Saturday, May 14, 2005

Politicians Saying Dumb Things Department

The Minnesota DFL party thought it could score political points on Gov. Pawlenty via this press release (I've taken the liberty of reproducing it here because I couldn't find a permalink to it at the DFL website.):

Want a Minnesota Fishing License? You’ll Have to Call Tennessee. Pawlenty outsourcing Minnesota jobs.

While Governor Tim “Photo Op” Pawlenty travels north for the annual governor’s fishing opener, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party revealed that Pawlenty’s Department of Natural Resources has been exporting license sales to a call center in Tennessee. In repeated phone calls to the DNR licensing toll-free number – 888-MN-LICEN – calls were routed to a call center located in Tennessee, according to the operators reached.

According to the DNR’s website ( licenses for “hunting and fishing licenses, cross-country ski passes and snowmobile trail stickers, and . . . hunting lotteries” may be obtained through this service. A $3.50 “convenience fee” is levied on those who call the toll-free number to obtain a license.

Governor Pawlenty’s decision to export these Minnesota jobs to other states is a part of a large job loss problem during his time in office. Under Governor Pawlenty’s failed leadership Minnesota has fallen behind the national pace in job growth for the first time in several decades,” said DFL Party Chairman Mike Erlandson.

Minnesota, with 2.7 million workers, netted only 1,000 new jobs in the first quarter of 2005. This falls far short of the national average and even the Governor’s own employment projections, which would require 2,500 to 3,000 new jobs each month. Department of Employment and Economic Development reported that unemployment claims are up 13.3% over one year ago. [DEED News Release, 5/5/05]

Erlandson added, “Minnesotans love fishing and the opener, but we should not be misled by ‘Governor Photo Op’ that Minnesota is going in the right direction; under Pawlenty, it is not.”

There's only one problem with all this. It is factually challenged , as the linked article in the Strib (kudos to them for going against their instincts and highlighting dishonest DFL partisanship, for a change) points out:

<>Upon further review, though, the accusation about Pawlenty outsourcing fishing licenses may not hold much water.

The company, Automated License Systems, handled about 7,100 Minnesota DNR license transactions in 2004, representing less than one half of 1 percent of all licenses purchased through the DNR. About half of those transactions were for fishing licenses, and two-thirds of those were from out-of-state anglers.

DNR spokesman Mark LaBarbera said the contract was awarded six years ago under the Ventura administration and only after no Minnesota company stepped forward to bid on it.

Surely Mr. Erlandson, you can do better than that before your successor takes over... .

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