Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One party rule is hard

I'll give MN Gov. Mark Dayton this much: he can be equally acerbic with members of his own party.

The DFL governor, making his first Capitol appearance since his early February hip surgery, said it is "unacceptable" that the Legislature has not yet allowed him to put the tax cuts in law.

He said the delay was all the fault of his fellow Democrats, "which is unfortunate."

The root of the problem, as Dayton described it, is a dispute over a $90 million Senate office building and parking ramps.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, has made clear he wants the House to finish its sign off on the building plans. The House has not yet been willing to do so.

Dayton said that difference has caused the Senate to delay passage of the tax cut bill.

Last week, Bakk flatly denied that he was blocking progress on other issues for sake of the building, claiming such a thought never even occurred to him. Dayton made clear Tuesday he did not believe that.

On Tuesday, asked if he was responsible for the current conundrum given that he accepted a tax bill that included the business taxes he now wants to dump, the Senate office building and did not include the tax cuts for middle income Minnesotans he now demands, Dayton's answer was simple.

"Sure," he said. He added: "And I'm doing everything to correct it now."

There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, lay the responsibility at the feet of the Senate and the haggling over their Taj Mahal new office building (which Dayton appears to have done). The Senate is not up for reelection this year, so make it appear the DFL governor and the Dem controlled House are the ones trying to save the day but are being obstructed by Bakk & Co. Their hope is it'll strengthen their reelection chops. Secondly, the GOP candidates for governor have a ready made sound bite. Did you see the bit where Dayton was essentially asked if he bears any responsibility for this conundrum of trying to cut taxes that he signed into law last session? The first word out of his mouth was "Sure." That's pretty much all you need.

Oh, but the Republicans weren't let off the hook. When asked about the continuing criticism of the state health exchange MNSure, Dayton responded by saying opposition was partisan and "dastardly."

The man is never short on hyperbole, is he?


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