Gov. Mark Dayton is no hero, says Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey.
In response to Dayton's call for a special legislative session this fall for emergency storm aid and to repeal a new tax on farm equipment repairs, Downey accused the governor of trying to look like a hero by solving problems he helped to create.
Downey wrote Wednesday:
Regular Minnesotans, who take responsibility for their actions, are starting to notice the pattern emerging from Governor Mark Dayton and his legislative initiatives.
First, he sets a political agenda for something he wants to accomplish like growing state government programs or building a new Vikings stadium.
Then, he leaves it up to others to work out the details.
Next, he holds a press conference and signs the bills that accomplish the goal (apparently without reading them).
And finally, when it’s clear the details either don’t work or are immensely unpopular with the public, he pretends he had nothing to do with the initiative, criticizes the process that created it and tries to be the hero by advocating its elimination.
Republicans have been pushing the governor to expand the scope of the special session to include the repeal all three of the new business-to-business taxes passed by the Legislature this year. Dayton responded Wednesday by warning that if the GOP won't agree to a limited agenda for the session, he won't recall lawmakers to St. Paul.
Dayton said lawmakers would have to come up with $314 million in new revenue or program cuts to offset the loss of the new taxes. There's enough money in the state coffers right now to cover the repeal of the farm equipment repair tax, he said, but not the more sweeping taxes, like the $95 million it would cost to repeal the warehouse tax.
“No one’s proposed how to do that," he told reporters Wednesday. "When Republican leadership came out six weeks ago with a proposal to repeal the warehouse tax I said, well, in order for me to consider this proposal, I’d have to know what’s the alternative source of revenue? Where’s the $95 million in spending cuts going to take place? I never got a response to that. I hear the political posturing continue about eliminating the tax."
Dayton fired off a broadside of his own at the GOP.
“That’s their mantra. ‘Eliminate the tax, eliminate the tax,’" he said. "Which is fine, but do you cut back on the all-day kindergarten? Do you cut back on early childhood scholarships? Do you, as some have suggested, raise the taxes on consumers, on clothing? No, not as far as I’m concerned.”