Thank you for your front-page article on Governor Dayton’s pocket veto of the tax cut bill. What it clearly shows is that the political process in Minnesota is deeply flawed. The actions of the Governor were petty and personal and demonstrated a total disregard for the welfare of Minnesotans who are financially less well off than the wealthy Dayton family. This tax cut would have also benefited small businesses and would have been a job creator for the state.
It is worth noting that the tax bill was the work of a bipartisan effort (in which Rep. Steve Green played a significant part) of both Republicans and Democrats. It was my understanding that the wording error in the bill could have been corrected by an administrative action by the Legislature. Despite this fact, Governor Dayton chose to use that excuse as a reason to hold the bill hostage to his personal (and DFL) wishes for a larger debt-ridden bonding bill.
As you rightly pointed out in your article, Dayton demanded that all legislators meet his personal desires for nearly $600 million in additional spending or he would not call a special session to fix the tax bill and complete the bonding bill process. He demanded:
- Nearly $200 million for light rail in the cities
- Millions for DNR facility upgrades and new trails and for the sex offender program
- Multi-hundreds of millions for new educational buildings, educational programs/operating expenses and MN Security Hospital upgrades.
The bipartisan bonding bill, which made it to the final minutes of the legislative session and was on the verge of passing before an unnamed DFL senator killed it with an amendment, would have provided nearly a billion dollars in spending for critical infrastructure needs for the state of Minnesota.
This was a middle of the road compromise between the Republican proposal and the DFL original plan. Dayton clearly did not want to call a special session and have this "compromise bill" come to his desk.
We should praise all the legislatures who crafted the bipartisan bonding bill and their attempt to keep a lid on excessive deficit bonding bill spending which our children and grandchildren will end up repaying. Particular praise goes to our own Rep. Steve Green for his efforts to restrain deficit spending and to provide tax relief for Minnesotans.
So how can we fix what is broken in our political process? We cannot as long as men like Governor Dayton and political party machines run the political process. One way would be to eliminate political parties/party endorsements and make all candidates run on their virtue and ideals. They could caucus in whatever fashion they desired after arriving at the Legislature.
Unfortunately, this may never be seriously considered given the power of special interest money and the power of party organizations.