The Cost of No New Taxes, Part 6. Learn to Love the Snow

Like this Christmas snow? Get used to it. Snuggle up with it. Name it. Buy it a magazine subscription. It’s going to stay awhile.

Snow removal budgets have been cut in Minneapolis. Side streets (which is where we all live, right, so they’re not side streets, they’re HOME) will be slower to be plowed, and piles of plowed snow on street corners will be removed more slowly, if at all. Good luck walking. Or seeing oncoming traffic at intersections.

I used to joke, when Lisa lived in St. Paul and I visited, that St. Paul’s snow-removal program was called Spring.

Not so funny now.

Steve Brandt of the StarTribune tells us that Minneapolis cut its snow-removal budget by a quarter million bucks this year, and by $1.15 million for 2010. “Minneapolis made its snow-removal cuts after Gov. Tim Pawlenty twice cut aid to cities to help balance the state budget.”

And there’s smilin’ Tim, in the Dec. 28 Newsweek, “The interview issue — people who matter on what matters most.” The subhead of the TPaucity interview is: “He doesn’t have Sarah Palin’s pizzazz or Mitt Romney’s money. But the governor of Minnesota may be a shrewd Republican bet in 2012.”

Because Pawlenty ignores the cost of not being responsibly courageous enough to adequately fund government’s role in providing for the common good. Not having the balls to ask us all to pay our share. Because Pawlenty panders to the “you can have it all for free” American mentality, or lack of mentation.

Newsweek’s Howard Fineman asks, with Minnesota’s big budget shortfall, would Pawlenty consider tax increases? No, the Guv says, “Government has to tighten its belt just like average families do.” Fineman: “But is a no-new-taxes pledge still possible in times of massive budget deficits?” TPaw, proudly, smilingly: “Yes. We’ve showed it’s possible in Minnesota, where we have balanced the budget every year without raising taxes despite the projected shortfalls.” No followup from Fineman. None.

Credentials burnished, Pawlenty goes on to answer Fineman’s next questions, about the federal budget and war. Pawlenty says there should be a federal balanced-budget amendment that would require reductions in spending except on “key programs such as the military, veterans and public safety.” Hmm, public safety — like snow plowing maybe?

Fineman lets Pawlenty spew his fairy tale unchallenged. We’ve balanced the budget in Minnesota — let’s hear it Howard, the logical followup question any first-year journalism student would know to ask: AT WHAT COST?!?!?!?!?!?!?


I dropped an audio book off at the Washburn library last week. A guy was pulling on the front doors. Locked. Closed. Eleven a.m. on a weekday. Library. Closed. Guy shaking his head.

I couldn’t help myself. I said to him, a total stranger, politicolalia, “Thank the Republicans — ‘No New Taxes’ has consequences.”

— Bruce Benidt
(Photo from applications nice