"The State of Our State Is Challenged, But Our Spirit Is Resilient."
Governor Tim Pawlenty today delivered his final State of the State address to a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature.
With the state still in the shadow of a lingering recession and anticipating a difficult financial future, economic development and job creation were the cornerstones of the governor's speech. He urged the legislature to pass his Jobs Creation Bill, which will feature tax reductions for small businesses and corporations, tax credits for angel investors and research and development, and incentives for investment and small businesses. The governor also called on the legislature to reduce not just the levels of government spending, but the size of government itself in order to allow businesses to create new jobs for the state.
Other policy highlights from the address include a further streamlining of the environmental permitting process through executive order; a reform of teacher tenure based on teacher performance, not seniority; allowing Minnesotans to purchase health care insurance across state lines; and reform of both the MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance programs.
Democratic leadership responded with criticisms that this is a rehash of policies from the past seven years that are big on ideas but short on details. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Minneapolis) and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis) were especially dismayed that no specifics were provided on how to budget the state’s $1.2 billion deficit.
More information about the governor's address, including a full text PDF, is available here.
The governor plans to release his supplemental budget to the legislature on Monday, February 15. You will be able to access information on that proposal here.