The 2018 session of the Minnesota Legislature was a failure. But whose failure was it?

MinnPost photo by Erin Hinrichs
Gov. Mark Dayton said he regrets that many people in the state would have benefited from items in the bills won't get the help they need, he also said the Legislature left him no choice.

Gov. Mark Dayton did what he threatened to do. He just did it sooner than expected.

On Wednesday, just three days after receiving the two bills that contained most of the work product of the 2018 Minnesota legislative session — a tax conformity bill and an omnibus budget bill — the DFL governor announced that he had vetoed the measures.

“I said all this before,” Dayton said as he began his press conference to announce the move. His reasoning: Both bills were too big; they included policy that shouldn’t be in them; and they didn’t address his priorities in ways he wanted them addressed, in that the tax bill helped the rich more than the poor and that the Legislature’s response to the emergency school funding proposal Dayton had requested was a sham.

And while Dayton said he regrets that many people in the state who would have benefited from items in the bills won’t get the help they need, he also said the Legislature left him no choice. “This failure is their responsibility,” Dayton said. “I know they won’t take responsibility for it, but it’s theirs.”

Asked about Minnesotans who see this as a governmental failure, not just a legislative failure, Dayton, who is not seeking another term, quipped: “They don’t have to vote for me.”

He then said it is a failure of his and a failure of the Legislature before noting something he’s said before: that this session was worse than previous sessions that had similar political distribution of power. “Divided government has not worked well for Minnesota, but it’s worked better than it did this time.”

‘I’m embarrassed by this governor’

Republican leaders’ reaction to the vetoes was equal parts anger and surprise. “I’m angry. I’m deeply disappointed,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, who said he had a meeting scheduled later Wednesday to talk with Dayton.

“In the end, it feels impulsive. It feels vindictive. And it didn’t help anybody in Minnesota,” Gazelka said. “I was hoping he would take that extra time even to just let the emotions of this whole conflict settle down a bit. There’s a lot of punching and counterpunching. It is the way it happens in divided government. And then you get to the end and the dust settles and you sit back a little bit and you look at the bills and you look at who does this help and who does this hurt — not who wins and who loses.”

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said he was “extremely disappointed” in the governor’s decisions. “There are a lot of people who are going to be hurt by this,” Daudt said. “It’s a staggering list of people. I’m not even going to read it. I think everyone is going to ask why? I’m actually to the point where I’m embarrassed by this governor.”

Daudt said he would not ask Dayton to call a special session — something the governor has already ruled out — but said he’d show up if one is called. “The people who are hurt need to ask him,” Daudt said.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
House Speaker Kurt Daudt: “There are a lot of people who are going to be hurt by this.”

Daudt dismissed suggestions that House and Senate leaders forced Dayton’s hand by putting many provisions into just two bills. He said they’d tried to send the governor stand-alone bills, such as one that provided cash to private deputy registrars hurt by the failed computer system of the state licensing agency, MNLARS. That one was too small, Daudt said the Legislature was told, because it didn’t also include more money to fix the system.

Yes, Dayton had said it all before. Repeatedly. But driven either by politics or unbridled optimism, GOP leadership kept saying they thought that, in the end, the governor would sign them after all; that there was enough there that the governor liked. And Daudt and Gazelka repeated how they had removed dozens of items from both bills that Dayton wanted removed.

“In the end, part of it was about running out of time, and part of it was we wanted a bill that had so many good things in it — with a few minor policy provisions, when you look at them — that we thought he’d sign it,” Gazelka said.

“I really thought that when he looked at what was in these bills that he would sign them. But he didn’t look. He had his mind made up,” Daudt said.

Now, the only hope left for legislators to claim an accomplishment is the bonding bill, which pays for repairs and new construction for state, local and nonprofit facilities. Dayton said he will act on that and the other remaining bills by Friday.

Much more than budget and tax bills

The shorthand for the two bills Dayton vetoed — the budget and tax bills — contained much more than their name suggests. The budget measure, also known as the mega-omnibus bill, appropriated only about $150 million in new spending on top of the $46 billion two-year state budget adopted last year. Much of the bulk was the contents of dozens of policy bills that didn’t come to a vote separately but were set aside for inclusion in what became a 989-page, 3-inch thick document.

The tax conformity bill was intended to reconcile Minnesota’s income tax code with changes made in Congress late last year. Absent such changes, many state taxpayers will likely pay more, while tax filing will also be made more complex. But the bill contained more than just conformity measures, including many other tax-related provisions. After Dayton vetoed a nearly identical tax bill a week ago, the House and Senate GOP included their version of emergency school funding in the same bill.

