Yesterday I attended a luncheon with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. The event was organized by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and was held at the College City Beverage in Dundas. College City Beverage has a great training room in their new facility that doubles as an excellent gathering space for such an event.
There was a good crowd of area business owners at the event. A fine lunch was served to everyone. We heard from Governor Pawlenty for about 30 minutes. He outlined some of the challenges facing Minnesota with our $5 billion budget shortfall.
One of the most difficult areas is the health and human service division. It was projected to increase by roughly 20 percent…and that is on top of 22 percent in the previous biennium. That level of increase is very hard for the state to deal with. The Governor also expressed his support for setting priorities when the budget must be reduced. His budget proposal protects K-12 school, veterans and public safety from reductions. The Governor does not support across the board reductions in all divisions, a feature that he feels is simply mechanical and does not reflect Minnesota priorities.
After the Governor concluded his remarks there were time for several questions from the audience. The questions ranged from how to deal with the roller coaster budgets, to ‘green acres’ changes, and uses of local government aid.
It was great to hear directly from the Governor about these important issues and to know that he is working hard to support Minnesota’s businesses and job growth.