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Sunday, December 11, 2005

GOOSE, GANDER 

Our old buddy Nick Coleman takes aim at Gov. Pawlenty's "inflammatory report" on illegal immigrants (oops, sorry Nick, "undocumented aliens") in his column today. Amid the haze of his typical smarmy jerkiness, he actually makes some valid points. Some of them, however, may be a little too generalizable for his own good. Like this one:
The report says there are 80,000 "illegals" in Minnesota, more than in 20 other states. But Minnesota ranks 21st in population, so if we had our "fair share," we would have more than 29 other states. How, exactly, is there a crisis here?
Fair enough. But what if we apply this logic to Coleman's own pet "crisis," namely, the level of spending on public education in Minnesota? According to NEA data (Table 7, to be precise), Minnesota ranked 17th in the nation in total expenditures for K-12 public schools in both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 fiscal years. That means we spend more than 33 other states do. But Minnesota ranks 21st in population, so if we had our "fair share" of education spending, we would spend more than only 29 other states do. How, exactly, is there a crisis here?

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