Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sue Jeffers Responds to Pawlenty's Tuition Scheme

Posted by Craig Westover | 2:33 PM |  

Give Sue Jeffers her usual points for feistiness, but with a couple of minor missteps, she’s done a pretty good job tapping into conservative frustration.
Thursday, June 29th 2006

Promising a $112 million handout to the top 25% of high school graduates must make the current Governor feel pretty good. Helping high school kids to afford college is a nice idea, and Pawlenty says there’s so much money swirling around the state budget that the cost of this proposal is like "sofa change" in comparison. Which sofa is he going to dig the "change" out of this time?
Nice metaphor, but . . . .
Smokers, beer-drinkers, or fast-food consumers?
The governor said he was going to find the money in the budget, not necessarily create a new fee or tax. Doesn't matter where it comes from, somebody is going to get shafted -- maybe even someone that will be voting for the governor in November.
Are the taxpayers mere furniture for the governor to rummage around in when he wants to make an impulse buy? His idea might be generous, but it is not fiscally responsible. Our Governor has forgotten we have to earn the money before he can give it away. Like the Highway 62 project, this is another Pawlenty-check the state budget can’t cash.
True, but the Highway 62 project is not an “impulse buy.” It’s a legitimate government expenditure. A better connection is that creating new spending programs of questionable government responsibility isn’t fiscally responsible when necessary and legitimate government obligations go unfunded.
The proposal sidesteps important problems like high college tuition and high schools that don’t teach. The best way to make college more affordable is to lower it’s cost, for everyone.
Opps . . . That’s a question that begs to be asked. How can we lower college costs for everyone without subsidizing everyone? But the next line --
Rather than such a direct comprehensive approach, Pawlenty wants to subsidize the majors he thinks are important.
-- claries what Jeffers was getting at. And she’s right. Math and science are important, but it’s not up to government to pick and choose which majors are most important. Pawlenty’s choices are great, but how about a governor subsidizing “white guilt” majors. Jeffer’s drives home that point --
Giving kids an incentive to get good grades is a great idea, but that should be a parent’s job. Pawlenty has decided that Minnesota parents aren’t doing it right, and the State should get more involved in choosing our kids’ future.
Still not pulling punches --
Creating feel-good entitlements is a proven vote-getter, and the governor likes to feel good, like when he signed the new stadium bills saying, "It’ll just be a heck of a lot of fun." What’s fun for the governor costs us all more money. Free tuition is another election-year giveaway, which will amount to either another empty promise, or a tax hike.
Or robbing Peter to pay Paul. Give the governor his due -- he said this money could be found in the existing budget. The question for the governor is, if it can be found where it’s not needed, then why aren’t we looking for it and cutting it out now?
A politician who takes the taxpayer for granted and is willing to sacrifice personal freedom for an expanding government is always welcome in one of Minnesota's political parties. Perhaps Tim Pawlenty went to the wrong convention this summer.
Nice dig, but it makes a point as well. Democrats aren’t going to hold Pawlenty’s feet to the fire on this one, except maybe calling it an election ploy. State-paid tuition is something they would propose. Jeffers has her rough edges as a politician, but she's going to be good for the GOP like a dose of cod liver oil.

"Loyalty” means telling people when they are off course and not just going along for the ride.