Editorial: First a deal - then the spinLate Monday morning, Minnesota legislators passed a budget that balanced the state’s $3 billion deficit. Moments later, the wheels of spin were rotating at warp speed.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
Late Monday morning, Minnesota legislators passed a budget that balanced the state’s $3 billion deficit. Moments later, the wheels of spin were rotating at warp speed.
By the middle part of the afternoon, the Star Tribune had collected comments from each of the major gubernatorial candidates regarding their takes on the just-done budget deal. Needless to say, there were some intriguing contrasts.
Democratic House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, for instance, hailed the budget passage as a significant victory for her party. “DFLers stood up for Minnesotans. We stood up to Tim Pawlenty and ‘Just Say No’ Republicans. Standing together Democrats fought for a responsible, balanced budget to protect students, create jobs and make health care more affordable.
DFLer Matt Entenza had a different take than Kelliher, his party’s endorsed candidate for governor. “ ... Getting there involved working with a governor who has no interest in working with others. Another refusal to compromise, another legislative session ends with a whimper; the governor’s just-say-no philosophy wins again.” The third Democrat in the race, Mark Dayton, said, “At the end of a very disappointing legislation, we again see Minnesota sacrificed on the altar of Gov. Pawlenty’s presidential ambitions.”
Republican candidate Tom Emmer, meanwhile, thanked Pawlenty for “once again protecting Minnesota families and businesses from tax increases” while pledging that he will not take part in an expanded Medicare assistance program that would have the state spend $188 million to leverage $1.4 billion from the federal government. “ ... Any recovery will be stopped in its tracks if the next governor ‘opts in’ to Obamacare ...”, Emmer remarked. He also said the 2010 session represents “another wasted opportunity due to failed Democratic leadership.”
Not to be ignored are comments from Tom Horner of the Independence Party. “The budget defers every major decision to next year while imposing higher costs on businesses and new burdens on schools and cities. ... This is a budget built on gimmicks and near fraud.”
Regardless of how true Horner’s point may be, it’s clear opportunities for budget deals were limited considering the combination of DFL leadership, a no-tax-increase Republican governor and an election year. Yes, a deal did get done, but it’s hard to see it as the sort of cause for jubilation that Kelliher does.