Archived Story

Our Opinion: DFL missed goals

Published 10:19am Thursday, May 23, 2013

It’s not the things the 2013 legislative session accomplished that could get the Democrats voted out of majority control in St. Paul. It is the things they failed to accomplish.

Minnesota voters in 2012 clearly were frustrated by partisan bickering and handed Gov. Mark Dayton his request: a DFL-controlled state Legislature. He said this would allow him to fulfill campaign promises.

So the Democrats ended up with control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Governor’s Office for this session.

They did accomplish the goal of raising taxes, including higher taxes for the wealthy and on smokers. They eliminated many corporate tax loopholes. They bolstered local government aid, which rightly is called a form of property tax relief. They will allow day care providers to unionize, a measure likely aimed at creating Democrats. They gave the green light to oodles of state money to benefit Rochester’s Destination Medical Center project, $585 million to be exact. And the state will fund all-day kindergarten starting in 2014.

The brightest spot is they bridged the $627 million budget deficit without using oddball stop-gap measures or shutting down the government.

But despite all the talk about jobs, they failed to pass a budget bill that would have resulted in construction projects statewide. Apparently, they could approve selling bonds for their own gathering place, the Capitol, but not for anyone else’s.

And despite it being a major DFL goal, they failed to repay the school shift used to balance the budget two years ago, something that likely cost many Republicans their seat in St. Paul in 2010. It seems callous of Democrats to brush this issue off. It was why they were there in the first place, to fix this very issue and repay the schools.

If voters don’t like it when partisan bickering prevents lawmakers from getting the job done, they surely must dislike it when intra-party bickering prevents it.

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