Over the weekend, Dayton said he expected to take most of the 14 days allowed by the state Constitution to review the bills. That contributed to the surprise of Wednesday’s announcement. Dayton said the schedule changed because of a campaign by Republicans to build pressure from groups they said benefited from the bills.

Most of those gatherings were done in or around the Capitol. One, which was to feature disabled residents and their caregivers, was scheduled for later Wednesday.

“I noticed there was posturing going on outside about  how I could be persuaded,” Dayton said. “Legislators could have persuaded me last week if they’d been willing to engage in serious negotiations.”

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
MinnPost photo by Erin Hinrichs
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka: “I’m angry. I’m deeply disappointed.”

In addition to blaming Republicans, Dayton blamed politics. “This session was never about working out agreements with me,” he said. “It was about laying out a re-election template and the money to carry it out.”

In addition to blaming Dayton, Senate and House Republican leaders blamed politics. “Minnesotans will be hurt because he chose politics over people,” Daudt said. “The reality is the governor was never going to sign these bills.”  

So apparently it’s about politics. 

“That’s what he wanted to create in an election year, that somehow this session was a failure,” Daudt said.

So if both sides’ rhetoric is to be believed, neither the governor nor the GOP legislative leaders ever intended for anything of substance to be passed into law this session. It was all a rather long and expensive prelude to the fall campaign season, when a new governor will be elected and party control of the House will be decided.

‘This is not normal’

Reaction to Dayton’s session-gutting act depended almost exclusively on which political tribe one belonged to.

It was hard to find Republicans who would say that Republicans might have egged Dayton on by ladling so much  into two giant bills. The calculation was this year — as in past years — that the best way to GOP priorities signed was to combine them in a bill that contained stuff Dayton both wanted or needed.

The tax bill, for example, included cash and fund shifts to produce up to $225 million for school districts facing budget and staff cuts. (More detail on the school funding plan that Dayton dubbed “fake” is here.) Meanwhile, the mega-omnibus included money for opioid education and treatment; changes to the oversight of elder care facilities; money for deputy registrars; and money for school safety improvements.

If you want those items, the GOP seemed to be telling Dayton, sign both bills so we get some things we want.

Dayton has long complained about such tactics. But it has worked before, and recently. In 2017, he was forced to accept a passel of spending bills despite disliking much of what had been placed inside them. His resentment over the move was one of the motivations for his line-item veto of the Legislature’s own budget last year — and his demand that they’d need to rethink a half-dozen items he was especially unhappy with if they wanted to money back. It didn’t work out the way he wanted, even if Dayton did win the court battle over the legality of using the Legislature’s budget to pressure action.

It was just as hard — OK, impossible — to find Democrats who would say that the vetoes weren’t worth it, that they will deny Minnesotans of tax relief; force at least 50 school school districts to contemplate teacher layoffs; and deny people who care for the disabled a a pay raise.

“It’s Legislature 101,” said DFL Sen. Susan Kent at a St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce panel Wednesday. “If you want get your bill passed you’ve got to work with all the stakeholders …. We’ve all watched ‘School House Rock,’” we know how this works.”

“The governor made it very clear,” Kent continued. “He was not going to support the bills that carried things he was not okay with. Our Republican leaders had an opportunity to do things that could get passed, but they chose to take a different path.”

At the same panel, Rep. Matt Dean, a Dellwood Republican who was a candidate for governor before dropping out earlier this year, said the one job of the session was to make the tax fixes, which the government failed to do. “There’s one thing you can’t screw up and this is it. And we didn’t do it,” Dean said. “For that I would like to say I am sorry. And I am sick and tired of trying to pretend that this stuff is normal. Because this is not normal.”

Erin Hinrichs contributed to the reporting of this story.

Comments (61)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/24/2018 - 11:14 am.

    the election

    It was clear enough to me that this legislature would be a failure on election night in 2016. Basically, I think the voters through their actions wanted government to take two years off.

  2. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/24/2018 - 11:30 am.

    The Governor

    Sent the legislature five letters during the session explaining why what they were trying to do would not be signed. With regards to the tax bill they passed before, they just released the bill with no requested changes.

    The GOP has been the one playing politics the entire session and Matt Dean confirmed it in the last paragraph. When a Republican criticizes his own party By saying what happened was not normal, that is very telling. The rudeness and nastiness of the GOP in this last session exceeded the previous three OK, there was no serious attempt to create by Pardison bill by saying what happened was not normal, that is very telling. The rudeness and nastiness of the GOP in this last session exceeded the previous three OK, there was no serious attempt to create by bipartisan bills and, indeed, that was their political calculation before the session started

  3. Submitted by Ken Bearman on 05/24/2018 - 11:46 am.

    The bills were unconstitutional

    The omnibus bills Gov. Dayton vetoed — HF 947 (Omnibus school aid and tax bill) and SF 3656 (Omnibus supplemental budget bill) — were both unconstitutional. They violated the requirement that a bill must deal with a single subject.

