Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New York Times: G.O.P. Leader Wants to Be More Than Opposition

Published: April 15, 2009

ST. PAUL — Ask Tim Pawlenty, the Republican governor of Minnesota, to describe the road that will bring his party back to power, and he offers a quick response.

“Some of it will be the inevitable pendulum swinging back,” he said. “The Democrats, being in full control of the White House and Congress, will inevitably overplay their hands. It is the predictable thing that happens when you have total power. They will go too far, and there will be an inevitable reaction to that.”

With that, Mr. Pawlenty settled back in a chair in his office here the other afternoon, realizing the problem with a strategy that is ultimately only reactive: In order for the Republicans to succeed, the Democrats will have to fail. “Feeding off what they do wrong is not a strategy,” he said. “We may get some tailwind from that, but it can’t be the central tenet of our strategy.”

At a time when Republicans are struggling to find new leaders — and to lay out a case against a popular president with big ambitions — Mr. Pawlenty’s ruminations reflect the dimensions of his party’s challenge.

At 48, Mr. Pawlenty, who has never served in Washington, is a potential new face for the national Republican Party. He is at the center of what the party’s leaders see as a critical debate: how to recover when the party is viewed so unfavorably by much of the public. Mr. Pawlenty is the two-term Republican governor of a swing state; he was on the short list of possible running mates for Senator John McCain of Arizona last year; he is frequently mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2012.

Mr. Pawlenty said that he is far from making a decision about whether to run for president, or for that matter, re-election next year as governor. But it was clear in the course of the conversation that he is thinking about ways to take on the Democratic Party in general and Mr. Obama in particular.

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Associated Press: Republican governor blasts Obama budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — A possible White House contender in 2012 said in the GOP's Saturday address that President Barack Obama and the Democrats who run Congress should lower taxes and hold down spending.

"Let hardworking American families keep more of what they earn by cutting taxes and reining in spending," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn. "It's just common sense."

He said Democratic president's budget will require higher taxes and unfairly loads debt onto future generations. Pawlenty also said Obama has talked about tax relief, but his budget suggests he'll be raising taxes.

"I thought President Obama's proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses was a pretty good idea. And his pledge to lower taxes for middle-class Americans was something Republicans wholeheartedly supported," Pawlenty said. "But the budget that Congress is considering doesn't provide that tax relief."

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Star Tribune: Click online and see how state spends your money

Only a few clicks will enable taxpayers to get more details on how their dollars are being spent.

Last update: March 26, 2009 - 10:40 PM

Minnesota's checkbook register went online Thursday.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty unveiled a new website, titled TAP Minnesota -- -- that anyone with a computer can access to find out how much money the state is spending and where.

Figures for 2007-09 can be found by state agency, funding source or the vendor receiving the payment. Private data are omitted.

Special funds as well as the general fund can be searched, Pawlenty said. The site will be updated daily.

The governor said he hopes that taxpayers will use it to learn more about their government, scrutinize state spending and even wag a finger at profligate officials.

"We anticipate that this is going to be a powerful new tool," Pawlenty said at a Capitol news conference. "Taxpayers are paying the bills for government in Minnesota, and we think they should have a chance to look at the checkbook register and see where all this money is going in a great amount of detail, and be able to do that on a user-friendly, online, anytime basis."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Star Tribune: Pawlenty unveils highway projects financed by stimulus funds

Last update: February 25, 2009 - 10:30 AM

Gov. Tim Pawlenty this morning unveiled a list of 60 transportation projects in outstate Minnesota worth an estimated $180 million that will be financed by money from the federal stimulus bill.

Minnesota is expected to receive more than $596 million for state and local highway and transit projects over the next two years as a result of the federal legislation.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the outstate transportation projects will create approximately 5,000 jobs. Projects in the Twin Cities metro area will be announced in March.

The projects announced today include concrete rehabilitation on Interstate 94 near Monticello, repaving Highway 75 north of Ortonville and concrete replacement work on stretches of Interstate 90 in southern Minnesota.

The most expensive project, costing $18 million, entails rehabilitating Hwy. 53 north of Duluth.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pioneer Press: Minnesota, Wisconsin looking to help each other save

By Bill Salisbury

Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle today signed an agreement to share services in order to cut costs and help both states cope with big budget deficits.

The pact directs agency heads in both states to identify possible areas of cooperation that would cut costs and provide services more efficiently. Minnesota faces a $4.8 billion budget shortfall over the next two years while Wisconsin has a $5.4 billion projected deficit.

During a press conference at the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul, Pawlenty, a Republican who initiated the idea, called the agreement a "unique partnership" that has not been tried by other states.

Pawlenty didn't know how much the two states would save but said it would be "millions of dollars and maybe more."

Doyle, a Democrat, said it was an "enormously important opportunity" for both states. Wisconsin and Minnesota are similar in many ways, he said, and both states need to find ways to cut government spending during the current recession.

How would it work? Here's one example: The two states combined buy more than 600 tons of road salt every winter. Pawlenty said they could save nearly $1 million by bulk purchasing.

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