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It’s a Blogapalooza over the Minnesota budget deal


While we wait to see if The Deal ending The Shutdown passes the smell test among each side’s partisans, reaction to it continues to flow hot and heavy.

At “Hot Air,” Ed Morrissey says: “Republican legislative leaders are reviewing Dayton’s missive, but it’s an almost total capitulation. They will take the special session and the win. Lots of people drawing parallels between this and the national debate over the debt-ceiling limit. It might foreshadow an eventual Obama fold, but I’m not certain that it’s a great indicator. First, I think Dayton was counting on a lot more public outrage over the shutdown than it prompted.  The people who felt it most were his own allies in the public-employee unions. If the markets revolt over the debt-ceiling issue, there will be a lot of pressure on both sides to move. Second, Dayton isn’t exactly known for his intestinal fortitude anyway.”

At The Daily Kos, “non-profit Jim” writes: “In return for dropping his proposal to raise the tax rate of those Minnesotans who claim more than $1 million in income after deductions (about 7,700 people), Dayton received very little. The GOP agreed to drop social issues from its spending bills, and end its efforts to reduce government employment by 15 percent. … Republican leaders of the House and Senate said they had the votes to pass the bills. It’s very hard to find much silver lining in this one. It’s obviously good news for state workers who had been without a job for two weeks. And the bonding bill will undoubtedly be welcome news for construction workers who have been idled during the economic slowdown. But there’s nothing else for Democrats to cheer here. Voters have proven to have a very short and limited memory, as the Republican wave of 2010 proves. It’s unlikely this episode, ended by Dayton’s capitulation, will provide any boost for Democrats in next year’s elections.”

“Phoenix Woman” at Firedoglake says: “It took them several hours, but the Republican leadership decided that protecting the rich from more taxes was far more important than looking fiscally prudent or even gutting unions and pushing mandatory picture voter IDs. The details will have to be worked out, and this is still a tentative framework, but (assuming Zellers and Koch — or rather, their leaders Tony Sutton and his deputy Michael Brodkrob, who dictate every breath Zellers and Koch take — can get the rest of the GOP caucus to agree) the shutdown is very likely going to end soon. Think about it. They were so desperate to protect the rich that they actually agreed to dump ALL the Taliban legislation they’d been trying to push all session — the union-busting, the anti-stem-cell crap, the picture voter ID, all of it — along with any pretense that they were deficit hawks, just to keep Dayton from taxing the top .03% or 7,700 richest Minnesotans.”

Scott Johnson at Power Line for once does not take a shot at the Strib’s Rachel Stassen-Berger (directly), but does say: “The shutdown should end in a matter of days on terms that closely follow those Republicans offered on June 30 in response to an offer that Governor Dayton made and then withdrew. Speaking to House Majority Leader Matt Dean tonight, I was told that Democrats in the legislature are ‘ticked off and livid’ with the outcome. I offer the following tentative comments. There was no reason for the shutdown other than that Governor Dayton wanted it. Republicans wanted to be called back into session to pass lights on bills that would keep the government running while the parties continued to negotiate. The end of the shutdown on the agreed terms is not a victory for Dayton. It is a concession of defeat. Governor Dayton is a peculiar breed of cat. He is a recovering alcoholic. He is a victim of mental illness. He is highly medicated. He is erratic. He lacks executive skill or temperament. As a United States Senator he couldn’t even manage his own office without gross embarrassment. When Dayton wanted to defuse the personal issues lurking in the background of his gubernatorial candidacy, whom did he call on? Lori Sturdevant and the Star Tribune.” OK … Sturdevant, not Stassen-Berger … so almost the same shot.

Daniel Foster at The National Review writes a piece titled “GOP Wins Minnesota Shutdown Fight,” saying: “Can anyone think of a state in which raising taxes to balance the budget has won out over spending cuts? Even Democratic legislatures (New Jersey) and Democratic governors (New York) are passing austerity budgets. Shoot, even Illinois is more or less getting the message. It’ll be interesting to see if this steels the resolve of Republican leadership in Washington.”

