Friday, July 08, 2005

Rep. Wardlow refuses to accept responsibility

Wardlow says no blame for shutdown, blames anyhow and then ducks responsibility.
Here is my response followed by his original letter:

Dear Rep. Wardlow,
You neglected to say that you voted against suspending the rules so the House could even consider the "lights on" bill.

Your reasoning that a "lights on" bill would shortchange education is faulty. How urgent is giving education more money THIS WEEK? Last I checked, school is out. The urgent matter is keeping our state running. Shutting things down costs us MORE instead of less. The Democrats have made it clear that they want increased K-12 funding, so arguing that passing the lights on bill would ultimately mean less money for education is clearly a ruse.

There indeed is blame for all on this one. But you had an opportunity to avoid the crisis and voted to shut the government down. I'm incredibly disappointed in your action, and offended by your inability to accept the responsibility to do what you were elected to do.

On Jul 8, 2005, at 10:38 AM, wrote:
Comments from me in blue
Dear friends and neighbors,

For the first time in state history, Minnesota is experiencing a partial government shutdown. Legislators had been working day and night to avoid this situation, but an ideological battle is taking place that has both sides digging in.

I am disappointed that after six months of real work in committee hearings and House floor sessions our actions could not prevent a partial government shutdown. I am especially outraged at what took place as the shutdown deadline approached. Here are the facts (minus a few key ones), no blame (except by omitting key facts) and no personal opinion(and also no accepting any responsibility since I've left out some key facts).

House Speaker Steve Sviggum, House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, Senate Minority Leader Dick Day, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and Governor Pawlenty met all day on June 30, trying desperately to at least reach a handshake agreement to keep state government operating throug (sic) the July 4 weekend. To their credit, they reached a deal to keep
state parks open.

But late that night, with Democrats and Republicans only $150 million away from an agreement, and negotiations set to continue up until midnight, Senator Johnson adjourned the Senate and went home for the night - with hardly a single Senator in the chamber. (Of course Wardlow could have voted to keep the "lights on", but instead he voted no-- shutting down Minnesota government for the first time in history) His own party's members were unaware of what he was doing. That stopped any progress dead in its tracks. After the Senate adjourned, Governor Pawlenty took all offers off the table but he did relent and has continued negotiations.

By all accounts, compromise negotiations were progressing. According to Friday's Star Tribune, Governor Pawlenty gave in to the Senate's request that he pull his support for a Racino. If Racino were truly standing in the way of a compromise, as Senator Johnson said all week, I cannot understand why taking it off the table was not enough to at least effect the framework for a deal similar to the one they had on June 30th.

Everyone understood the need to compromise. Before they left, the Senate passed a two-year "lights on bill" that they say would have kept state government running until a compromise was reached. Instead, the bill would have let skyrocketing health care costs continue to increase unchecked, not funded our new road/transit projects, and left our schools short-changed. (Assuming of course that the Democrats were going to give up on K-12 education funding -- which is stupid since both sides want to spend money here.)

Here are my thoughts about what that bill would have done:

1. Removed all urgency and need from negotiations to reach a compromise. Given what we could not accomplish in 6 months, we would not have reached a budget with a two year safety net.
2. Drastically cut school spending. (How much would we be spending in the next month while a compromise was worked out? Isn't school out for the year?) We proposed giving schools a 4.5 percent funding increase each of the next two years. This "lights on bill" would have cut school spending by about 2 percent. As you know, that would be a disaster for schools.
3. The bill made no reforms to control health care spending. (The problem is not health care spending. The problem is health care is not affordable for all Minnesotans. Has Rep Wardlow even addressed that issue? Why is it suddenly a big deal for him now?) It does not fund treatment for children in foster care. It would not fund the statewide trauma system. And it did not fund a Cost of Living Increase for nursing home employees. None of these things are acceptable and passing this bill would have been fiscally irresponsible.

Please know that I will be here continuing to work on your behalf to come to a compromise that benefits all Minnesotans. We were able to get the previously mentioned jobs, agriculture and environmental bill passed before the shutdown, which saved about 6,000 jobs and kept the parks open for the Fourth. (But you had to "hold it" until you reached the park because Rep. Wardlow voted to shutdown the rest areas)

Starting the morning of the 4th of July, about 50 House members from both sides of the aisle have been meeting daily to discuss the issues and try to reach a compromise apart from Leadership and the Governor.

As a member of that group, I am pleased to report that we have been somewhat effective in that the Governor's people and Leadership have been watching us and some movement has been noticed. We met with a similar compromise group led by the senate yesterday and compared "notes" so to speak. We have budget items on paper that we could bring forward in the House to serve as a base to work from and vote on, possibly Friday or Monday. Health and Human Services are moving toward each other as well, which has happened before.

I am hoping that by Friday or Monday a deal may be struck between the Senate, the House and the Governor, but of course, that is not a guarantee.

Thank you and I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July weekend. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. You can e-mail me at or call me at (651) 296-4128.


Rep. Lynn D. Wardlow
District 38B
491 State Office Bldg.
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4128 (O)
651-296-3949 (FAX)


Blogger Trillin said...

Classic republican. Shift blame and take none yourself. Thats why we can't get anything done in this state.


By the way....I'm BACK!!!
And more pissed then ever

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

2:52 PM  

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