Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Our perpetually petulant governor - Part MCMLXXXII

Given the latest MN legislative session ended without nearly $700 million in funding for roads and bridges being passed, both parties consistently pointed to a silver lining: The overwhelming bipartisan support for tax relief.

Per Susan Closmore, Director of Public Affairs with the House Republican Caucus, the bill passed by the House and Senate "provides $825 million in tax relief over the next three years, including more than a half billion in ongoing and permanent tax cuts." The primary beneficiaries of this legislation includes college graduates with student debt, farmers, families with young children and veterans. Of the 200 legislators to cast a vote on this bill, 178 (or 89%!!!!) voted to approve this measure. It seemed a mere formality that Governor Mark Dayton would go ahead and sign the bill.

Ah, but if we've learned one thing from this governor, nothing is conventional or routine.

Gov. Mark Dayton followed through on his pledge to veto a $260 million package of tax cuts at midnight Monday.

The veto came after Republican legislators again urged the governor to sign the bill, which would cut rates for a variety of taxpayers, including farmers, working families, veterans and student-loan debtors.

While Dayton said he supported many of the bill’s provisions, his administration caught an error that officials said would have cost the state treasury $101 million over the next three years. He also insisted that legislators renew a sales tax exemption for the Minnesota State High School League that funded scholarships for low-income athletes, a change accidentally left out.

Said errors were brought to the attention of House and Senate leadership. House Speaker Daudt said on my radio program this past Sunday that they had zero issue with rectifying those items. Not good enough for Dayton, I guess.

The so-called pocket veto, in which the governor takes no action and lets the measure expire, abruptly reset negotiations between Dayton and legislative leaders for a special session. In order to call a legislative session, Dayton wants to fix the tax measure, but also is seeking millions of dollars in new spending for the University of Minnesota, clean-water projects and a new light-rail line from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.

If I didn't know better, it would appear that the governor is holding the tax bill hostage in an effort to coerce more spending in a special session.....the very thing he insisted two weeks ago he would not do.

The dictionary definition of the term "erratic" includes "having no certain or definite course; wandering; not fixed:" I'll let you decide if that word is apropos here.


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