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The School Shift & Tobacco Bond Initiators -Clearing the Record

Category: Economy
Posted: 07/28/11 23:30, Edited: 07/28/11 23:31

by Dave Mindeman

I posted a blog on the Apple Valley Patch local news site (they allow blogs from the community) recently that led to an exchange with my local Senator, Chris Gerlach. It was about the budget solution with "debt" and I commented about credit cards being such a heavy part of the mix.

A comment came from Senator Gerlach taking exception to my characterization of the school shift idea as being the GOP's fault.

You can read the exchange here...

But in Senator Gerlach's comments, I was surprised by this:

On June 30, the day before gov't shutdown, Governor Dayton was the first to introduce the school shift idea into budget negotiations to the amount of $1.4 billion. This was extreme and later that day with the pressure of the shutdown looming, a Republican counter-offer pushed that back to $700 and were dragged kicking and screaming to that number.

Governor Dayton brought this up...first? That seemed odd to me, so later I decided to try and ask around. I sent an e-mail to Rep. Paul Thissen, who was in the room, to see if he might respond. And he did so...very quickly I might add. He said it was OK to quote him on this point:

On June 29 at 8 pm, Sen Koch and Rep Zellers presented an offer that included a school shift and the tobacco bonds. It was an oral offer but I was sitting in the room next to the Governor. It was the fiscal offer attached to the infamous list of social policy that the Republicans were also demanding. It was only the next day - June 30 - that Gov Dayton proposed a school shift that he later expressly withdrew.

Alright, there is the facts. Rep. Thissen was present. Sen. Gerlach may not have gotten the full play by play in all the rapid fire aftermath....but it seems clear that the school shift and tobacco bonding were an original Legislative leadership proposal.

Dayton's counter proposal of the 50-50 shift, which was withdrawn, was probably (if you will allow me to speculate) a reaction to the tobacco bonding measure which I think Dayton finds irresponsible. After all, the school shift is meant to be a delay in payment while the tobacco bonds are a full debt measure backed by commercial paper and corresponding interest payments.

So don't allow the Republicans to escape responsibility in this matter. This is their debt solution to the budget. They rejected all of the proposals that would have added a clear revenue stream and instead, added to our kids obligations.

This mess is a Republican mess.
comments (2) permalink
07/29/11 12:47
Glad to see your perspective back in comments, Ford. Although we tend to disagree, I find your comments reasoned and thoughtful. Thanks for following.
07/29/11 12:23

They were all signatories to the final measure. What difference does it make whether somebody brought it up or not. There were likely loads of ideas being bantered about in the very same conversation.

You absolutely need to hammer the Republicans for the shift. But laying it at their feet with full responsibility is not going to work. A similar hammer should be applied to Dayton's toes too. As well as every other supporter of that final measure.

Part of the mess we are in is because the media, and the public, apply logic similar to Dave's argument here. Every single decision becomes a partisan nightmare or trophy? I don't think so. If each side spent more time promoting responsible legislation, instead of the crap hammered out in private, this state would move forward and progress would be both reasonable and responsible.

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