Minnesota’s government is shutting down amid a fight over — what else — raising taxes, but former governor Tim Pawlenty couldn’t be happier. In fact, he wishes his own shutdown standoff in 2005 had lasted even longer.
“I think it was nine days (of government shutdown) at that time, and I think we could have gotten a better deal if we had allowed that to continue for a while,” Pawlenty told reporters Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport, according to Politico.
In a parallel to Congress’ current budget battle, Democratic Governor Mark Dayton wants to close the state’s $5 billion deficit in part with higher income taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents while the Republican legislature wants only cuts.
Pawlenty told reporters on Thursday that Republicans needed to stand their ground.
“There’s going to be a variety of near-term impacts, but the longer-term goal is what is most important here,” Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty’s own shutdown ended when the governor agreed to increase revenue with new fees on cigarettes and he’s taken heat from anti-tax groups for the policy in the Republican primary.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.