Friday, March 23, 2007

Minneapois Veterans Home Editorial, Startribune

The Strib has an excellent editorial today, on the Minneapolis Veterans Home.

Pawlenty and his tool McClung both expressed "Shock and Awe" at what is going on at the Veterans Home.
For years, veterans home nurses have complained to anyone who would listen about these working conditions, and the lousy staff morale and marginal patient care that resulted. In 2004, their union, the Minnesota Nurses Association, argued their case before state arbitrator Mario F. Bognanno.

On many points, Bognanno agreed with the nurses. But he sided with the state, in large measure because he accepted its plea of an "inability to pay." Many departments, including the veterans homes, Bognanno said, "have sustained severe budget cuts, increases in unfunded service obligations and downward pressures on revenues, all in the face of severe state budget deficits. ..."

But that inability to pay was artificial, created by legislators and the governor, Tim Pawlenty, who'd signed a "no new taxes" pledge. Back in the 1990s, when Pawlenty was majority leader in the House, state revenue was rolling in at a rate far in excess of state needs. Much of the bonanza was one-time money, meaning it would not recur, but that did not stop the Legislature and Gov. Jesse Ventura from enacting large, permanent tax cuts.

Those "no new tax" pledges sealed the collective fates Veterans, college students, and people in vulnerable communities.

Anyone watching the Veterans Home testimony in the Minnesota House this past January heard the pleas of nurses.

Taxes are what we pay to live in a civilized society. Gimmicks like "no new taxes" and the Tax Payers Bill of Rights are simply smokescreens to kill progressive programs that look out for and provide assistance to vulnerable communities and those in need.

Ask people in Colorado what the Tax Payers Bill of Rights did there.

College students from Colorado were at a Federal Higher Education conference (DC Summit) the past 3 years talking about the impact of TABOR on higher education. 40% tuition increases have put public higher education in jeopardy.

It's a sad state of affairs...

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