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Dayton’s timing on request is not helpful

March 16, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton this week reopened a still-sore wound by recommending that the Legislature revisit the state budget set after last year's shutdown of state government. Dayton outlined $60 million in changes in his supplemental budget, which may be designed more as an election-year gimmick than anything else.

Republicans who control the state House and Senate seemed unimpressed and a bit bewildered by Dayton's plan, which is a hodge-podge of tax hikes here, tax breaks there and reinstatement of some funding cut during last year's budget battle. The budget enacted last year is written into law and doesn't have to be adjusted just because the governor is making a request. Dayton's recommendation will not result in another shutdown.

We will say that the governor has every right to do what he is doing. We think this is more a question of respect and decorum in dealing with another branch of government and one's political opponents. After last year's bruising fight, why stir up trouble again? Lawmakers set a budget that everyone - Dayton and legislators - agreed was not ideal. But they all swallowed hard and accepted the political reality. This year's legislative session is intended to tackle bonding for statewide projects, and to deal with issues such as the Vikings stadium. There also are constitutional amendments being considered, and lawmakers also are dealing with redistricting as they contemplate re-election. That's a lot on the table. A new budget fight is unnecessary.



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