Washington County Board Chairman Bill Pulkrabek is an outspoken fiscal conservative and a self-proclaimed fan of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
But even Pulkrabek spoke out about a frustration he has had with Pawlenty. It is one that many county and city officials often gripe about.
At a County Board meeting today, Pulkrabek said Pawlenty did not have much choice but to propose cutting state aid to cities and counties as part of his state budget-balancing plan. That proposal, released Monday, would cost Washington County $4.1 million — 75 percent — of the $5.5 million in state aid it expected to receive this year.
But, Pulkrabek said, those proposed spending cuts were not joined by a plan to reduce the number of state-mandated services counties must provide. That has been a problem for a number of years: Money to provide the services goes away, but the requirement to provide those services does not.
"I think Tim Pawlenty’s been an excellent governor," Pulkrabek said, but he added that Pawlenty could have done more in recent years to help cities and counties facing unfunded state mandates.
"I would have liked to have seen less of an adversarial role … with local governments," Pulkrabek said.