The governor and the DFL-controlled Legislature are now at full-scale war. Judging by some of the comments at the Capitol, the situation is being met with shock and surprise. Outside the Capitol, it’s something we could see coming a mile away.
They didn’t talk much — at least face-to-face — and it always seemed as though each was trying to navigate the other into a political corner. Watching some of the Capitol press corps’ Twitter feeds on Thursday night, it appears the discussion is more about who this “plays” better for politically, rather than what’s in the best interest of Minnesotans who don’t make their living by getting elected or appointred to state government gigs.
Politics in Minnesota’s Steve Perry provided a transcript of an exchange between the combatants that does not inspire confidence on Main St., Minnesota.
Hanson: “Rep. Sertich, if you have another idea, we’re listening.”
Sertich: “Commissioner Hanson, you use words like ‘agreement’ and ‘mutual’ as if you mean them, and I don’t believe you, quite honestly. What I hear you say on agreement is, we want you to agree with what the governor says, and if you don’t do that, we’ll go it alone. I don’t share the optimism from around this table. I don’t think this is funny…. If the governor goes it alone and has it his way, 113,000 Minnesotans will lose health insurance. Sixteen thousand Minnesotans will lose their jobs, and there will be cuts in education and higher tuition. That’s not funny. That’s not an agreement. I’m not optimistic.”
Hanson: “Well, Rep. Sertich, your version of agreement is us doing exactly what you want.”
Sertich: “That’s not true. We’re looking for compromise. We have compromised in many of these bills to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. We’ve cut more than you’ve cut. We’ve lowered our revenue [proposal] down to the revenue that the governor has stated is needed to balance this budget.”
And now the fallout comes, and it’s hit the poor first. MPR’s Tom Scheck reports the governor has removed $381,081,000 in general assistance, essentially rolling up the safety net for about 33,000 (number according to Rep. Paul Thissen via Twitter).
Let’s talk about this but let’s do it a little differently. Let’s put aside the political sniping for a second and let’s come up with a way to solve this problem.
(Bob is not writing on Friday)