Earlier this afternoon, I wrote that Phyllis Kahn sided with Keith Downey while (gently) telling Rep. Winkler that he was wrong:
“Rep. Winkler, who is almost never wrong, is wrong on this one.”
As strange as that exchange was, this video might just be stranger:
Here’s the transcript from Sen. Cohen’s March 27th speech:
SEN. COHEN: We’re going to be passing a budget that it billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars and at a level that we’ve never done before in the history of the state. The 12-13 budget will be $34.33 billions of dollars in general fund dollars taxed to the citizens of Minnesota. The 10-11 budget two years ago was $30.171 billion, I believe.
So the difference is over $4 billion, I believe. The largest state general fund budget ever, ever, ever, in the history of the state of Minnesota.
The numbers don’t lie. It’s impossible to honestly characterize this as “the Republicans’ all-cuts budget.” Spending $4 billion dollars more during the 2012-13 biennium than is being spent during the 2010-11 biennium is a pile of additional money.
Sen. Dave Thompson agrees in this statement:
Governor Mark Dayton and Democrats in the legislature continue to portray our budget solution as ‘all cuts’ and not balanced. Yet on the Senate floor, DFL Senator Dick Cohen criticized Republicans for proposing the largest biennial general fund expenditure in the history of the state. He correctly recognizes the nearly $4 billion increase in spending from the 2010-11 budget to the proposed 2012-13 budget. The video speaks for itself. Governor Dayton has our complete, balanced budget on his desk. Governor Dayton, sign the bills.
Gov. Dayton can ignore everyone, including what everyone is saying, including what a senior member of the Senate, is saying. He can veto all of the omnibus spending bills and send the legislature into a special session. Minnesota’s Constitution gives him that authority.
Gov. Dayton best be forewarned, however, that that clip will be played in every swing district across the state for people who vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s vetoes.
Doug Grow wrote that the GOP has a messaging problem. Quite the contrary, I’d argue. The reality is that, between Gov. Dayton saying that he’s willing to shut the government down into 2012 and Sen. Cohen saying that this would be the biggest general fund budget in Minnesota’s history, I’d argue that the DFL has a major messaging problem.
The DFL will undoubtedly argue that Sen. Cohen’s words are being taken out of context. That isn’t a credible argument because “$34.33 billion” in spending is the same whether Sen. Cohen said this in March or whether he said them an hour ago.
I suspect that Sen. Cohen wouldn’t repeat that speech now. That’s because I’m certain Sen. Cohen has gotten a talking to since making that speech.
This is a big thing. This isn’t the type of messaging that the DFL needs to defend right now. Make no mistake either. This is something that the DFL will have to defend.
If Gov. Dayton vetoes the spending bills, like it appears he’ll do, he’ll need to answer to Minnesotans why he vetoed the biggest budget in Minnesota history. Good luck with that.