

Bruininks cleared his throat, carefully allowed that he was about to venture his own opinion rather than an officially sanctioned view, and said: "If it means, long term, that we have to put more and more of the cost of higher education on the backs of students, if it means long term that we've got to experience this kind of [financial] roller-coaster ride we've had for the past four years, you can raise my taxes."

There! He said it! And this is a very difficult thing for someone to say in the current political environment and in this state. Remember what happened to Walter Mondale when he proposed new taxes? Immediately such a statement conjures up all the old sound bites: "No new taxes!" "Tax and spend liberals !" etc., etc. ad nauseum.

It should also be noted that Mr. Pawlenty is jockeying for a vice-presidential [sic] slot on the Republican ticket and would make the perfect second banana. Young (relatively), attractive and a good family man complete with a "no new taxes" escutcheon that he hopes to keep unblemished.

You can't lose them all - Mr. B.

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