Pawlenty attacks bipartisan commission to end Minnesota government shutdown

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Tim Pawlenty blasted the bipartisan group established to help reach an agreement to end the Minnesota government shutdown, applauding Republicans for “sticking to their guns.”

The group was formed by former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, a Democrat. Carlson will not serve on the commission, which will be chaired by former state senator Steve Dille, a Republican, and former Democratic Farmer-Labor Party state representative and Carlson state finance commissioner Wayne Simoneau. (Huckabee’s daughter joins Pawlenty campaign)

“Walter Mondale ran for president against Ronald Reagan on a platform that called for higher taxes. Arne Carlson supported John Kerry, Barack Obama and other Democrats. It should surprise no one that they both support more spending and higher taxes in Minnesota,” said Pawlenty in a statement, echoing the common Republican sentiment that Carlson is not really a Republican.

“We did it the right way for the last eight years, with dramatically lower spending and tax cuts,” he continued. “I commend the Republicans in the Legislature for sticking to their guns, even when politicians of the past call for old-fashioned high tax and spend solutions.”

Pawlenty also took a moment to defend his own record, which some have called into question since the government was shut down. The current governor, Mark Dayton, and the legislature were unable to agree on a way to close the gaping budget deficit of just under $5 billion deficit; some have begun to wonder what role Pawlenty, the previous governor, might have played in creating that deficit.

“The last budget on my watch ended last week with a positive balance. The projected deficit for the upcoming two years is based on large projected spending increases, which I never would have allowed as governor. Minnesota government is shutdown because of Democrats’ insistence on Obama-esque solutions to increase spending and raise taxes,” Pawlenty said.

The Minnesota government shut down at midnight on Friday.