After hilling 100 potato plants this morning, Bluestem is taking a break before attending to the 270 other tater plants to catch up with the news.
Perhaps our favorite dog and pony show lately has been watching Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, share how they're so shocked and mystified at Governor Dayton's veto of the Supplemental Budget Bill, nicknamed Omnibus Prime, as well as the tax bill.
Fortunately, sharp-eyed editors in Crookston and Mankato were able to articulate the reality of the situation for both leaders. At the Crookston Times, in the far northwestern corner of the state, editor Mike Christopherson writes in Times Editorial - Insanity prevails in St. Paul:
It’s said that the definition of “insanity” is repeating the same action but thinking that at some point there will be a different outcome. That notion comes to mind in the wake of DFL Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton late last week vetoing massive tax and budget bills approved by the Republican-controlled Minnesota House and Senate.
So who’s most guilty of displaying such behavior, Republican legislative leaders who keep sending Dayton bills that he’s said repeatedly he’s going to veto, or Minnesota voters who keep electing all of these people to office, from both parties, to not do their jobs?
For as long as Dayton has been governor and for as long as Republicans have controlled Minnesota’s two legislative chambers, Dayton has made it clear that if certain bills were passed and sent to his desk in certain forms, he’d veto them. He said that again this session, but the Republicans wanted to be able to blame him once the session ended, so they sent him two enormous bills totaling around 2,000 pages on the last day of the session.
Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said they were blindsided by the vetoes. They were not. They would have been blindsided had Dayton actually signed the bills into law.
Crookston’s state representative in St. Paul, Republican Deb Kiel, said this in her post-veto statement released by her office: “The significant reforms to address senior and vulnerable adult abuse I worked on all session are gone with this veto. Meaningful investments in education including more funding and measures to keep students safe are gone with this veto. Low-income working families who rely on federal child care subsidies are hurt by this veto. The first income tax rate cut in nearly twenty years and critical tax conformity are gone with this veto. It seems our governor has chosen to play a political game and the people of Minnesota lost.”
Aside from the year-after-year-after-year continued absence of bipartisanship or a willingness to compromise, by legislators from both parties, the root of the problem once again seems to be the legislature’s inability to get major legislative passed until the last days, hours, minutes and seconds of each session.
Just look at what the statement from Kiel’s office indicates near the top. It references Dayton’s veto of the “tax conformity/school funding bill.” Why are these two different yet important legislative items in a single bill in the first place? Why is the abuse of senior citizens and vulnerable adults that Kiel worked to get passed during the session part of a bill that’s almost 2,000 pages thick? Why is funding to help struggling license centers across the state included in this bill? Why is school safety funding in this bill?
Couldn’t a stand-alone bill be hammered out that helps tackle the growing problem of senior citizen and vulnerable adult abuse? Couldn’t one bill and one bill alone address the state’s need to conform with the new federal tax law? ...
Read the rest at the Crookston Times. Down in the south central region, the editors of the Mankato Free Press were just as kind and helpful in pointing out the source of the problem in Our View: Legislature: Meltdown could have been avoided:
Minnesotans may not be surprised that the Legislature and governor once again failed to reach compromise on addressing myriad serious problems facing the state, but we should demand change in behavior, if not the participants in this dysfunction.
The GOP-led Legislature didn’t take seriously Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto threats. Dayton didn’t consider more face to face negotiations. Minnesotans were the real losers in this political game.
At some point, one side has to give more than they feel is fair in the interest of getting something accomplished. Neither side was big enough to do this.
We attribute 90 percent of the problem to the GOP’s insistence on creating one large omnibus megabill, with everything from agriculture to education thrown together in a nearly 1,000 page bill that most legislators had a few hours to read. The bill was even more problematic because it contained both policy provisions and funding allocations. . . .
Putting everything in one large bill was a problem logistically. It’s going to be more difficult for everyone involved to absorb it. And given the distrust Dayton had for the GOP because of last year’s trickery — sneaking poison pill provisions in a bill at the end — Dayton was right to be suspicious of this approach.
The GOP criticized Dayton for not being more engaged. Dayton said he would have been willing to negotiate more if he thought Daudt was more serious and honest about the negotiation.
In the end, Minnesotans were the losers. No solution to the opioid abuse problem. No help for families whose elders had been abused by an unwatched and unregulated industry. No money for enhanced school safety.
We urge voters to replace those responsible for this dereliction of duty.
If Republican leadership is 90 percent of the problem, Minnesota won't just have a new governor in 2019, but a seismic shift in the House and Senate. A sea of fresh faces in the House would be a good thing.
Photo: A random photo of Senate Majority Leader Gazelka and Speaker Daudt.
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