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Editorial: Nothing wrong with saving money

With a budget battle looming in the next few weeks, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made an announcement Tuesday that even Democratic rivals could appreciate.

Pawlenty, a Republican, shared the stage with Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, in outlining the initial steps of an effort to jointly save money. The collaboration, according to documents made available by Doyle's office, describe more than 80 projects that could save the states about $10 million each, the Associated Press reported.

The initiative received praise from Larry Pogemiller, Minnesota's Senate Majority Leader, who said the effort to team up was worthwhile regardless of the savings. That opinion wasn't necessarily shared by Wisconsin state Rep. Kitty Rhodes, who told the AP: "This is much more about making governments' life easier than it is focused on delivery of service to residents or making real people's lives more efficient."

Rhodes should be grateful that her state is part of what appears to be a historic collaborative effort. Minnesota and Wisconsin are competitors, of course, but they also apparently have redundancies that can be eliminated and services that can be consolidated. It should also be stressed that Tuesday's announcement detailed the first part of the team effort; in other words, work will continue to find additional ways to save.

Finally, let's note that Tuesday represented a Democrat and Republican joining together to announce ways to ease budgetary woes. Hmmm ... call us cynical, but it seems unlikely we'll see much more of that any time soon.