    The House and Senate leaders, Daudt and Gazelka, knew and know this. They could have sent single-subject bills to Dayton weeks or months ago. They should have done business the correct and constitutional way instead of the political way. (And the same goes when the situation is/was reversed.)

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/24/2018 - 12:29 pm.

    It’s all so much easier in a one party state…

    Hold meetings that don’t allow for different views…

    Don’t discuss options with opponents of the measure

    Make only token efforts to accomodate dissent.

    Assemble detailed bill provisions behind closed doors

    Incorporate the values of your favorite lobbyist.

    Mash all legislation into one unreadable “must-pass” last-minute bill.

    Don’t allow time for any review of the bill.

    Whip the party-line vote–that’s where one=party rule really helps !

    And then give it to the executive that has enough working digits to handle the pen to sign the legislation that has already been prepared (thanks, Grover Norquist !)

    Just what people fought and died for….

    The “shining city on the hill” looks more like the valley of swamps.

    Where is the self-respect ?

  5. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/24/2018 - 12:37 pm.

    Thrown Under the Mega-omnibus

    There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Congressional Reps not reading the entirety of the Affordable Care Act when it was passed. Did all of the GOP legislators vote for the 989 page bill in hopes of fining out what was in it? Did they read what they voted on?

    In any case, little is heard from GOP quarters on the ACA anymore, and what I really wonder is why they crammed so much into two bills. Why not just pass one bill per session?

  6. Submitted by David McCoy on 05/24/2018 - 01:24 pm.

    Mega-Omnibus

    It was mentioned in the article, that the GOP did send a stand-alone bill, and that that, too, was rejected by the governor.

    “Dayton said … that the tax bill helped the rich more than the poor….[And] … he regrets that many people in the state would have benefited from items in the bills won’t get the help they need….”

    So to make sure the 1% don’t benefit, screw the 99%. Thanks, Governor.

    • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 05/24/2018 - 04:18 pm.

      Single-subject bills

      “the GOP did send a stand-alone bill, and that that, too, was rejected by the governor.”

      Yes; one, a single bill that Dayton vetoed. There should have been a single-subject bill for every topic in each omnibus bill.

      Where was tax conformity? Where was distracted driving? Where was an opiods bill? …

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/25/2018 - 08:30 am.

      Oddly enough, that’s how it’s supposed to work. A single issue bill, passed and rejected with specific reasons.

      If it were working even better, a compromise between the legislature and govenor would have resulted in a signed bill.

      And if it was passed with the full knowledge of the impending veto, it should be seen as a purely political gesture, not genuine legislation.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/25/2018 - 09:29 am.

      You’re Welcome, I’m Sure

      The Governor has his own policy priorities, and he is given some limited constitutional means to carry them out. One of them is the veto.

      Instead of throwing a hissy fit about the bad, bad Governor being so mean and, like, totally vetoing those bills, the Republicans could have tried for a compromise (an agreement reached by mutual concessions, with “mutual” meaning from both sides, even if one of those sides is comprised of Republicans).

  7. Submitted by Tim Smith on 05/24/2018 - 02:40 pm.

    Dayton

    because the left has told us for years he alone fixed school funding and that is what good dems do.guess not. His annual tantrums, amongst other things, will not be missed.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 05/29/2018 - 04:23 pm.

      No, tantrums are only tolerated

      when they originate from the White House via tweet. Usually around five in the morning.

  8. Submitted by William Lindeke on 05/24/2018 - 03:00 pm.

    One bill to rule them all

    The trend towards packing all policy issues into one giant live-or-die bill (that nobody reads before they vote) is a terrible thing for sensible governance. It’s a direct shot to corruption.

  9. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 05/24/2018 - 03:31 pm.

    Republicans Need To Learn The Power Of The Veto!

    It seems to me the Republicans outmaneuvered Gov. Dayton the last two sessions and figured that they could do the same again this session. Thankfully, Gov. Dayton decided enough was enough and that if Republicans were going to send him bills filled with unrelated policy, tax, and appropriations that were not acceptable, he would veto them. Good for Gov. Dayton to take a hard line and not cave to Republican whimpering.

  10. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/24/2018 - 04:40 pm.

    Simplicity

    There are 5 possible outcomes: Win-Win, Lose-Lose, Win-Lose, Lose-Win, No Deal (7 habits 101. So when entering into a negotiation, one should always go for the win-win, if you put one party into the we win you lose position, they have no impetus to move forward with the deal, the better deal is no-deal, or Lose-Lose. So what we really have here, appears to be a No-Deal at the governemnt level, and a failure to properly govern the state, Lose-lose, at the political level.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/25/2018 - 08:33 am.

