At least Gov. Dayton is trying

Published 10:43 am Monday, June 6, 2011

Daily Herald editorial

Give Gov. Dayton credit for this much, at least: He’s trying to resolve the state’s $5 billion budget impasse.

Dayton last week suggested that the Republican legislative majority and the governor’s office enter mediation – with each side selecting a mediator of its choice – to find a way forward before state government must shut down. The idea fell flat with Republican leaders whose position on budgeting seems inflexible. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, a Republican, was quoted as saying, “It’s our time to step up and to lead and to do the job that we were elected to do.” We appreciate Mr. Zellers’ comments, because it’s just what we have been suggesting since November 2010 when his party gained control of the Legislature. Unfortunately, it is also exactly what the Republican have failed to do. They never brought forth a coherent, unified spending and revenue plan, spent most of the legislative session engaged in social engineering and finally passed tax and spending legislation that they knew the governor would not accept. That is not leadership.

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Now they, like many Democrats, are engaged in a game of political chicken – attempting to see which party will get saddled with the blame if it comes to a government shutdown. Again, if that is leadership, it is the kind Minnesota does not need.

Mediation, which has gained popularity in recent years as a means of resolving disputes, might or might not be the best way forward. But it is, at any rate, an idea, and we salute the governor for attempting to resolve the dispute. If only all parties were as interested in doing so, it would be better for Minnesota and Minnesotans.