House leaders lower the curtain on ‘Draz plan’ — and kibosh colorful political theater

Steve Drazkowski
Steve Drazkowski

The House Republican leadership this morning blocked what could have been some of the finest theater of the legislative session.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, who represents the right end of the Republican majority, was all set to play Gov. Mark Dayton today. The Mazeppa pol known as Draz was going to present the Dayton tax plan and then call for a vote on it.

“I wasn’t going to try to sell his plan,” Drazkowski said, “but I was going to present it and find out if anyone likes it?”

Had Drazkowski gone ahead with his plan, it surely would have set off a feisty floor fight.

DFLers might not have supported the Dayton plan, which calls for that fourth tax tier on the top wage earners in the state, but they would have been very upset with Draz and demanded that Republicans get their own budget house in order before attacking Dayton.

But cooler heads, atop the Republican caucus, pulled the curtain on what would have been a colorful show before it even opened.

“They asked me not to,” said Drazkowski, nodding toward the chair where House Speaker Kurt Zellers sits.

Drazkowski said that he was told by “leaders” that there have been negotiations going on with the governor’s office and that Drazkowski’s desire to call for a vote on the Dayton plan might blow up the negotiations.

The idea of introducing the Dayton plan came to Drazkowski after he was invited to a meeting of Republican leaders and the governor earlier this week.

Typically, Draz is not invited to these leadership meetings. It’s a good bet he was invited to this week’s session so that the Republican leaders could show the governor what they’re dealing with in their own caucus. Drazkowski’s very conservative views are shared by a substantial number of Republican legislators.

Anyhow, Drazkowski sat right across from the governor at the breakfast meeting. He was surprised by what he heard.

“You know,” Drazkowski said, “I really believe that he really believes that taxes need to be raised.”

It was suggested to Drazkowski that the governor probably believes taxes need to be raised nearly as much as Draz thinks they’re too high.

“Really?” Drazkowski said, clearly amazed.

But just before the session — and after conversation with his leaders — Drazkowski decided to pull back and see what happens in the next few days.

“But I’m not apologizing for what I am,” said Drazkowski, “and I’m not going to stop being me.”

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/13/2011 - 03:59 pm.

    Even though the governor ran on raising upper income taxes, mentioned it in every campaign appearance, put it in his budget, mentioned it every time he could since taking office, and has public opinion pols behind him, and has so far shown he means what he says, Drazkowski was surprised? How do people that thick get elected? Too bad it isn’t an isolated incident. Look at the how he tries to retort to Rep. Knuth going through the ample science on global warming by mentioning the snow piled in the Sears parking lot.

  2. Submitted by David Willard on 05/13/2011 - 07:57 pm.

    I wonder how small-minded the newLiberal/progs are at times and MinnPost is there to chronicle that. Thank you.

  3. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 05/14/2011 - 11:24 am.

    It is a symptom of self righteousness to first not even listen to those who might hold a different point of view and then be surprised to learn that the other conviction runs deep. This is accomplished by having no association with the other side and relying on rhetoric that is circular in its proof. It is found on both the far left and far right and is enforced in politics by an active involved fringe who hold power because others won’t get involved. It is unfortunate that we elect people from these extremes. We need the moderates to take back control of both parties.

  4. Submitted by will lynott on 05/14/2011 - 07:57 pm.

    Unfortunately, there are others who will give him a run for his money. Maybe they didn’t really expect to get elected, and now that they’re here, they figure to throw as much wingnut spaghetti at the wall as possible before the electorate comes to its senses in 2012. Nothing else really explains it.

  5. Submitted by Richard Molby on 05/15/2011 - 09:47 am.

    It’s a relief to finally see a responsible Party running things at the Capitol. They ran on fixing the economy, balancing the budget and getting Minnesotans back to work. And that was their primary focus, accomplishing all those things before tackling their social agenda of gay marriage banning, cutting off services to poor, chopping money for education… Wait, you mean they put their social agenda ahead of “fiscal responsibility?” And now this little man decides that torpedoing any chance of actually getting the job done – the job they were hired to actually do – is good for the state of Minnesota? What’s his campaign slogan; “Save the unborn but screw you?”

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