You Should Know: Five Facts About Tim Pawlenty

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Today kicks off the first of a week-long blog series leading up to next Monday’s New Hampshire Republican presidential debate. Each day, we’ll give you five things you should know about each of the Republican 2012ers.

Without further ado, meet presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty – a candidate whose calculated ambitions are matched only by his failed economic stewardship as governor of Minnesota.

Tim Pawlenty’s legacy for Minnesota is simple: economic and fiscal ruin. When he left office, working- and middle-class families were paying higher taxes, the budget had hit record deficits, and funding for schools had been slashed. 

Now, Tim Pawlenty’s agenda as a presidential candidate is just more of the same.

Here are five things you should know about Tim Pawlenty:

1) Under Governor Pawlenty, taxes increased for 90 percent of Minnesotans. During Tim Pawlenty’s tenure as Minnesota governor, taxes decreased for the wealthiest 10 percent and increased for 90 percent of middle and lower-income families. This shift in tax burden came as a result of local funding cuts enacted by Tim Pawlenty that prompted local governments to raise property taxes. (PoliGraph, MPR, 4/29/11)

2) Tim Pawlenty would sign the Republican budget that would end Medicare as we know it. When asked, Tim Pawlenty said that he supported a bill that would eliminate Medicare and double the out-of-pocket health care costs to seniors. (Washington Post, 5/26/2011)

3) Tim Pawlenty left Minnesota with a projected $6.2 billion budget deficit. Less than a year after leaving office, Minnesota was facing a $6.2 billion budget deficit, making Tim Pawlenty the first Minnesota governor in history to pass on such a massive shortfall. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 12/4/2010)

4) Despite his rhetoric, Tim Pawlenty relied on borrowing and the Recovery Act to try to fix the deficits he created. In an attempt to plug budget shortages, Tim Pawlenty withheld $700 million in funding from Minnesota state accounts, including state colleges and universities, as well as roughly $500 million in payments to K-12 schools. (Minnesota Post, 9/7/2010) And although he aggressively opposed the Recovery Act, “nearly one-third of Tim Pawlenty’s budget fix would rely on $387 million in federal stimulus money.” (Minnesota Star Tribune, 2/16/2010) 

5) As president, Tim Pawlenty would cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy – a policy nightmare that would explode the deficit and lead to program cuts across the board. Tim Pawlenty would provide a windfall payday to corporations and the wealthy, cutting corporate taxes by 20 percent and millionaires’ taxes by 10 percent – a prescription for higher deficits and fewer benefits.(Think Progress, 6/7/2010)

When Pawlenty steps onto the debate stage next Monday night, he's going to try to present himself as a smart policymaker and fiscal stalwart. With your help, we can show voters that's not the case. Make sure to share this with your networks on email, Twitter, and Facebook.