      I support the vetos

      I don’t actually think this is lose-lose. This Republican legislation contained a lot of really bad policy, promoted bad policy (i.e. all the unconstitutional lumping of unrelated stuff into one big giant bill), and failed to seriously ANY of the major issues Minnesotan’s face today. $10 million out of the general fund would not have made a dent in the opioid crises, and the pseudo-effort to protect the state nursing home residents required that the very people families suspect of neglect would have to agree to be monitored. Transportation spending that focused on NEW roads and bridges rather than transit and rehabilitation was likewise a huge step in the wrong direction that would have actually damaged the states infrastructure. These bills also codified the ongoing Republican attack on public education.

      I don’t actually think it makes sense to think in terms of winning or losing when we talk or think about effective government. These kinds of sports or competition analogies create false dichotomies wherein those who get what they “want” are winners under the assumption that voters fall into bipolar “tribes”. In fact we have a situation where the majority of voters actually agree on a broad range of objectives, but legislators are ignoring that consensus. That’s not really a win or lose, it’s just a failure to govern, no one can “win” when government simply fails.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/25/2018 - 04:13 pm.

        Lose-lose

        Actually we agree all the way around, from this perspective (L-L) equals a failure of our governing body to get anything done at all, (the folks on the right didn’t get anything, the folks on the left didn’t get anything. nor did the rest of us, in the center (lose-lose-lose) but I will agree, getting nothing, vs getting something really ugly can be considered a win!

  11. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/24/2018 - 06:00 pm.

    GOP lleaders dont know what to say to excuse their nothing-accomplished legislative session, so they falsely assert that Gov. Dayton was “emotional” and somehow didn’t know what he was doingwith the vetoes!

    No emotion: He had warned the GOP, repeatedly, that he would veto omnibus bills that tried to strong-arm the governor into signing what he could not, in all conscience, accept, by putting those items in a bill that covered irrelevancies. Unconstitutionally, one might add, tje GOP sent Dayton HUGE grab-bags for bills.

    The GOP leadership tried to coerce and force ithe governor. In the ned, he was a better stateman than they are legislators.

    The shame is all theirs:P Too many things in those bills could have been passed by themselvesand get the governor’s signature, and the leadership knows that. They lost.

    I’m glad Dayton called their bluff. Finally.

  12. Submitted by Kathie Noga on 05/24/2018 - 06:15 pm.

    Legislature 2018

    Well, one thing I have observed about this session, my friend, Rep. Raymond Dehn, kept complaining about how the Republicans kept tabling bills which the majority of people supported. This is why Dayton got fed up with them they were too Tea Party like. They did not know how to compromise at all. I really did not like them fooling around with Medicaid for us people who have it and work. Yes, work. We are the ones who have to comply with this and we then have to take time off from work to do this, disgusting. Also temp. workers often do not get insurance from the agencies we work for until 2 to 3 months. Then the assignment is done for the client. This is very common. What we need is a single payer system and then we don’t have to deal with health care at all. Also if they want us to work they should be funding mass transit out to some of those suburban locations which have the jobs. It should help a whole lot. I am so disgusted with those characters with their non-support of Metro Transit that I want the county or Metro Council to do the funding with a tax.

  13. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/24/2018 - 07:44 pm.

    Well…

    Without the tax cuts and no reconciliation with the federal tax law changes the one thing that will come out the other end is big budget surpluses. And with Tim Pawlenty sniffing around the perimeter that is likely a good thing because nobody, NOBODY, has the innate skills to turn a surplus into a deficit better than good old TPAW.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/28/2018 - 09:09 pm.

      Totally agree about the huge surpluses

      Governor Dayton will leave a legacy of the biggest tax increases in recent memory if not State history. The $2 billion tax increase on the wealthy a couple of years ago completed a campaign promise to tax the rich. The latest veto of the tax conformance bill may well top that tax increase, reaching into the middle class, not just the rich. This, on top of 4 percent per year increases in State spending per year, except for a larger percentage the last biennium, certainly qualifies as a tax and spend strategy no matter who looks at the evidence.

  14. Submitted by John Appelen on 05/25/2018 - 07:38 am.

    I am curious

    I always thought that our system is based on compromise, it seems that Dayton disagrees. After reading this piece and others it seems to me that Dayton was / is being dictatorial and petty.

    I mean no one is actually talking about what specific issues Dayton objected to. Just that the bills contained compromises.

    He wanted smaller chunks so he could ignore the Conservatives and avoid making compromises. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the Fall. 🙂

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/25/2018 - 10:41 am.

