Governor Pawlenty has been stuck with a Democratic-controlled legislature that in more or less stereotypical fashion has been ignoring the fact that we’re in the middle of a very nasty recession; they’ve been trying to boost both taxes and spending, and Pawlenty kept telling them ‘no.’ So, the state legislature attempted to, as Kimberly Strassell put it, ‘run out the clock’ and put the governor in a position where he’d have to call a special session to get a spending bill that he wouldn’t be able to veto.
Alas for the Democrats: live by legislative maneuverings, die by them.
Upon receiving the last spending bill, [Pawlenty] announced that he would exercise the power of “unallotment,” which has been on the books since 1939 and which has been used four times. Under it, the governor is allowed to “unallot” (take away) any state spending for which there is no money to pay. Panicked, the DFL passed tax legislation to cover its blowout spending bills, 10 minutes before the session’s end. Too late. The governor said he’d veto the bill and would not be calling back the legislature to do any more mischief.
Mr. Pawlenty is now free to strip $2.7 billion from state spending to balance the budget. Tax hikes are dead.
(See also Hot Air.)
The Democrats are making the usual fake-populist sounds about blaming the governor for any cuts in spending – which would be a lot more impressive a threat if it wasn’t as inevitable as the sunrise – and the governor is remarkably and pleasantly uninterested in worrying about whether the Other Side is whining about him. What’s more important from Pawlenty’s point of view is that he now has the ability to not only halt spending in Minnesota, but reverse it. And he’s apparently willing to let the voters in Minnesota decide whether doing so was the right call.
Works for me. Good job, Governor Pawlenty.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.