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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

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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GOP Legislature: Case Study in Dysfunction

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 07/18/11 17:04

by Dave Mindeman

The Legislative Republicans are completely dysfunctional.

The current budget proposal was their plan suggested by their leadership. It was a plan that refused to allow any of Governor Dayton's alternatives. And it is a plan that has completely shut out legislative Democrats.

It is their plan and their ideas.

Yet, they cannot pass a budget.

Legislative Republicans are so chained to ideology that they cannot extricate themselves to any single vote. They cannot even agree within their own caucus how hardcore they are going to be.

They are so chained to social issue ideologues that they cannot fathom removing it from fiscal policy.

Is that a formula for good governance? I don't think so.

The longer this impasse lasts, the more likely that the whole thing will fall apart. Their disdain for Minnesota is protracted. Their disconnect from the average Minnesota citizen is transparent. These people cannot govern. They cannot legislate. They cannot even support their own leadership.

Dysfunctional. Totally.

Is this what you want, Minnesota?
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Pawlenty: The Default Candidate

Posted: 07/16/11 14:02

by Dave Mindeman

Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall was at a Bloomberg event that featured Tim Pawlenty. He managed to talk directly to Pawlenty after his remarks.

Besides Pawlenty's ridiculous idea that debt ceiling default might not be so bad, Marshall noted this:

Both in terms of the outlook for his campaign and the rationale for it, Pawlenty argued that the logic of his campaign is based on his claim that neither Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann is ability to pull together the three main wings of the Republican political coalition. So while he didn't put it in quite these terms, he suggested that he is if, not the inevitable, then the default candidate after it becomes clear that neither of these two leading candidates can close the deal.

To me, that notes a couple of things. 1) Pawlenty is now conceding that Michele Bachmann is one of the frontrunners for the nomination....which may explain his debt ceiling nonsense. 2) He is also conceding that he is not viable as a front line candidate but rather as just a second choice alternative to the others.

Pawlenty has been running the longest of any of the announced candidates, yet he still polls in the single digits. His Iowa strategy is completely gone thanks to Bachmann. And his fundraising has not increased enough for any kind of national strategy.

The rationale for a Pawlenty candidacy grows dimmer each day.
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