      Compromise is a two-way street

      The Republicans sent him poison pills, not serious legislation. Of course he vetoed, as he should have.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/25/2018 - 11:58 am.

        Please

        Again, please tell me what those terrible unacceptable poison pills were?

        And how blocking them was more important than raising school funding, fighting the opioid problem, tax conformity, etc?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/25/2018 - 10:46 am.

      Compromise

      “I always thought that our system is based on compromise . . .” Not exactly. Compromise is a lubricant that allows the wheels of governance to turn, but it is far from the basis of our system. In fact, there are some commenters here who have suggested that gridlock–a result of a failure to compromise–is not always a bad thing.

      “I mean no one is actually talking about what specific issues Dayton objected to. ” Perhaps not in this particular story, but I can assure you that the details have been leaked to the public and reported in other stories.

      “He wanted smaller chunks so he could ignore the Conservatives and avoid making compromises. ” There are two other reasons Governor Dayton may have wanted, as you put it, “smaller chunks.” One is the constitutional requirement that bills embrace only one subject, to be stated in the title of the bill. he second is that policy matters should stand alone. The decision to approve or veto a policy measure should be based on its merits, not on its being put together with a bunch of other “chunks” the Governor does not want to veto.

      If a compromise was to be reached, it should have been presented to the Governor beforehand. I have little doubt that the Republicans knew exactly what was going to happen, and their feigned befuddlement shouldn’t fool anyone. It will, but it shouldn’t.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/25/2018 - 11:55 am.

        Sorry, however I don’t think Dayton could be trusted to play nice after his vetoing the legislative budget stunt last year. The reality is that the people put the GOP in charge of the legislature as a block to his more liberal ideas. So I am not sure why he thinks he should veto the will of the people. As I noted, I can not wait until Nov to see how this impacts the election.

        I am often a big fan of gridlock… I mean look at the irresponsible fed tax cut, or the passage of ACA. Both sides seem excited to over reach whenever they get the opportunity. I just find it interesting when the tribal members always point at the other tribe and hold themselves blameless.

        In this case, Dayton and the GOP both made choices and let their egos get in the way of compromise. And a lot of folks in MN will feel the pinch.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/25/2018 - 01:04 pm.

          Reality

          “Sorry, however I don’t think Dayton could be trusted to play nice after his vetoing the legislative budget stunt last year.” Return with us now to those days of yesteryear. It seems the Legislature sent bills that were outside the scope of compromises previously agreed to. Put another way, why should the Governor have trusted a Legislature who didn’t play nice with him?

          “The reality is that the people put the GOP in charge of the legislature as a block to his more liberal ideas.” We could also say that the people of Minnesota put Dayton in the Governor’s Office as a block to the Legislature’s more conservative ideas. Sometimes, I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy.

          “So I am not sure why he thinks he should veto the will of the people.” Dayton’s election and re-election also reflect the will of the people. Why does the legislature think they can override that expression of the popular will?

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/25/2018 - 02:46 pm.

            Agreed then. They are both contributing to the lack of results. Sound about right?

            And the voters this Fall get the final say… 🙂

        • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 05/25/2018 - 07:58 pm.

          Individual legislative races

          John Appelen: “The reality is that the people put the GOP in charge of the legislature as a block to his more liberal ideas.”

          No, the reality is that voters within separate parcels of land — legislative districts — voted for individual local legislators. A majority of separate groups of voters elected individual GOP candidates from various parts of the state. That’s not “the people” in any common understanding of that phrase.

          As Mr. Holbrook suggested, the *statewide* vote elected Gov. Dayton. That’s closer to the reality of our elections, viz. that “the people [of the whole state]” put Dayton in charge of the Executive as a block to the GOP-run Legislature.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/25/2018 - 10:47 pm.

            Well

            Please remember that I am a big supporter of the electoral college concept, to ensure that people in lower population density areas also are heard. Therefore I find district representation more meaningful than state races. Though I am very interested to see how the Governor race goes this Fall after this decision.

            Also, please note that the Democratic politicians had control in 2013 & 2014. At which time they over reached and lost their control. And in 2016 they lost even more seats. I don’t think Dayton’s veto will reverse that dissatisfaction, however I have been incorrect before.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_strength_in_Minnesota

            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/26/2018 - 07:53 am.

              What?

              Electoral College? What’s that got to do with this? Legislative districts are proportioned equally based on population. It’s one person one vote. Rural areas are in no way underrepresented, unless more citizens choose to live in urban areas. It’s not like senators are elected on a county basis.

              In fact, it used to be urban areas that were underrepresented until the One Man One Vote court ruling.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/26/2018 - 02:33 pm.

                Then perfect… The state house does speak for the people best since it was elected most recently.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/26/2018 - 10:29 pm.

