Tim Pawlenty on Budget & Economy
Republican MN Governor
A: Well, the US needs a growth target, and it needs to be an aggressive and bold growth target. I don't want the US' growth target to be anemic or lag like Barack Obama's. So, is the bar high? Yes. But do we need that growth to get out of this hole? You bet. But, there's anothe question here. Where is Barack Obama on these issues? You can't find his plans on some of the most pressing financial issues of our country. For example, where is Obama's plan on Social Security reform, Medicare reform, Medicaid reform? In fact, I'll offer a prize tonight to anybody in this auditorium or anyone watching on television: if you can find Obama's specific plan on any of those items, I will come to your house and cook you dinner. Or, if you prefer, I'll come to your house and mow your lawn
SANTORUM: I think we need a president who's optimistic, who has a pro-growth agenda. I'm not going to comment on 5% or 4%. What we need is an economy that's unshackled.
Q: [to Pawlenty]: Where's the proof that just cutting taxes will create jobs & grow the economy at 5%?
PAWLENTY: My plan involves a whole plan, not just cutting taxes. We're proposing to cut taxes, reduce regulation, speed up this pace of government, and to make sure that we have a pro-growth agenda. This president is a declinist. He views America as one of equals around the world. We're not the same as Portugal; we're not the same as Argentina. And this idea that we can't have 5% growth in America is hogwash. It's a defeatist attitude. If China can have 5% growth and Brazil can have 5% growth, then the US can have 5% growth. I don't accept this notion that we're going to be average or anemic.
A: Every budget during my time as governor was balanced. So, this idea that I left a deficit in Minnesota is not accurate. This two-year budget cycle ends in the black this summer. The two years after that is a projection, based on preposterous assumptions.
Q: But people talk about a projected deficit is because of $4 billion in borrowing you took from local school districts, which the state has to pay back.
A: Actually the deferral of those payments to schools was something I wanted to make permanent, but the legislature refused. They chose to do it one time. In this session, it looks like they are going to make them permanent.
[I felt] frustration, but leadership takes optimism. Not blind optimism. Informed optimism. I quickly began a whole new train of thought. "This isn't disaster; it's an opportunity, becaus it's going to force change. Positive change. Change that will finally--finally!--force state government to accept some fiscal responsibility".
Forcing fiscal responsibility on a government that had been overspending for forty years wouldn't be easy, of course, even in the face of financial disaster. I knew I had a powerful weapon in my arsenal. I had a platform that I had just successfully stood upon to win the election. A key plank in that platform was that I absolutely refused to raise taxes.
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