Editorial: Pawlenty veto hurts the needy

Published 8:46 am Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is Tim Pawlenty the governor of Minnesota or is he a candidate for president of the United States?

This legislative session, don’t count on the governor of Minnesota to make decisions based on what he perceives to be best for Minnesotans. Look for him to make decisions based on what will help his chances at getting in the White House.

Consider Pawlenty’s veto of General Assistance Medical Care. The action will remove 30,000 needy people from a state-supported health care plan. These are not the people who deserve to suffer so the state can balance its budget. General Assistance Medical Care covers adults with annual incomes of less than $8,000; many have chronic health problems, chemical addictions and mental illness.

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What a shame. There are many other budget areas from which to choose. Both Republicans and Democrats voted overwhelmingly to extend this plan for the poor, which is how the measure ended up waiting Pawlenty’s signature while he was cavorting in Washington, D.C.

Where is this man’s Christian obligation to the poor? Does his willingness to trample low-income families make him look good to the wealthy supporters of the Republican Party? We hope they find the veto reprehensible.

These are questions voters deserve to have answered coming into any election for national office. These aren’t questions of liberal or conservative. These are questions of decency.

It is now up to the state legislators to find the votes to override Pawlenty’s veto.

Thanks to the governor, St. Paul now has a showdown situation out of something that should have been ordinary legislative business.

Meanwhile, we hope the Republicans find a qualified presidential candidate.