Feeding the Fish Legislative Style

The staging of the optics for the forthcoming conflict between Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) and the Republican-controlled legislature is merely a feeding frenzy of red meat to the Republican base. As we have already seen Republicans have passed bills, sent them to the governor, the governor has vetoed, and provided information in the veto message about why he took this action. Republicans are attempting to fire a broadside at the governor expecting him to recoil and relinquish ground on each measure. This is where Dayton must prove his resolve and resiliency.

Today, both houses of the legislature will continue their salvos, but as these shots are recoiling from off the governor’s office, they (Republicans) need to know Dayton remains unscathed. The activities this week are structured to occur prior to the Governor’s fishing opener on Saturday. Despite the fact, the governor will be joined by the legislative leadership in his boat, we doubt much will be accomplished. This week is all about posturing, next week will be the same process proving Republicans are committed to their positions and then next weekend will be when the two sides sit down to negotiate.

As we have learned from these conference committee actions, which are advancing only with Republican position, DFLers are not included in the process what-so-ever. This is not a surprise. The DFL is in the minority. They lost the election, now they need to win the rhetorical debate because they will not win any points on the legislative floor.

The proposals advanced by Republicans have one clear purpose, reduce spending to facilitate tax cuts for the affluent. The across the board losses are undermining base funding in many areas. If the erosion continues certain areas will reach a tipping point, and while the budget bills seem to be structured to support the programs we learned from the last budget cycle the programs suffer in favor of the administrative costs and it is a slippery slope down to zero.

It is a traditional Republican approach is to starve government on the vine, prove it is inadequate in its provision of services and a cause of frustration for the public. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now we will be watching out for which bills become the vehicles for the next barrage.

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