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An Invitation To Talk: Nothing More, Nothing Less

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 06/06/17 19:53

by Dave Mindeman

Apparently, this is quite the sinister letter.


It doesn't look like much to me, but the Republicans look at this and claim something quite forboding. The governor is coercing the legislature. He is using a power play to force them to the table.

Gosh, he even says that he "looks forward...to meet together."

How diabolical.

It would seem that the House Republicans think that everything is a conspiracy. That there is secondary and tertiary meanings behind everything written down.

The are not going to "fall" for it. They will be strong.

Well, it doesn't look too sinister to me. Dayton vetoed the legislative funding, sure. But for the one purpose of talking out some other differences. He signed the bills - he is forgoing a government shutdown. It is not an "or else" type letter. Just an invitation to talk.

But the House Republicans do not talk. They ultimatum. They threaten. They reneg. That is what they understand and they assume everybody does the same.

Get rid of the tin foil hats and have a cup of coffee with the governor.

What is the downside? You might agree on something?

Heaven forbid that thought.

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.

Dayton Gets Creative On Policy While Keeping Govt Operating

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 05/31/17 11:52, Edited: 05/31/17 11:53

by Dave Mindeman

I'm not sure what to make of the MN budget situation. It looks like Dayton has signed the budget bills but line item vetoed money for legislative operations.

It is a tactic brought about by frustration with negotiating with intractable Republicans and a genuine desire to keep the government operating without going into a budget shutdown.

What Dayton has done would require the legislature to negotiate their way back into funding their operations, without rehashing the entire budget again.

I understand what he is trying to do, but as with everything involving Daudt and his cohorts, it will become another war.

The MN GOP legislature is considering a lawsuit against Dayton for that line item veto. It would be a difficult case either way, but it would also take a lot of time. In the meantime, the legislature will run out of money to operate. As usual, Daudt's first inclination is to make it a publicity opportunity - rather than just agree to talks. Apparently, they are considering just eliminating next year's session altogether. Which could be done because there would be no absolutely necessary legislative matter. The State is funded for the biennium and they did pass a bonding bill. The opportunity for supplemental budgeting and adjustments and a smaller additional bonding bill would be forfeited.

I think it should be pretty clear that Dayton is doing what he thinks is in the best interest of the state. Unlike the rhetoric that Daudt throws around, Dayton does not like the idea of shutting down the government. He has used an unusual method to reopen negotiation on items he considers untenable while still keeping the state operational. I think that action is commendable, but it is difficult to publicly defend without a simple rationale.

Daudt is good at distorting the truth. He only vocalizes how it affects his side of the ledger and dismisses the needs of everyone else. And I am sure this will be no different.

He knew that he put his own leverage into the tax bill with the revenue department funding. If the revenue department can't operate, the state cannot operate. If Dayton vetoed that bill, he shuts it all down. With the GOP holding majorities in both Houses, the Democrats were powerless to stop it - although I think it should have been made public much sooner. But I suspect that Daudt, et al, buried it in the bill and moved it through during those last minute flurries when no one could read what was going on. This ridiculous tactic has to be stopped. It is NOT good government.

But Dayton tried to find a creative way to make his point and keep things going. Only time will tell if it will succeed. The Republicans will make it difficult.

They make everything in government difficult.
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