Also in state, Gary Gross of “Let Freedom Ring” says: “I don’t have a problem with the removal of the so-called social issues from the budget bill. There’s plenty of time to debate those issues. I’m ok with removing Keith Downey’s 15 by 15 reform with one condition: that Rep. King Banaian’s HF2 priority-based budget reform legislation, including his Sunset Commission provision, be part of the final package. I’m ok with that because King’s bill does essentially what Rep. Downey’s bill does but does so with a department-by-department, agency-by-agency, one-piece-at-a-time approach. My bottom line is this: State government has been antiquated for a decade, if not longer. It needs to be dragged into the 21st Century, kicking and screaming if need be. Whether we reduce the size of the workforce through Rep. Downey’s legislation, which I think is great reform legislation, or whether we do it with King’s legislation isn’t my primary worry. How we achieve fundamental structural government reform isn’t as important as that we achieve fundamental structural government reform. If Gov. Dayton refuses to accept Rep. Downey’s legislation and Rep. Banaian’s legislation, then I’ve got serious reservations about Gov. Dayton’s proposal. … Hopefully, Gov. Dayton will accept those terms. If that happens, the GOP legislature will have accomplished a lot this session, including some fundamental reforms that are badly overdue.”

Out in the national mainstream, Justin Horwath of TIME explains to his readers: “In the deal, which leaders called a framework, Dayton and the Republicans tentatively agreed to close the deficit by delaying $700 million in payments to K-12 schools and using $700 million promised to the state from a settlement on a tobacco lawsuit. (The GOP, which last year swept Minnesota’s legislative bodies after promising voters to curb government growth, rejected any tax increases during negotiations, forcing Dayton to shelve a campaign promise to raise rates on the top 2% of earners, as well as his recent effort to raise taxes on 7,700 filers making more than $1 million a year.) The payment delays — essentially, an IOU issued by the state to its school system — have been painful but common for school districts in Minnesota. While the state promises to pay that money back to school districts, it won’t cover the interest costs incurred when those districts borrow money. ‘We’re like the bank for the state,’ says Grace Keliher, director of governmental relations for the Minnesota School Boards Association. ‘And it’s fascinating that the state doesn’t account for borrowing costs that we pay locally.’

The Rochester Post-Bulletin offers yet another editorial on the The Deal: “Listen carefully, and you should hear the unmistakable sound of a can being kicked down the road. OK, maybe you can’t really hear it, but trust us, it’s rolling and bumping along, courtesy of our do-nothing Legislature and a governor who lost his nerve. Honestly, after six months of debate, argument, so-called negotiation and the near-constant, ultimately pointless publicity tours, was this really the best we could do? A budget that is “balanced” by borrowing another $700 million from our schools and $700 million from future tobacco-settlement dollars?  That solution shouldn’t have required any lawmakers, just an accountant with a pocket calculator. That’s all that was achieved, after all — another budget that’s “balanced” through our elected officials’ willingness to employ creative mathematics, rather than actually doing the job we elected them to do. The deal reached Thursday is a sham, a lie, and our elected officials know it.” … Well, all right, then.

And on the state’s truly serious business … MPR’s Tim Nelson says: “The Minnesota Vikings say they’re ready to finalize a deal to build a new stadium in Arden Hills when Gov. Mark Dayton calls the Legislature into a special session. Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said that the team thinks it can resolve the funding and policy gaps that have idled stadium talks for weeks. ‘We’re very close to an agreement with state leaders on the Arden Hills package, and kind of stood down while this government shutdown went forward,’ Bagley said. ‘[Now] we think its time to move the stadium forward.’ “

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Ralf Wyman on 07/15/2011 - 02:47 pm.

    No no No NO Vikings stadium! Are these guys insane or just totally tin-ear deaf to what is happening around here?

    The rich dodged paying even close to their fair share in overall state tax while the middle bears the brunt – hello giant property tax increase 2012! – and there isn’t even ink yet drying, but one of the richest men in pro sports has his hand out for a combined $650 million from the public!

    Disgusting! Immoral! We are being lead by raging greedsters of so little stature and so much ego. Cripes.

  2. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 07/15/2011 - 03:08 pm.

    I’m surprised; I didn’t think my opinion of the viking’s front-office could go lower, but I underestimated them. Clearly, this is the ideal time to ask for state funds for a stadium: the only new revenue the repubs could find palatable was “borrowing” from our schools and more borrowing against future payments, so of course we should raise some taxes for the local franchise of a 10-billion dollar industry.

