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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pawlenty's State of the State

--posted by Tony Garcia on 3/09/2006

The clips I have heard from the Governor's State of the State speech were encouraging. I will read the text tonight and give more detailed comment later if needed.

For now I will give some of the things that I liked and hope Pawlenty will push. (Red for things I am wary of or disagree with, green for things I support.)
I ask that you pass the early childhood education initiatives I announced this week to help make sure our youngest get a better start in the education race.

We also need to make sure that more of our resources get where they matter most. Let's require that at least 70 percent of school funding actually reaches the classroom. [Note: I'm still unsure of this idea...more information will be welcomed.]

We should upgrade our school standards to require Algebra One by eighth grade and Algebra Two and Chemistry to graduate from high school. + 2

And while we're at it, let's bring a lesson from the game room into the classroom, by including digital literacy as part of our school standards so that our kids know how to access and use technology as a basic skill.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs provide the rigor and relevance we need to prepare our students for the future. But they're not available to most of them.

I'm proposing that we provide $7 million in financial incentives for at least ten pioneering districts to use AP or IB for all students, in all grades. - 2

Let's provide funding so up to five pioneering high schools can show the way by fundamentally overhauling their structure to focus on college preparedness or technical training that is relevant and rigorous for all students.

I've proposed school choice as an alternative for poor, failing or disabled children. The legislature should pass school choice as an alternative for at least our most disadvantaged students.
- 1
That was the education portion of the speech.

Next is health care.
Basic health insurance is available for less than $200 per month. We need to direct our HMOs and insurance companies to raise awareness and get more uninsured people to use these plans. + 2 We may also need to consider incentives or requirements for uninsured citizens to have health insurance coverage. - 1 [The "direct" companies was as far as I was comfortable with. The "incentives" I am against. If people are uninsured and do not feel strongly enough about it to explore their options I see no reason to pay the government to pay companies to promote those options.]

Let's also measure and pay for better health care outcomes. What gets measured and paid for, gets done.

We can start by focusing on chronic conditions like childhood obesity and diabetes, which are significant problems in our society.

There are clear best practice measurements for treating these diseases that will save lives and save money. We should begin to reward providers for meeting these performance measurements right away.

Today I'm directing the Department of Employee Relations to incorporate "pay for performance" into the state's health plan and will ask the Legislature to expand this approach to all public programs. [Who is paying whom?]

We must also control other health care costs. Every business can tell you how much they charge for their service. Health care providers should be able to do the same.

Last year, we required some health care providers to supply some cost information. Now it's time to require it from all providers and for more procedures.

We must also focus on reducing administrative costs in health care. - 2 [No, the government does not. Get the government out of the process and let the market take care of it.]

We need to help health care administration enter the 21st century. We need electronic medical records.

I am proposing a $12 million program to help small health care providers make the transition to an interconnected electronic medical record system so that medical errors are reduced and health care is improved. Today I am also challenging the providers and health care plans to match this amount so we can make progress more quickly. - 2 [Stop with the higher spending, will ya.]

Finally on the issue of health, Minnesota is recognized for our public health and emergency response systems. But as we face the threat of a worldwide bird flu pandemic, we need to be even better prepared. I propose we bolster our efforts with an immediate $10 million infusion of funds to further strengthen our defenses against this threat.
Then was the real dive in the speech...the environmental portion.
I am grateful for the recent efforts to reform the governance of the great outdoors and the use of the Environmental Trust Fund. Please pass these reforms this year. But let's also take the next step, and fund the development of a long-term, statewide strategic plan for conservation. -1 [Again, a "conservative" talking about more funding!]

I also urge you to pass a constitutional amendment to dedicate funding for conservation and clean water. - 1 Don't water it down, don't make it too broad. Just pass it. [Don't water it down? If you want to control the actual legislation go back to the legislature.]

So while we're waiting for the constitutional amendment to pass, let's make a $20 million investment, right now, for Clean Water Legacy funding. - 2

I also urge you to approve my bonding request for $200 million for conservation, the outdoors and parks. - 4

Likewise, let's pass my proposal to achieve a 90 percent reduction of mercury emissions to keep the air and water clean for our kids.

We can also help our environment, and gain economic advantage, by leading further innovation in renewable energy. The world demand for fossil fuels is exploding but the supply is flat. That's a big problem, which needs to be addressed.

Let's face it. Washington has been slow to lead on this issue. But we can't afford to wait for them. Let's lead the way and set a strategic goal of "25-by-25" - so that 25 percent of all types of our energy will come from renewable sources by 2025. Note: Did not take points away since I'm not certain exactly what this is...I am wary of if though coming from a big spender like what Pawlenty has become. [More spending!?]

To accomplish this goal, we need to make big progress with our cars.

Currently, most gas stations offer three octane levels. It's time we change one of those to E85. - 1 [Again, get the government out of fuels and let the market work.]

In 2004, I signed an executive order that requires the state to purchase renewable fuel vehicles. Today, I've signed an executive order to require state employees to actually use E85 in our state vehicles. [What, get the cars but not the gas? This is silly...what took so long?]
Finally, finanaces.
In a hyper-competitive economy, raising taxes is a bad strategy, especially in an already highly taxed state. + 2 Would have been more except the "health impact fee" proves he is not willing to actually hold the line against taxes anymore if it is not politically expedient.

Fortunately, we don't need to raise taxes. Our strong economy has generated double digit revenue increases this biennium. The best way to generate revenue is to keep our job providers growing. + 2 Would have been higher except I did not get the sense that he was actually connecting this and lower taxes. [And the best way to do that is with tax cuts.]

In strategic ways, we must reduce the burdens that government places on job providers and taxpayers in order to spur economic growth. + 2 I try not to assume connections between policy platforms to take off points and I will try not to assume those connections to add points. If he had said something directly about supply side economics the would have been a much bigger add-on

So, in this short session, let's focus on a few key priorities in this area.

Let's put a cap on property taxes. + 2 I like the idea of capping taxes, but property taxes assessed by the localities is EXACTLY where this should be. So, if he means a cap on the state's control on property taxes then MORE points here (does the state collect property taxes?). If he means on the localities portion of property taxes then a loss of points will come from here.

Let's accelerate the move toward a single sales factor corporate tax so we don't punish job creation and plant expansion in Minnesota. + 2

Let's encourage our dairy producers to innovate by passing a dairy investment tax credit. - 1

And here's a no-brainer: Let's eliminate the marriage penalty in our tax code. + 2

One of the most important roles of government is to protect its citizens. Sometimes that means protecting them from their own government. I urge us to come together to pass meaningful and responsible reforms to Minnesota's eminent domain laws. + 3 (though when politicians say "meaningful" there is usually "meaningless" legislation to follow)

Finally, let's not be afraid to debate and take action on issues which make some in this building nervous, but that are supported by most Minnesotans.

Let's walk the walk and hold ourselves more accountable by passing performance pay for politicians.

Let's encourage and welcome legal immigration, but make sure we're not looking the other way on immigration that's illegal. + 4

And let's make sure that courts can't throw out our defense of marriage laws in Minnesota, like they have in other states. Let's define marriage in our Constitution as being between a man and a woman. + 2
Yep, there's a lot of red in there...but there is a ton of green text as well. When I get the chance I will assess the speech from the scoreboard perspective.

********** UPDATE **********
I finally have gotten around to adding the scoreboard affects. To avoid confusion I used blue for all of them in the main text OF THIS POST ALONE. I come up with a total adjustment for this speech of + 8 bringing his score to a - 6.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume the JFK quote at the end will be in red, too...

March 10, 2006  

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