Will you survive the Pawlenty era?

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Minnesota is a wonderful state to live and raise a family. I am proud to be a Minnesotan. The world knows that Minnesota does the right thing for all of its citizens, especially those facing economic hardship and citizens with disabilities.  Under the leadership of Gov. Tim Pawlenty the world will be disappointed in our great state’s moral leadership. The governor has reached a new low point with his line-item veto of $381 million of General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) program in the health and human services bill.

The governor has killed a program that provides medical care to our poorest Minnesotans, persons with disabilities and individuals suffering from mental illness. More than 30,000 Minnesotans will be affected by this line-item veto, and in less than a year our governor will forsake our neighbors, our friends, those we care for, members of our churches, and our communities.

The Democrats in office found a way to keep GAMC for the poor by raising the state income tax for the wealthiest Minnesotans by $109 a year. What that means is that a family earning over $250,000 a year would have to pay an extra $2.10 in state income tax every week. $2.10 a week. Is that too much to ask our wealthiest Minnesotans to pay to make sure that the poorest Minnesotans can receive health care services and medications? In these economic times we must ask ourselves, will Gov. Pawlenty also forsake us in our greatest time of need?

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It is a dark day in Minnesota when the poor and disabled are forced to chose between food and necessary medical visits to their physician. As a result they will only be able to visit the doctor in life or death situations, and sadly by then it will be too late. Who will care for their families then? No one. They will slip into the depths of poverty beyond comprehension. It’s too bad that the governor feels that the poorest Minnesotans do not deserve to receive preventive health care. It is too bad for our state, our community, our churches and the families that must suffer the consequences of our governor’s actions.

Are you wondering what is next on the governor’s hit list? History and logic show that it will likely be an all-out assault on programs that help care for the elderly such as state funding for Nursing Homes and Group Homes, and on low-income individuals and families. Do you have 100 percent job security? Could you fall in that category someday? State funding for hospitals has already been talked about that the Albert Lea Medical Center may lose over $4.1 million in state funding over the next two years. ALMC is an essential part of our community; if that gets hit I doubt that we will be able to recover. How many people do you know that work there? Do you work there? Do you visit a physician there? Are you immune to the ramifications of Gov. Pawlenty’s cuts? Please make a stand for what is right and just before it is too late. Stand up for yourself, and stand up for those who cannot defend themselves! 

There is no doubt that Tim Pawlenty will leave his mark on the history of Minnesota, and it will be remembered as Minnesota’s dark ages.

Mike Lee

Albert Lea