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Minnesota’s transparency forecast is overcast and gloomy

After a session of posturing and partisan barbs, the important decisions in Minnesota are getting made behind closed doors.

When the session is about to expire, we put three guys in a room to decide the budget for all of us.
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Whatever happened to transparency?

For all the political rhetoric that goes on about the public’s right to know, we sure have the seeming necessity for a lot of secrets.

We have a legislative session that starts in January. We have several months of partisan barbs and a lot of posturing and then when the session is about to expire, we put three guys in a room to decide the budget for all of us.

And how can the two sides be this far apart, this late? What was the point of holding all those hearings and all those sessions, only to end up with stances that could have been predicted 2 years ago?

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All of this secrecy extends to the press. It always happens. As they start the “behind closed doors” sessions, they tell us that dueling press conferences are not productive. We just can’t talk to the press anymore. Well, here’s a suggestion: talk substance and not political talking points. Decide that your purpose for coming in front of a microphone is for information, not bashing the other side.

Divided government? It’s a joke. Republicans and Democrats use each other to delay and divide; to use government for political purposes. They say that we, the people, are involved — but it’s a lie. They use polling data only when it fits their current agenda. They ignore us when we don’t agree with them. They cloud the question to get the result they really want.

And don’t forget special interests. For all of that closed door secrecy, it is amazing how the groups that matter get the first trial balloons that move toward agreements.

I know I should be used to all of this by now. It hasn’t changed in years and gets worse after each election. But it is irritating to watch government working behind locked doors — in the hands of fewer and fewer people as government workings grind on.

The sun doesn’t shine on these proceedings, and the forecast is overcast and gloomy for the foreseeable future.

This post was written by Dave Mindeman and originally published on mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog. Follow Dave on Twitter: @newtbuster.

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