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The One Constant In Our Legislative Messes - Kurt Daudt

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 06/03/17 23:29

by Dave Mindeman

My concern for transparency in Minnesota government is reaching critical mass. Minnesota, generally, has a good reputation on governance, but the last few cycles have been bloody awful.

Surplus or deficit does not matter - we go down to the final hours and watch as sleep deprived lawmakers patch together a budget without much debate, without much scrutiny, without any sort of public input. It's ugly and we have to do something about it.

There is a common denominator that seems to pervade these ugly end of session scenarios. There is a constant element of gimmick budgeting. There are dead of night last minute additions that sneak into the language. There is a pervasive desire to railroad bills through on a time table that satisfies no one. There is one person who seems to stand out as an instigator in all of it.

Kurt Daudt.

Daudt likes to call press conferences and call our Governor out..mainly because he simply disagrees with Daudt. It is as if debating a topic is an obstruction.. as if providing a blue print for agreement is arrogance...or having a different agenda is just plain rude.

Daudt persistently governs as if a governor is really not necessary. The office is a nuisance. And his ideas on policy should never be questioned.

In 2015, Daudt had an additional attack on the executive branch when he belligerently handicapped the office of State Auditor. That particular snub is still in the courts, with Rebecca Otto fighting that dark of night provision.

On May 18th, 2015, Daudt took 1 and 1/2 minutes to ramrod a 90 page bill through the House without giving Democrats a chance to even give a cursory look to what they were voting on.

In that same session, he reneged on a supposed "deal" with Bakk and railroaded the DFL majority leader on final session bills.

And 2017 was worse. As City Pages outlined the problems....

1. Pre-Emption. Daudt poisoned the state pension bill by adding a provision that had been rejected by Dayton earlier in the session. Pre-Emption would take away local autonomy from cities and counties on their own internal changes to state laws. He added it to a Democratic supported bill that would grant family leave. It ended up getting vetoed - but that was what Daudt wanted in the first place.

2. A tax cut bill carried provisions to block out any dollars being spent on light rail.

3. Protections to stop internet providers from selling your browser history were taken out.

4. A health-care funding bill halved scheduled raises for home health-care workers.

5. Other cuts were made to fund a $600+ million tax cut.

Some of those things were expected and Dayton vetoed pre-emption, but here is the most galling provision of all....

A sneaky line in a state agencies bill says the Department of Revenue wouldn't get its $153 million budget until the day after Dayton signed the tax cuts. The tax bill became a ransom note.

Shutting down the Revenue department is an attack on the executive branch. It essentially takes away Dayton's power of the veto. And Daudt inserted this provision without any agreement from any of the other parties. Even Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka did not know it made it into the final bill (Almanac).

Dayton would have to veto all of the revenue bills and start over if he didn't acquiesce to this "sneak attack".

His supporters urged the vetoes. He was clear that he was considering it. But Governor Dayton did not want to potentially shutdown the government like 2011. He didn't want to put the citizens of this state through another protracted and costly negotiation. The Legislators failed to do their job - but Dayton decided he was not going to compound the situation.

The bills are law. But he decided that he would like to discuss the policy provisions that were in these bills - against his expressed negotiated position. So he did the only thing he felt could do to attract their attention - he defunded the legislature's revenue allotment.

It did get their attention, but Daudt, true to form, didn't want to talk, he wanted more fights. He is going to sue Dayton for overstepping his Constitutional authority. Daudt would claim that Dayton defunded a co-equal branch of government.

You have to wonder why defunding the Revenue Department is not a similar attack on the executive branch. But Daudt doesn't bring that up.

The taxpayers of Minnesota will be funding this fight. Both the Governor and the legislature will be paying lawyers with general revenue. As usual, the only loser in these things is Minnesota citizens.

Like I said, the common denominator in this mess and messes of the recent past is one guy - Kurt Daudt.

And guess what? He probably wants to continue these games by running for Governor in 2018.

Boy. Can't wait to see what kind of mess he can create from there. I bet the office of Governor would suddenly become very relevant.
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