The calliope of criticism of the Republican legislative caucuses continues in newspapers across Minnesota, a trend strong enough that it's been noticed in metro media. While the Twin Cities can brag on its "hipsters" (whatever they are), hickster practical common sense is calling for compromise, while holding the line on programs like LGA.
We've seen the elephant, and it ain't pretty.
Yesterday, the Albert Lea Tribune editorial board concluded in Maintain local government aid:
It is not welfare. It is simply relief from high property taxes for places that don’t have property wealth. It is a return on the taxes we send to St. Paul already. The roads work both ways, not just for Interstate 35, but for the sharing of revenue.
Cutting LGA further would cut into necessary services in many cities, including Albert Lea.
We urge our legislators to make this a line in the sand. Always remember that the platform of representatives and senators from the Twin Cities suburbs does not mesh with the needs of Greater Minnesota. [emphasis added]
The fiscally conservative editors of the New Ulm Journal examine dueling letters from area legislators in Doing the math and conclude:
This is not so much a budget debate as a tax debate. Republicans are firmly sticking to their "no tax increase" stance, which is actually a "no income or sales tax increase" stance - they don't seem to recognize the impact they are having on property taxes, or accept any blame for it. DFLers want to increase revenues by $1.8 billion above the $34 billion we are expecting to minimize the impact on programs for the poor, sick and elderly.
We have long been an advocate of fiscal responsibility. But fiscal responsibility for a government goes beyond not upping taxes. It means providing necessary services as efficiently as possible and levying taxes fairly. It means exploring all options to get through a budget crisis.
With less than a month to go before a government shutdown takes place, it is time for the parties to come together and negotiate a new budget for the state. A good starting point would be to put aside the fuzzy math and the budget semantics and work on what we're going to do in the next two years.
The Journal references an earlier and far more scathing editorial in the Rochester Post Bulletin, Partisan math clouds budget debate. The May 31 piece rips a document handed out by a freshman state senator:
Sen. Carla Nelson, a Republican from Rochester, handed out an interesting and enlightening document during Thursday's Eggs and Issues event sponsored by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.
Under the headline "Here are the actual budget numbers for your consideration," she provided the following figures...
Go read the widely distributed piece, which includes the following apt observation:
After hearing endless comparisons to households and businesses that "tighten their belts" and "learn to live within their means," we'd hasten to point out that when times get tough, businesses and households don't merely cut costs. They also look for ways to increase their income.
We believe Minnesota should do the same.
Even a small time blog like this one grasps the notion of increasing income. The reconstructed Wobblies up at the Timberjay have, for instance, put their content behind a firewall, but their editorial headline, GOP shouldn’t shut down state government over rigid ideology, gives a fair share of what they're thinking.
In Detroit Lakes, the DL Online editors repost an editorial saying that It’s time for Minnesota GOP to give a little in budget fight:
If the intention of Minnesota residents in electing a Republican Legislature and a Democratic governor was to ultimately take a balanced approach to the $5 billion budget deficit — that is, not too heavy on either spending cuts or tax increases — clearly, the leadership in the House and Senate didn’t see it that way.
We believe it is time for the Republicans to give a little.
State polls suggest that Minnesotans want a budget in which both sides compromise. While state residents elected a Republican Legislature, they also elected Dayton, who throughout his campaign pledged to use a tax increase on the wealthiest Minnesotans to help solve the budget deficit . . . .
The bigger challenge facing state leaders today is the House’s Republican freshmen class of legislators. These legislators — including Rep. Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar — believe they were elected by a mandate of the voters.
These freshmen legislators have never been through a complete session to this point, but they are driving the House GOP Caucus leadership. These legislators have never been through a government shutdown. These legislators have never walked a summer parade during a budget deadlock and government shutdown.
These House Republican freshmen need to remember how fast the public opinion can turn. Their 2010 caucus victory was a margin of only 1,500 votes across a handful of House districts. . . .
. . . House Republicans believe strongly in their principals. Dayton believes strongly in his principals as well. Therefore, this may be a long standoff.
However, once the government shutdown begins, the political fallout will soon follow. Moreover, the governor does not face re-election in 2012.
Admittedly, the Republicans have the backing of the Fairmont Sentinel--sorta. That must be worth something; ask Brian Davis. Both this year's Republican majority and the 2008 GOP First District noncontender appear to share similar levels of popularity. Perhaps the legislative majority will get a dead cat bounce to put them at Davis levels by the time the 2012 elections roll around.
So who is leading the GOP legislators in this circus parade? The Uptake has posted a video in which the press grilled the titular caucus leaders about Sutton and Brodkorb. Like Sergeant Schultz routine in the old "Hogan's Heroes" sitcom, they know nothing, nothing, athough that schtick gets a bit wearisome as reporters press her about Tony Sutton's pesonal remarks about the governor the presence of her executive assistant, majority caucus communications director, and deputy GOP chair at the Republican Party's boorish press conference.