Editorial: Dayton’s veto is another setback for Legislature

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily Herald editorial

After a brief glimmer of hope, the governor seemed to slam the door shut this week on the prospect of future cooperation between Minnesota’s warring political parties, moving an ongoing feud in a direction that will not help the vast majority of Minnesotans (regardless of their political affiliation) when next the state confronts tough budget issues. By vetoing a Republican-backed tax relief bill, Gov. Dayton to sent a signal that compromise is out of the question.

Throughout the just-concluded legislative session, Republican lawmakers had held up a business property tax reduction as the centerpiece of their jobs creation efforts. An elaborate tax reduction bill earned an early veto from the governor, but Republicans had hoped that a second, scaled-back effort — a compromise — would get his approval. That was not to be, and in his veto letter Gov. Dayton made it clear that his definition of acceptable legislation is narrow indeed. While stating that he favors tax relief for all, the governor vetoed this year’s tax relief because it was targeted to businesses. Apparently the governor would rather help no one than help a few — unless he particularly favors the few.

Email newsletter signup

It is impossible to know how much of this week’s veto represented a tit-for-tat exchange between the Democrat governor and Republican legislative leaders. What is clear is that it is likely to provoke even more ill feeling when next the Legislature is in session. Most Minnesotans have already learned that extreme partisan politics hurts everyone and helps no one. They saw it and felt it in the wake of last summer’s government shut down. The governor seems bent on continuing the pattern.

Next year, lawmakers and the governor will again confront a thorny budget situation, one that Republicans and Democrats are unlikely to view the same way. Unless they quickly start showing signs of working together, the two parties are likely to leave Minnesota and Minnesotans in the lurch.