Pawlenty: Deficit Neutral, Starting Now

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has wrangled with Democrats in the Minnesota state legislature this year to balance the state's budget, and now Pawlenty has proposed an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would effectively require state budgets to be deficit neutral, capping new spending in a given budget cycle at the level of revenue that the state took in during the previous cycle.

But the Minnesota Independent reports that Pawlenty has never submitted a budget proposal that would meet those guidelines. Which makes his proposal exactly that--a proposal for how things should be done in the future.

As a sidenote: the 2012 GOP presidential primary field, which Pawlenty may very well enter, seemingly demands credentials of fiscal conservatism from anyone who dare step in. Not that that's why Pawlenty is doing this--but it's worth noting that this amendment, as well as his budget record, will probably come up if his credentials are challenged.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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