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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 

DREAM...About Honest Leadership

Even (most of) the Republicans in our state made me proud today: the House Ways and Means committee voted 26-8 to pass out the Higher Education Omnibus Bill, which includes the DREAM (development, relief and education for alien minors) act. The provision will allow undocumented immigrants' kids to go to the U and other state schools at the same tuition rates that other Minnesotans pay. The bill passed despite Gov. Pawlenty rather strongly opposing DREAM, which MNCR took issue with. I really don't know how you can oppose this bill in good conscience: what are you supposed to do if you're the undocumented child of undocumented parents? They didn't come here by choice - they are here because their parents brought them. Once they graduate from high school, they're not going to go back to the country they were born in, a country they may not even remember. They're going to stay and live and work here, and it makes sense for everyone for them to have the opportunity to get a college education. What it comes down to is people who have lived in this state for years and years being unable to go to state schools, and that's just not right. It's not fair. With any luck, the bill will pass the full House with the provision intact and the Senate will pass it as well, and then Pawlenty will be put in an awkward position. One hopes he has the sense to sign the bill.

Also, the Senate is looking at taking another swing at the feetax, this time calling the thing what it is: a cigarette tax increase. This ought to be a no-brainer; if it made sense as a fee, it should make more, not less, sense as a tax, which wouldn't be in jeopardy of being ruled illegal. Unfortunately, Gov. Pawlenty wouldn't go for it.
"The governor does not support repassing the health impact fee as a tax," said Brian McClung, a spokesman for the governor. (emphasis mine)
Repassing? Does that mean that it was really a tax that we passed the first time?

The "health impact fee" was such a scam on the public. Gov. Pawlenty apparently is willing to raise what anyone else would call taxes, but he's not willing to take the heat for it. Where's the leadership, where's the honesty, where's the courage? Someone who actually, you know, governed would have called it a tax, and we would all have been better off for it. Instead, we're left with a legal battle for the integrity of the state's budget and a governor whose word we can no longer trust. The really sad part is that Gov. Pawlenty could have benefitted politically from doing the right thing. Dishonesty and a failure of leadership and nerve have come to define his administration.

UPDATE: Oops, link about the feetax added.

UPDATE 2: Obviously, the way I feel about the feetax thing is shared by others.

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