                Now that I have a keyboard, I will try to clarify. I said “electoral college concept” My point is that district representation votes within the state is somewhat like this, as compared to state wide elections.

                Meaning that a lot of votes in highly lopsided races really don’t count. Say an urban Rep may get 95% of the vote, because the voters are so homogenous in that district. Whereas in a suburb the GOP rep may get only 51% of the vote and win.

                Did that help?

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/27/2018 - 03:29 pm.

                  Not Really

                  You should probably explain why districts are more important than the overall population.

                  Why is the fact that a majority of districts–parcels of dirt, when you get right down to it–voted one way afforded equal or greater significance than the fact that a clear majority of the population voted another way?

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/28/2018 - 10:31 pm.

                    Well, my rationale goes something like this… I want to make sure that all regions of the USA are listened to. I do not want the urban areas to have total control of the country. It would be terrible for our national cohesion if the East and West coast could control the country.

                    Imagine what could happen if the Red States / Communities felt ignored and controlled by the urban folk.

                    Or if the Twin Cities metro would control the state and ignore the opinions, beliefs and/or needs of out state MN. The reality is that if you think the rural / urban divide is bad now… I could not even imagine the scope of the problems if the people living in 90% of our land mass felt ignored and powerless…

                    Especially since they own the vast majority of this country’s guns… Here is a map for your consideration.
                    https://medium.com/@xenocryptsite/republicans-are-clustered-by-county-democrats-are-clustered-by-state-and-district-because-b87feecdd3eb

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/29/2018 - 09:02 am.

                      Yeah, But

                      ” I want to make sure that all regions of the USA are listened to. ” You’re talking about representation of geographical areas. I had always assumed that a key assumption of democracy is that the people are represented, not the plots of earth on which they happen to be squatting. To quote a former President (who was, we may be surprised to hear, a Republican), our aspiration is a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

                      “Imagine what could happen if the Red States / Communities felt ignored and controlled by the urban folk.” Worst case scenario would mean that the White House was turned over to an amoral, truthless grifter whose authoritarian tendencies were indulged by a crowd of Congressional lickspittles. Oh, wait . . .

                      “Especially since they own the vast majority of this country’s guns.” So we’re being held hostage by our so-called fellow citizens? God bless the Second Amendment!

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 05/29/2018 - 09:23 am.

                      It’s fascinating how conservatives, when backed into a corner, love to play the “if you make us too mad, we’ll kill you in another Civil War” card. Of course, they can’t even get their facts correct on that point, either. If you look at the cross-tabs of the 2017 Pew survey and do the math, you’ll find that there are nearly 40% more guns in urban and suburban areas than rural ones.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/29/2018 - 09:56 am.

                      Please

                      Now I know the Urban Liberals love to claim the Burbs as theirs, but I am pretty sure they are a mix of Conservatives and Liberals since Paulsen, Lewis and Emmer are the elected representatives.

                      Now you can choose to ignore the will of large swaths of the country at your own risk. As always I am just raising a potential consequence.

                      Personally I want the Urban, Suburban and Rural citizens to all treat each other with respect.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/29/2018 - 09:50 am.

                      I think “held hostage” may be a bit over dramatic. I like to think of it as promoting national unity, security, prosperity and peace. Kind of like why we re-distribute wealth from the successful to those with low capabilities, low drive, low self control, etc.

                      By keeping the minority groups somewhat happy, we avoid conflicts, crime, etc. Be they rural or low income folks.

                      My simplest example of how bad it can get when the “national democracy” ignores the minority groups is Iraq. The Shiites try to force their will on the Sunnis and Kurds… Which of course is terrible for all Iraqis.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/29/2018 - 10:23 am.

                      Promoting Unity at Gunpoint

                      I have always liked to think that the US was bound by a shared culture of democracy. I didn’t know that such political cohesiveness as we have grew out of the barrel of a gun.

                      “I like to think of it as promoting national unity, security, prosperity and peace.” Potato, potahto. If I recall, the Shah liked to say that what Savak did was “persuasion.”

                      “My simplest example of how bad it can get when the “national democracy” ignores the minority groups is Iraq. The Shiites try to force their will on the Sunnis and Kurds… Which of course is terrible for all Iraqis.” You’re comparing apples to persimmons. The differences you refer to in American life are geographic and cultural (interesting that you leave out ethnic or racial minorities from the calculus). The differences in Iraq are centuries-old religious conflicts, exacerbated by the meddling of colonial powers. Put another way, as any libertarian worth his salt will tell us, it is an individual’s choice to live in a depressed rural area. Do the same considerations apply to religious matters?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/29/2018 - 11:54 am.

