Don’t fall for same tricks as in last gov’t shutdown

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Point by the View by Spencer Krier

It has been two weeks since the 2015 Minnesota Legislative Session ended, but our Gov. Mark Dayton has been very busy.  In those two weeks, he vetoed three bipartisan budget bills, meaning both House Republicans and Democratic Senators approved of the bills.

Spencer Krier

Spencer Krier

The omnibus Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources finance bill passed 83-50 in the House and 35-30 in the Senate. The bill got yea votes from both our local elected officials, Rep. Peggy Bennett and Sen. Dan Sparks. The bill would have provided resources to help farmers devastated by the avian flu. The bill also included Gov. Dayton’s own agriculture buffer proposal. The compromise agreed on a 16-foot buffer strip as opposed to the 50 feet the governor proposed. This mirrors current regulations that Freeborn County enforces.  This bill also included a local-driven provision to name the Shell Rock River Trail a designated state water trail. This designation would have encouraged tourism on area lakes like Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake, plus along the Shell Rock River to the Iowa border. The bill also extended unemployment benefits, monies for our state parks and the Minnesota Zoo. All were negatively affected by Dayton’s veto.

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The omnibus Jobs and Energy bill passed with a vote of 75-9 in the House and by 34-29 in the Senate. This bill had yea votes from both our local officials, Rep. Bennett and Sen. Sparks. Gov. Dayton said he vetoed the bill because it had “inadequate funding for broadband.” Ten million dollars would have gone to Greater Minnesota broadband with 20 percent going to the city of Annandale. Our former Rep. Dan Dorman, who is Greater Minnesota broadband’s biggest supporter, urged Gov. Dayton to stand with the residents of Annandale. Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill anyway.

During this same time period Gov. Dayton in a press conference explained that GOP elected officials “Hate the pubic schools.” Gov. Dayton has repeatedly been asked to apologize for those unfair, biased and unnecessary comments. He did just the opposite. He said he would not apologize and thinks the GOP should apologize to 4-year-olds for not funding his universal pre-K. He started out claiming he was being the champion for kids with his first veto despite his own early education council having reservations about his plan. These other vetoes prove that if the governor doesn’t get his way, he’ll throw a public temper tantrum like the 4-year-olds that he wants the public to fund all day, in-school day care.

Dayton is up to the same tricks he was in 2011. He was given a deal on the budget, he called Republicans extremists, halted negotiations and blamed Republicans. We all know what happened next. The government shutdown for almost three weeks. Dayton fooled the people then and the DFL won back control of the House and Senate in 2012. With Dayton being a lame-duck, he’s got nothing to lose because he think that if he shuts down the government, the people will blame Republicans and then reward the DFL by retaining Senate control and gaining back the House in 2016.  The problem with his plan is Minnesotans will not be fooled again. These were bipartisan bills supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

Yesterday 9,451 people who work in 17 different departments for the state of Minnesota, were given layoff notices. If a shutdown occurs on July 1, remember Gov. Dayton could have avoided it all by signing all of the bipartisan budget bills.  Instead he chose to tell Minnesota, “It’s my way or the highway.” I pray our governor will work with legislators. They were elected by us and most closely reflect our values and beliefs. But if the governor doesn’t compromise with the Democrat and Republican legislators, I have faith we won’t be fooled again by Gov. Mark Dayton.