Legislative Republicans are mad. Really mad. Their top priority for this year’s session fell to Governor Mark Dayton’s veto pen yesterday — their package of business tax cuts.
In fact, here’s what State Senator Julianne Ortman had to say about this yesterday:
“He vetoed our highest priority,” said Ortman said, who also is deputy majority leader. “I think there will be consequences. I think that he has lost the trust of many of my colleagues in the Legislature.”
That may well be true, of course. The real question is if such anger is justified.
Is it unusual for one side or the other to get shut out on their top priority for a session? Hardly. All you have to do is go all the way back to last year — when Gov. Dayton’s top priority was to close the state’s sizable deficit using a balanced package that consisted of about 75% spending cuts and 25% revenue increases. Did he get that? No way — the final deal instead borrowed from our schools and sold out future tobacco settlement revenues.
Yet, despite that, Dayton has worked with Republicans and agreed to compromise on some significant issues — including permitting and health and human services reforms. Dayton has also indicated willingness to sign some elements of the Republicans’ tax bill into law.
That’s the nature of divided government. Your top priority is probably going to be real low on the other side’s list. But the job description isn’t to punt when the top priority is off-the-table. Real leaders double down their efforts in those times and do the best they can for their party and their state. Too many Republicans seem content at this point to walk away with nothing — no tax bill, no bonding bill, and no Vikings stadium. Minnesotans should expect better.