Last week, Bluestem note how Greater Minnesota newspapers scold Republican legislature for shifts, gimmicks and raids. This weekend, two more outstate dailies sound a warning.
In Our View: Legislature acting in haste, the Mankato Free Press editors opine:
Citizens had to move quickly this year if they wanted their representatives at the Legislature to consider their points of view.
Policy experts had to scramble to provide appropriate research to legislative committees.
In the end, this fast-track democracy has not been in the best interests of the governed. . . .
As legislative committees wrapped up their final budget bills Friday, there seemed to be more than a few instances of the chainsaw approach and reckless lumberjacking. . . .
. . .Dozens of major policy bills are passing through committees on party line votes, another indication that some voters’ policy preferences are not being considered very seriously.
Most Minnesotans know the budget must be cut and that everyone will need to share the pain. But given the serious circumstances of some of the largest cuts to services in state history, legislators should be even more careful and deliberative in making decisions that may be life-changing for many Minnesotans.
GOP leaders in the state Legislature need a better argument than politics for ignoring what in the past has been standard practice.
Republicans in the House have caught flack this week from their DFL counterparts for the accounting behind their proposal to solve the state’s $5 billion budget deficit.
Built in part on cuts in spending for health and social services, Local Government Aid and government workforce, the GOP plan has taken fire for disregarding analysis of its math. The budget proposals from both the Senate and the House use one-time funds whose actual savings are not yet verified by the Minnesota Management and Budget office.
Instead of following the long-accepted practice of following the fiscal notes of the Minnesota Management and Budget office, the Republicans claim they don’t trust the numbers of an agency under the control of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.
That’s a questionable argument for all kinds of reasons.
Read the reasons of the Op-ed page of the Faribault paper.
It simply isn't enough to say that there are Republican and DFL numbers; it's important to assess claims on their merit. One politician's figures on Local Government Aid (LGA) withstood scrutiny. MPR News' PoliGraph found that Rybak gets tax numbers right:
Republican legislators are targeting local government aid as they attempt to erase the state's $5 billion deficit.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak defended the program on his blog, arguing against the contention that state aid is a handout.
"Minneapolis helps keep the state afloat," Rybak wrote. "This year alone, we will send $367.5 million more to the state in sales and property taxes than the state has promised us back in LGA."
Rybak's numbers are on point.
Rybak and other urban mayors are sticking upfor LGA for the entire state, not just the largest cities. Maybe it's time for more Minnesotans who look to shape a politics (and budget) that look to connections and accuracy, rather than currying resentment among different regions while cultivating weak math anld disgarding solid analysis.
(h/t to MPP for the Rybak material).
Photo: Leatherface, the model ALEC legislator? (Since ALEC's defenders say there's no story here, will the general public be allowed to learn which Minnesota legislators are members--and read the model legislation the group puts together? After all,members of the Chamber of Commerce and NFIB prudly display their membership, often on their business doors).