                      Also

                      It is also the choice of people to live in urban areas, fail in our free K-12 education system, make too many babies too early, stay dependent on welfare, rely on government to “fix their problems”, etc

                      With this in mind, the map I linked to pretty clearly shows that people in Urban and Rural areas have very different belief systems.. No matter their race, religion, sex, etc.

                      Given how animated and aggressive our Political Tribes have been the last 10+ years, do you really think they are that different from the Shiites and Sunnis?

                      That I is why I fear the growing divide and intolerance between the tribes more than Russia, China, etc… Thank heavens we have a system that ensures everyone is listened to, no matter where they live or what they believe.

  15. Submitted by Dave Konshok on 05/25/2018 - 07:26 pm.

    Worst Senator now Worst Governor

    Mark Dayton was labeled one of the Worst Senators by Time magazine in 2006. Time needs to do a follow up article now on Worst Governors. The true reality is: when your party is swept out of power in mid-term elections under your executive leadership, you lose the right to dictate the terms of compromise. Dayton didn’t understand politics as a Senator and was rightly named a failure. After a long exile he was elected to the highest office in our State, and people expected what? For him to act differently? Reasonably? Rationally? Brings to mind the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This man has never had, nor will ever have, the ability to lead. Democrats need to own this bizarre excuse of politician, of their making, and answer for his ineptitude in the coming elections. As that most famous of Democrats, Harry Truman, once said: “The buck stops here”. The final fault here shall always reside with the man in the executive mansion.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/27/2018 - 10:12 am.

      Odd then

      That your supposed conservative “silent majority” has not once produced the votes necessary to defeat this supposed “worst” politician in state history. You do yell pretty loud though.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/27/2018 - 03:30 pm.

      Citation, Please?

      “The true reality is: when your party is swept out of power in mid-term elections under your executive leadership, you lose the right to dictate the terms of compromise.” Care to tell us whence that bit of reality springs?

    • Submitted by ian wade on 05/29/2018 - 04:19 pm.

      Well, for being one of the “worst governors,”

      it’s amazing that Minnesota leads its Midwestern neighbors in virtually every economic metric. If he ran again, he’d easily win a third term.

      • Submitted by Dave Konshok on 05/30/2018 - 06:38 am.

        We do have an amazing and resilient economy in Minnesota. Part of that can be credited towards good state governance (though much of it depends on other factors). But does all of that partial credit belong to Mark Dayton? One could argue, given the lag time between government action and economic effect (often many years), that the true architect of MN’s quick recovery from the Great Recession was actually Tim Pawlenty and the policies he put in place before the national economy tanked.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/31/2018 - 07:03 am.

          And What Were Those Policies?

          Annual deficits? “Borrowing” money from the schools? Oh yeah, that was a great legacy.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 05/30/2018 - 10:22 am.

      Dayton has been a good governor. Facts back that up.

      [quote]
      1. Minnesota
      > 2016 Unemployment: 3.9% (13th lowest)
      > Pension funded ratio: 79.8% (18th highest)
      > Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
      > Poverty: 9.9% (6th lowest)

      Ranking as the 10th best run state as recently as 2012, Minnesota has climbed steadily in the rankings in recent years and is now the best run state in the country. A relatively wealthy state, Minnesota’s $65,599 median household income is about $8,000 more than the median income nationwide. With a strong tax base, the state brings in about $4,400 a year per resident in taxes, more than all but four other states. In Minnesota, higher tax revenue means the government can save more. The state has saved the equivalent of 10.3% of its annual spending in a rainy day fund — more than most states and greater than the 8.2% average across states.

      Minnesota has a nearly perfect credit rating from Moody’s with a stable outlook.
      [end quote]

      Dayton has been a good governor. Results show it.

  16. Submitted by Kathleen Doran-Norton on 05/27/2018 - 09:51 am.

    How do we fix our broken government?

    NO Minnesota. bill should be described as “big”, “mega”, “far-reaching”, or even “omnibus”.

    BOTH parties ignore our constitution because it’s convenient.

    What I can’t figure out is, how do we, the people, change this lousy, unrepresentative, undemocratic, unconstitutional, back room process?

    It’s more than the people we elect -as individuals they don’t seem to have the ability to make process changes. It’s more than ‘one party rule. It goes beyond party – because both sides benefit when they’re in the majority. Does the state need a constitutional amendment to strengthen the MN constitution? Where’s the political counter-weight to change this craziness?

    • Submitted by Don Casey on 05/29/2018 - 03:58 pm.

      heal thyself

      Huge 11th Hour omnibus bills have become common practice in Minnesota (as well as several other states). But the problem in Minnesota becomes progressively worse each session. Many legislators acknowledge the problem but it’s just talk and no one does anything. The problem could be lessened considerably with some rule changes (earlier and firmer deadlines, limits on new legislation volume, firm rules on extent of omnibus bills content to mention a few.) But the Legislature makes its own rules and displays no desire to reform shoddy practices. The inmates are in charge of the asylum.

