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Dayton Took The Heat But Saved Us From Draconian Cuts

Category: Economy
Posted: 07/20/11 00:45

by Dave Mindeman

Well, finally, the budget bills are beginning to pass in a sputtering, coughing sort of way. Let me give you some first impressions as I read the various news reports...

1) Bakk and Thissen have indicated there will be no DFL votes on the financing bill. This includes the education shift and tobacco fund borrowing. I doubt Governor Dayton will begrudge them that and I sense the seeds of a 2012 issue brewing.

2) Higher education got hammered, although not as severely as the original GOP bill. And the blow has been softened somewhat because the bonding bill has a number of higher ed projects in it. I think the Governor's hand was working here.

3) The Transportation bill cutting was softened and it looks like they will be able to prevent a rate hike. Mostly because some other transportation funds will be shifted around. The rate hike seemed imminent before the new bill was crafted, so that is another draconian prevention for the governor.

4) The environmental bill was pretty horrible, but the Democrats got a major victory by keeping the coal plant construction moratorium in place. That will give more time for environmental activists to make their case about coal.

5) The cloning ban was eliminated which helps to keep stem cell research on track.

6) The Doug Johnson Trust Fund in the Iron Range will not be raided and left alone.

Some of the more controversial bills are still to be voted on as I write this, but all in all, Governor Dayton may not have gotten the financing he wanted, but the cuts are not nearly as draconian as many had feared.

In fact, if you look at this MPR comparison, you can see that total spending is closer to what Dayton requested than the GOP all cuts budget proposed.

Looks to me like Dayton was willing to take the revenue heat in order to keep the cuts from devastating the state.

Thank you, Governor Dayton.
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