I can only surmise the Democrats in Minnesota knew the Senate override of Governor Pawlenty’s veto of the GAMC(General Assistance Medical Care) was a given. There seems to be a lot of “grass-roots” organizations busily working and lobbying to get the override vote done, but its still three votes short in the House. The problem with this picture is these organizations are primarily located in the Twin Cities and they don’t have the “bully pulpit” that a major player of a political party has. The GAMC is not a program for the Twin Cities only, it’s for the whole state. Pawlenty and the Republican leadership are trying to sell us on the idea of moving the 32,000 people who are enrolled in GAMC to the Minnesota Care program. The Minnesota Care program was set up to be an addendum or help to people who have health insurance, but just not enough or the right kinds of coverage. By throwing an additional 32,000 people into the system that are uninsured will tax that system beyond its capabilities and intentions. In other words, it’s a stupid proposal that simply did not have proper thought and research before the Governor proposed it.
If nothing is done, you put the emergency rooms in the position of being the primary health care provider for these 32,000 people! That will end up costing the state,i.e. the tax payers, much more money to maintain that program. By putting these people into the Minnesota Care program, that is going to cost countless dollars to convert a system designed to be a health insurance supplement program to a primary health insurance provider. Who’s going to pay for this?
What Governor Pawlenty and the Republican leadership have lost sight of is the fact that they are dealing with the very survival of these thousands of people. It almost seems they have become a statistic to them, and a real “burden” on them in their efforts to be heroes in the tax-cut wars. This is “B” as in “B” and “S” as in “S”. This is truly a portion of the big state picture that this Governor won’t address and unfortunately nobody from either side in the legislature will address. After two terms of Pawlenty and one term of Ventura, we have had twelve straight years of budget cuts. Most every function of state government has been slashed to the bone. Along with that, Pawlenty has gone nuts cutting state-wide taxes. Actually, from the perspective of “Sven Minnesota”, his total tax liability has not been reduced due to the transfer of taxation to other areas to compensate for lost state revenues. Keep in mind, Minnesotan’s tax bite has been reduced over many years, and on a scale balanced to compensate for inflation, we spent much less now than we did 40 years ago! Let’s look at some of what we as Minnesotans have lost.
Forty some years ago we enjoyed “the good life in Minnesota”. Minnesota annually ranked first in the United States in quality of living standards. Our medical care system was second to none. We had the longest life expectancy of all the states. We had the top rated public school system in America. We were considered a regional center and leader in the arts. We were leaders in corporate America in technology and friendly work places. Crime was virtually non-existent. And yes, we had bragging rights. I can remember reading a story when I was in college in the 1970’s about a nationwide poll that debunked the myth that Texans were the biggest braggarts in the country. Minnesotans were! So much for the staid old Scandinavian’s we’re supposed to be!
Back in the ’70’s Minnesota really was considered the best state to live in and do business in. What happened? Matt Entenza has a campaign ad on the radio that tells a very compelling story of his life growing up in Minnesota. The ad ends with Matt saying Minnesota’s progressive programs allowed him to rise out of his unfortunate childhood and go on to college and become a successful leader in his field. He goes on to say he now wants to return Minnesota to those kinds of programs. Imagine that, progress versus repress, a novel idea. Governor Wendell Anderson adorned the cover of Time magazine holding up a Northern Pike and bragging about the “good life in Minnesota”. I think we were the highest taxed state in the country then, yes, even higher than perennial top dog Connecticut. You can’t complain when you analyze the results of that “over-taxing” period. We were overall number one in the country in most every category of quality of life standards.
What the parties won’t say is this dirty little secret now in Minnesota. We don’t having a tax and spending problem, we have a revenue shortage problem. That’s right! We have cut the taxes back so far, we don’t have the funds to pay the bills any more. There is no more budget cutting to do that will make a difference in our budget deficit. You can’t draw blood from a stone! There needs to be a tax hike to start paying the bills, especially debt service and humanitarian services. Thus, GAMC can continue in its present state and purpose, if we can find a powerful leader to overturn the pinhead’s veto. As soon as that is accomplished, it’s sack up time for the democrats. You can’t run and hide any longer. Our cities are dying because LGA funding has been cut to the point of near elimination, our debt is mounting, and we can’t even fund basic human services anymore. Face it, the state needs an increase in revenues, and right now, it must come from an increase in taxes. Now that I’ve gotten you anti-government, anti-tax people ticked off at me, too bad. Sometimes the truth hurts and the truth is Minnesota has a revenue problem! Thank you.