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Event center will sink city, not loss of LGA

Gov. Pawlenty didn't try to negotiate a viable budget for Minnesota. "No" is not a negotiation. Good-faith negotiation involves compromise and give-and-take, and only the DFL was negotiating in the last budget round. Therefore, all the potentially devastating cuts to vital services and programs that will result will be laid at the governor's doorstep because those choices are entirely his own. His national political aspirations are harming our state.

However, as reported in the June 23 Pioneer about the City Council work session, city councilors and the mayor blame only Gov. Pawlenty for the looming 15 to 31 percent tax increase facing the city (even a 31 percent tax hike may be a low estimate since the mayor and council didn't account for how they will pay for capital expenditures that have been delayed, parks and trails funds that will run out, future employee pay and benefits increases, start-up costs for the Bemidji Regional Event Center, and ongoing deficits generated by the BREC).

Their blaming the governor is spin. It's disingenuous. The largest part of the looming shortfall for Bemidji is due to the BREC. They knew about all these expenses and yet they chose to go ahead without ever answering the questions about how they would pay for it. The state's financial woes have been evident for a long time, and Governor Pawlenty has said all along that he wouldn't approve any tax increases. This entire budget mess has been foretold for months. They are going to have to impose massive tax increases to cover their massive spending spree, and that is their entire fault.

Think of it like this: If I know my hours are going to be cut at work and my income is going to drop, and I go on a spending spree with a credit card anyway, who should I blame when I go bankrupt - the employer who cut my hours or myself for spending money I knew I didn't have? Mayor? Council? We deserve better than this.

William Smith