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Political shenanigans: Don’t waste taxpayer money on theatrics

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
What we end up with is a race to the bottom of bad faith negotiating.

The following is an editorial from the Mankato Free Press.

Just when Minnesotans thought the DFL and GOP would finally get along and pass a compromise budget with something for everybody, the two sides snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory.

A new political imbroglio between Gov. Mark Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature threatens to saddle Minnesotans with legal costs and increase the degree of animosity that already exists.

Dayton and the Legislature agreed on a budget that offers reasonable compromises and keeps Minnesota government working for the people. For that, both sides deserve credit.

But a provision in the tax bill that removed funding from the Department of Revenue if Dayton didn’t sign the bill was ill-advised at best and deceptive at worst. Republicans argue that provision was in every draft of the bill Dayton and his team received and that Dayton could have objected to it far earlier in the process. Dayton claims his team didn’t see it, in part, because they got the bill too late to review. This claim is shaky as well.

So Dayton reacted, some say retaliated, by using his line-item veto power to cut funding for the Legislature itself, saying if the Legislature wants him to restore funding, they must renegotiate parts of the tax bill and some other provisions in other bills.

The Legislature is considering legal action. But law experts say the Legislature’s quid pro quo provision was likely unconstitutional. It can’t restrict the power the governor already retains or use financial coercion. Dayton’s veto would be a tougher case for lawyers to argue since a line item veto is perfectly legal.

So what we end up with is a race to the bottom of bad faith negotiating.

Dayton’s veto cannot be undone, so it’s hard to see how the problem can be solved without a special session. But with bad faith now part of the discourse, the special session certainly be contentious.

If the GOP sues Dayton over the veto, Dayton may well countersue for the “poison pill” provision. The only Minnesotans who gain will be the lawyers trying the case.

So it’s back to the drawing board.

A brief special session should not include renegotiating all the provisions every DFL constituency didn’t like about the education bill or the public safety bill.

Dayton and his team should have seen the quid pro quo provision and objected to it earlier. Republicans should have known it was not going to pass constitutional muster.

Both sides owe Minnesotans an apology for these political shenanigans. But more than that, they owe Minnesotans the effort to go back one more time and strike a reasonable compromise on the tax bill to get the Legislature funded and the government working.

Republished with permission.


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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/06/2017 - 01:37 pm.

    Dayton lost – get over it….

    Dayton lost the political game when it came to the budget. This is normal politics that the DFL and GOP practice on a regular basis. Nothing new here…

    However,now Dayton is trying to recapture is legacy and reputation having realized the implications of the Bills he signed.

    He does what any radical DFL type would currently do in this political climate – shut things down.

    This will clearly an attempt to endear himself the DFL base – the professional shut down activists – while also trying to rebuild his reputation.

    Dayton needs to realize he was defeated politically and will be shut down by the courts.

    It is amazing what this Governor will do in trying to rebuild his legacy. It is even more humorous listening to the DFL trying to defend this obvious obstruction by Dayton. If a GOP governor had done what Dayton did, there would be “shut down activist” in the streets protesting the GOP.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/07/2017 - 08:10 am.

      It Remains to be Seen

      Who wins and who loses this round,…

      but our “conservative” friends should not be surprised when,…

      after firing the opening salvo wherein they seek undue political advantage,…

      the governor, rather than running up the white flag of surrender,…

      which they themselves would NEVER do if the roles were reversed,…

      fires back.

      In the end, the Republican’s response amounts to nothing but,…

      political (and very expensive) whining:

      seeking to have the courts change the rules of the “game” which they THEMSELVES were taking advantage of,…

      in the middle of the sudden death overtime necessitated by their OWN actions.

  2. Submitted by Arthur Swenson on 06/07/2017 - 08:46 am.

    Divided government

    When voters elect a Governor from one party and a legislature from the other side to
    gain “balance,” this kind of political gamesmanship is often the result. When the legislative leadership includes some, like Speaker Daudt, who are more interested in scoring political points to advance their own careers than they are in creating workable policies for the whole state, this stuff is almost guaranteed.

    I take Governor Dayton at his word when he says provisions were slipped into the final version of bills when it was too late to do anything about it.

    I don’t understand why Speaker Daudt thinks this is a good strategy, but then neither do I understand why the Speaker thinks it is good strategy to preface his run for Governor by alienating the Metro Area with his attacks on Transit, pre-emption, and anything that doesn’t directly funnel cash to his zip code in Crown, Minnesota (unincorporated).

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