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Carrots vs. sticks
Dayton and the administration dove headlong into another challenge about two months ago when he presented the most comprehensive tax overhaul in a generation, including new sales tax on business services. Despite a year of meetings and preparation, the plan endured relentless criticism even as Smith and his revenue commissioner embarked on a parade of private meetings to address concerns of business leaders. Dayton ditched the plan after just six weeks, but at a recent Chamber of Commerce event this week he delivered a blistering critique of their efforts to sink the plan.
“She’s better with the carrot and I am better with the stick,” Dayton said.
“It’s not my job to make him be less Mark Dayton,” Smith said. “It’s my job help him to be as successful as he can possibly be. He needs to be who he is. That’s why people respect him so much.”
The most pressing question for Smith is, What’s next?
Many allies are pressing her to launch a bid for Minneapolis mayor, pledging money and support.
“She just moves with great ease among all those different segments of society,” said Sam Kaplan, the ambassador to Morocco.
“You feel good about Tina, and you want to buy whatever it is she is selling,” added Sylvia Kaplan.
For now, Smith said, she is firmly focused on her work at the Capitol.
“I have a great job right now and I am 100 percent focused on this job and not the next job.”
Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044