Pawlenty’s brilliant ideas

January 1st, 2006

Are the ghosts of chickens past coming home to roost?

Chickens Outside 1.JPG

When Lori Sturdevant looked at great state initiatives in 2005, and identifying the movers and shakers of those initiatives, it wasn’t a positive view that first got her attention:

Sorry, politicians, but my guess is that it’s none of you. (Come to think of it, the 2005 statehouse crew might not mind the omission. Quite a few legislators and one governor are already trying to fog voters’ recollection of the partial government shutdown last July, and of the legal mess they made with their tobacco “fee.”)

Does Sturdevant remember her paper’s endorsement in the House 25B race?

I hope you all remember this “tobacco fee” was one of Rep. Ray Cox’s pet bills this session. Here’s the blog post from when he introduced that bill, February 16, 2005. It was H.F. 981. Here’s the text of HF 981.

Here’s Ray’s damage control post of Dec. 22, 2005
And the day before, Dec. 21, 2005, where he says:

As the author of the Health Mitigation Fee I couldnâ??t disagree more with the courtâ??s ruling on this issue. I believe the legislature has the right to pass laws in an effort to manage our state. I do not feel future legislatureâ??s should be bound by an agreement struck between an Attorney General and some private companies.

Oh well… we’ll see what the Supremes think…

And then there’s Pawlenty’s immigration campaign… sigh…

Time for calm talk about immigration from the STrib:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty opened this box recently, pulled out a piece of the puzzle called “cost to taxpayers,” and triggered a nasty and divisive start to what really needs to be a civil and careful conversation. The sloppy and polarizing nature of his administration’s Dec. 8 report on illegal immigration — it completely omitted the economic contributions of immigrants, for example, and ignored the work of the state’s own demographer — is inexplicable. If it was an accident, it’s embarrassing. If it was deliberate, it’s inexcusable.

Here are the STrib’s editors’ suggestions on how to turn this into a positive discussion:

â?¢ Bring employers to the table. Economist Bruce Corrie of Concordia University estimates that more than 1,000 Minnesota companies in 69 counties employ undocumented workers. Some actually use recruiters to attract immigrant workers from other states. The immigrant flow won’t dry up unless the jobs do, and Minnesotans should discuss the pros and cons for industries such as food processing, construction and hospitality.

â?¢ Stamp out the ugly myth that immigrants come here for welfare, not work. The governor’s own report shows that 80 to 90 percent of undocumented immigrant adults in Minnesota are working. It also shows that they are more likely to work and less likely to receive public assistance than native-born Minnesotans. These findings are consistent with U.S. Census data and research by nonpartisan groups such as the Urban Institute. Minnesotans shouldn’t condone violations of immigration law, but they shouldn’t confuse a lack of documents with a lack of work ethic.

â?¢ Ask local officials — especially educators and law enforcement authorities — what tools they need.

â?¢ Point out that Minnesota is almost certainly a net winner from immigration, legal and illegal. Every credible national study shows that immigrants, even undocumented immigrants, make a net contribution to the economy because they create new businesses, pay taxes and fill jobs that would not otherwise exist. Immigration can cost money in the short run — typically to school districts and hospitals — but research suggests that the only net losers are cities and states with big immigrant clusters, which does not include Minnesota. The challenge is to repair immigration policy without jeopardizing the gains from immigration.

But let’s make sure the public doesn’t forget how this discussion got its ugly start…

… and wouldn’tcha know, I spouted off the other day and pounded out some steaming invective and lo and behold they printed my LTE Friday, so I hear, but of course it’s not included in the online letters! grrrrrrrrrr… Here I write thoughtful stuff all the time, but ever since my 2/9/95 one predicting the dry cask alternate site, they’ll only print my rants. Go figure.

Leave a Reply