Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) laid out the requirements, he has for calling a Special Session. The list of requests include: correction of language in the Tax Bill which will cause the state to lose $101 million in tax revenue and spend an additional $243 million for bonding. These provisions are part of the overall package Dayton demands prior to calling the Special Session.
Today, Dayton clearly stated the agreement must be reached prior to Monday, the last day available for action on the Tax Bill. At risk is the $260 contained in the bill including a suspension of an automatic inflator on tobacco, which reduces economic pressures on smoking and loses an addition $26 million from the State’s General Fund. Dayton’s principal negotiation is with Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-30A, Crown). The problem is Daudt is not his own man. When Daudt’s encourages Dayton to sign the Tax Bill first and then the sides can discuss the rest of the issues for the Special Session, the governor should be cautious.
Now we’re not calling Daudt a liar, let’s just say his words are in doubt. President Ronald Reagan’s (R) adage for negotiating with the Soviet Union regarding nuclear arms agreements, was “Trust, but verify.” Dayton will be completely justified in applying the same approach when addressing any agreements with Daudt The veracity of Daudt’s words is in doubt and his integrity largely suspect, mainly, because he doesn’t carry the weight of his caucus into any bargain. The reality is, he must return to the cloister of his caucus for their approval of any proposal and compromise is not acceptable.
Any agreement struck by Daudt is more contingent on votes from the minority caucus then it is his own majority caucus. House DFLers should not be so short-sighted as to be duped this way again. Republicans are bargaining with the Tax Bill compared to the Bonding and Transportation Bills. If the Tax Bill goes unsigned then Republicans have nothing to carry into the November elections. If they want to retain the Tax Bill, but fail to agree in four days then everything will be on the table in the Special Session and this means the public will fully see what Republicans propose and how all of the pieces fit together in the full light of day, instead of secretive, behind closed doors negotiations.
We still think the best course of action is to veto the Tax Bill and make everyone start again. As Glenn Beck says, “Hit the Reset Button.”