During the state government shutdown, Senator Mike Parry was all about feelings, as those who follow episodes of the "The Emo Senator" know.
He cared so very much about laid-off state workers (except for that gardener guy at the governor's residence) that he called for Dayton to resign because the governor had no feelings for the suddenly unemployed.
But now that there's a budget agreement, Parry recommends stoicism. The Waseca County News reports in County, state discuss budget that the Emo Senator got all scornful at a meeting set up by Waseca County Commissioners, who invited Parry, Rep. Kory Kath, Rep. Tony Cornish and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont to discuss the shutdown and its fallout.
The paper reports the concerns county and city staff and electeds shared with the state legislators:
For Steve Peterson, Court Services director, his biggest concern is chemical dependency funding. The county is now required to provide 15 percent of the cost of chemical dependency treatment for indigent residents, he said.
“It will possibly curtail people from getting into treatment,” said Peterson. Overall, Waseca County loses $6,000 in County Program Aid and $200,000 from the elimination of the Market Value Homestead Credit program as the result of the state budget.
Waseca City Manager Crystal Prentice said she found the shutdown irritating but the final budget is “much more alarming.”
In the past four years, she said, the city of Waseca has lost $1,729,539 in state aids and credits. She asked the representatives what they can do to become change agents so they can compromise and produce balanced budgets that don’t hurt the people they are serving?
Les Tlougan, Waseca City Council member, said the new budget leaves a lot of people, cities and counties in the lurch. In Waseca, Local Government Aid accounts for 40 percent of the budget, he said. If the legislators feel Waseca can live at 60 percent of revenue, that means cuts in security, water, streets, and sewers, said Tlougan.
“If we raise taxes, some legislators say, ‘It’s your fault; you made the choice.’ Did we?” he said.
These are reasonable questions, but Parry was scornful of the lifestyles of those who need services:
“We’ll always have this problem unless we decide who needs money; we’re so anxious to give money away to make someone feel good,” said Parry.
“Take personal responsibility; take government out of people’s lives,” he said. “How do we change the lifestyles of those in the entitlement mentality?”
It's unclear from the article if Parry wanted poor drug addicts, county and city staff and officials or property taxpayers to feel bad. Or why taking away chemical dependency treatment will change lifestyles.
But perhaps they'll sort it out in Waseca County as government gets out of people's lives and residents take personal responsibility for security, streets and sewers.
Photo: Mike Parry, the emo senator from Waseca.