    Any republican that tries to explain how tax increases are great if they’re for a stadium, but worth shutting down the government over if they’re for anything else, should be laughed out of whatever room he or she is in.

  3. Submitted by will lynott on 07/15/2011 - 03:55 pm.

    Can’t believe I forgot this one:

    * Spending is going up by $1.4 billion more than the “not a penny more” nonsense. Wow. After months of chest-beating insistence that we would be spending “only what’s in the checkbook,” who “caved” on that one?

    The fact that they’re willing to borrow from the future to do that and thus protect at all costs their rich friends from having to pitch in with the rest of us only further diminshes them.

  4. Submitted by B Maginnis on 07/15/2011 - 04:53 pm.

    Will, poor Will.

    Drunk on that specail brand of Minnesota Socialist Kool Aid again.

    Besotted with the notion that somehow, other (“rich”) people should just pony up to cover the bills.

    Look, the past 40-50 years of failed liberal social policies have led us to this turning point.

    Pure and simple.

    There is no more “other’s people money” to pay for the non-producers who have taken over the country.

  5. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 07/15/2011 - 04:57 pm.

    I don’t know what time this Glean was written, but look at either liberal or conservative blogs, and a clear change took place between Dayton’s announcement and the end of the day. Liberals were angry and despairing, while conservatives were crowing. Today, liberals are realizing Dayton actually got quote a lot, while conservatives are angry as they realize that stopping a tax increase aside, they lost on everything. There’s no more 15% reduction in the state workforce, all the stripping of other people’s rights got stripped out, Dayton got his bonding bill, and the spending is at the last level he proposed.

    The long-term problem wasn’t fixed, the schools got shafted, and we’re spending our tobacco settlement money on interest. It’s not good, but it could be much worse. Here’s hoping more Republicans will wake up to what their taxophobia is doing to the state.

  6. Submitted by will lynott on 07/15/2011 - 07:38 pm.

    BD, poor BD.

    Besotted with the notion that it was good fiscal policy for Jesse “The Thin-Skinned Body” to piddle away the surplus he inherited, aided and abetted by tp, by foolishly slashing taxes and issuing nothingburger “jessechecks.”

    Jeez, man, wake up! What led us to this trainwreck is the decade that followed that disastrous period. Constant structural deficit. Desperate raids on one-time pots of money to balance it. Illegal unallotment when that ran out. Loss of the state’s credit rating as a result, with more to follow. Schools losing ground every year. No wonder tp fled the state to run for president (pause while I laugh myself sick).

    Not 50 years of liberal policies. What a laugh. We were doing quite well, thank you very much, until tp and Jesse Palooka came along. Our formerly exceptional state has been in the toilet ever since. Go ahead and deny it. The facts speak for themselves

    And the money? Don’t tell me there’s no more out there. There are 7700 residents in this state who clear $1 million a year after deductions. They’re the only ones not being asked to pitch in with the working poor and the middle class to resolve this deficit, and the amount our Governor asked of them after he made his own extensive budget cuts was a rounding error in their annual balance sheet.

    I notice your fact-free post illustrates your inability to counter the facts I presented. And you talk to ME about Kool-Aid?


  7. Submitted by Claire Lundgren on 07/15/2011 - 11:53 pm.

    I’m wondering if a lot of this partisan trashing would be avoided if it were writen that the caucus leaders had to be elected legislators. It MIGHT eliminate some of the shifty stuff going on….In my dreams..

  8. Submitted by Gregory Lang on 07/17/2011 - 03:32 pm.

    Schools might be wary of the state of MN “borrowing” money and promising to pay it back later. Decades back, in a budget crunch the state of MN “borrowed” $25 million from the PERA pension fund and never paid it back! PERA got some laws changed and court rulings making them semi-autonomous so the PERA pension funded couldn’t be plundered, err I mean “borrowed” from in the future.

    PERA was unaffected by the shutdown.

  9. Submitted by will lynott on 07/17/2011 - 07:46 pm.

    #9, I agree. We need to raise taxes on the rich in the next legislative session to pay back the debts tp incurred in his desperate efforts to “balance” his budgets “without raising taxes.” Except for property taxes, of course.

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