Lawmakers and the governor spent much of Tuesday trying to spin the just-concluded legislative session. For the most part, newspaper editorial boards weren’t buying it. The DFL legislators, the Republican minority and Gov. Tim Pawlenty all received failing grades.
A look at some of today’s judgments:
The St. Cloud Times:
Of course, he’s successful with it thanks largely to just enough Republican legislators who either are so enamored with “no new taxes” they don’t read their own local property tax bills, or they are politically fearful of what Pawlenty will do to them should they vote against his fiscal wishes.
Either way, they failed to do their jobs.
And then there is the DFL and its leadership.
From the day he delivered his State of the State speech, they were incessantly critical of the governor’s budgeting plans, but noticeably short on their own detailed solutions. Beyond across-the-board cuts, they seemed to offer few ideas that truly reformed how the state does business.
Minnesotans deserve better than a DFL-controlled House and Senate jamming a tax bill through the Legislature late Monday and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who threatens to make cuts on his own, on budget and the DFL tax bill.
In a time when the state needed leaders with vision and the ability to have spirited, healthy debate on issues which will shape our state for years to come, we got partisan bickering, stubbornness and, it seems, no one with an ability or voice strong enough to ask the Legislature to think beyond the next year or two.
The governor might think he’s won because he will exercise his constitutional authority to cut and modify the budget to his liking, and will do so without going along with Democratic tax increases. But Democrats also are smiling because they believe they can blame the governor, not their own legislative failure, for the deep cuts in vital funding that will be felt in every city, school district and college campus in the state.
If the governor and his Democratic antagonists see the legislative stalemate as a win-win situation in political terms, they should understand that the people of Minnesota are the losers. The governor and Democratic leaders should be embarrassed not only by wasting 19 weeks in St. Paul, but also by engaging in a dizzying, post-session spin cycle regarding their culpability.
How state funding is distributed is now in the hands of one person, rather than determined through a series of compromises by many leaders.
Good? Bad? That’s up to you, but most people vote for legislators because they want representation. For a Republican Party worrying a lot lately about disenfranchised voters, it sure seems to be a move that will disenfranchise voters.