      Ideally, voters should have the ability to force change. Changing a few faces in St. Paul won’t do it; the process is essentially the same as it was decades — many face changes — ago. Minnesota needs a reasonably limited system of initiative and referendum.

  17. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/29/2018 - 02:45 pm.

    An interesting addendum

    Given that Michele Fishbach resigned the Senate and took the higher-paying lieutenant governor’s job, the Senate is now deadlocked at 33 votes each. If a special session was called it would force Gazelka to share authority with Tom Bakk. This would mean that leadership authority would be split evenly on all committees. A true bipartisan situation would be set up, One that the Republicans could not allow because it would blow apart their canards about not have “true bipartisan” discussions. One would have to look into the minutes of the legislative session, something that none of the taxpayers ever do and none of the media ever report, to see that the Republicans shut out the Democrats from any leadership positions in any committee. This led to the minority being completely trivialized by Gazelka and Daudt. And to the outcome of this session.

    That is why good bills did not progress, And the priorities of the Koch brothers did. Face it, most of these Republican legislators are not smart enough to write the bills they sponsor. ALEC does it for them and they hide them until the last minute and introduce them the final night, so no hearings or public input are obtained. THAT is how these two have run government, for their wealthy owners and benefactors.

  18. Submitted by Joe Musich on 05/29/2018 - 06:59 pm.

    As stated above …

    by Mr Gauither above, the Dems got shut out in committee leadership positions. This happened because it could. And the GOP leadership did it. And the consequences are the reality we face in the state today. That being said the the current GOP stands for small government. Therefore I would conclude they are the victors this session. However their small government path is becoming increasingly clear to the public. All Dayton could do was veto. The tax bill is something that was put on the state by national politics. And how did our GOP federal officials vote on that ? The perpetrators can paint themselves as the victims for only so long. And the jinx is up.

  19. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/29/2018 - 11:18 pm.

    Ouch!

    “most of these Republican legislators are not smart enough to write the bills they sponsor”

    Where on earth did the term “liberal elite” come from?

    And thank goodness that the Governor promised not to call a special session. The former Senator did a Franken and got a little extra money by leaving the Senate after the session. Since there will be no special session, the “deadlock” is meaningless.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/30/2018 - 09:15 am.

      Liberal Elite?

      I would call it careful observation not typical ideological commentary, when legislators cannot answer simple questions about bills they post, they ain’t smart. Read the daily reports and/or watch on line. It’s all there.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/30/2018 - 01:38 pm.

        The value of education

        Has apparently diminished. Checking the first seven house members with an (R) by their name yielded four bachelor’s degrees and two vocational degrees. I believe all degrees were earned in Minnesota. Perhaps continued funding of higher education should be reconsidered since we are turning out graduates that are not smart. Especially if they cannot write.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/30/2018 - 05:31 pm.

          Can’t? Or Won’t?

          Perhaps they don’t know what’s in the bills they sponsor because they are letting lobbyists and special interest groups draft them. Why bother reading them when someone else is willing to do the work, right?

  20. Submitted by John Appelen on 05/31/2018 - 10:19 am.

    Carrots Sticks Other

    “That hot bed of Red States, the South, has an auto industry solely because of huge government subsidies that dwarf things like SNAP. So when Righties decry dependency, they should remove the plank on their own eye first.” Frank

    Frank,
    I am fine with government using carrots and sticks to help improve our country. States often entice businesses by reducing the taxes they will pay for a period of time. That is using carrots to attract jobs for their citizens. The State, business and citizens win…

    I am fine with government using sticks to punish companies when they make bad decisions. Like the huge fines that were levied against the banks after the Great recession.

    Now for my question… In what way does SNAP, TANF, etc serves as either a carrot or a stick? How does it entice citizens to make better decisions? How does it punish citizens for making bad decisions? How does it benefit our country and support a better future?

    Or is it just a way to keep people dependent and controlled?

  21. Submitted by ian wade on 05/31/2018 - 03:12 pm.

    Why should any government

    punish people for making bad decisions? Who’s the arbiter of this moral standard? What constitutes a “bad’ decision?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/31/2018 - 05:41 pm.

      Answers

      To improve our society for the good of all citizens.
      All citizens through their vote and our government.
      Whatever our society decides.

      As Lincoln said at the Gettysburg address.

      “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

      Now does that mean we reward unsuccessful people with money taken from successful people? Allowing them to stay as they are?

      or

      Do we use the power of our society to ensure all citizens strive to learn, work and support the America for the betterment of all Americans?

      I don’t have the answer, but they certainly are good questions…

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