It's on now!
Well it wasn't totally unpredictable that this Minnesota legislative session would be an entertaining one. On one side you have the Republicans controlling both chambers of the Legislature for the first time ever. On the other, you have a Democrat Governor who's beginning to exhibit some of the bizarre behavior (i.e recently calling the GOP budget plan "barbaric") which earned him Time magazine's title of worst U.S. Senator back in 2006.
Naturally, the DFL as a whole is being less than forthright regarding the GOP's budget proposal of $34 billion. You're probably hearing such statements like "all cuts" budget, which is the most dishonest. The fact is the Republican budget is 6% more than last biennium, when the budget was $32 billion. So in essence, the GOP has compromised by increasing spending as opposed to their initial inclination of rolling back to 2009 numbers. As such, Governor Mark Dayton has also had to come down from the ridiculous proposal of $37 billion.
Of course the one seemingly insurmountable stalemate remaining is in regards to increasing taxes. Mark Dayton's signature issue in the 2010 campaign was to increase taxes on couples making $250,000 per year and individuals making $150,000 annually (i.e. what Democrats call "the wealthy"). Ahhhh, a couple of issues there. First, a good number of folks who fall into that income range are those who run small businesses. It's rather difficult to expand one's business if their proverbial legs are cut out from under them. Why just yesterday someone requested a case study of a state which raised taxes and created private sector jobs. Might wanna step on that one, since the session is slated to end on May 23. Secondly, another group which falls into the aforementioned income category are highly paid professionals. However, they have been amongst the hardest hit in these days of high unemployment. Rather difficult to rely on revenue from a source that may very well dry up in a matter of months.
On the other side of the aisle, House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove), with many in the GOP caucus standing alongside him, reiterated his party's pledge to not raise taxes, period.
Based on all that, it would appear a near certainty that the session will not end as scheduled on May 23. There's also a fighting chance that a special session would not yield an agreement either. From there, the only option remaining would be a full government shutdown.
I guess we could say this is actually one thing Mark Dayton knows well: shutting down offices.