The Winners:
Minnesotans in general, Minnesota businesses, Steve Gottwalt, Amy Koch, Kurt Zellers, Dave Thompson, King Banaian, Keith Downey, GOP freshmen

The Losers:

Mark Dayton, AFSCME, MAPE, AFL-CIO, Paul Thissen, Tom Bakk, Ryan Winkler, State Parks, Contractors

Minnesotans escaped without a major tax increase, initially aimed at “the rich who weren’t paying their fair share”, then aimed at cigarette smokers of all income levels. They’re also getting some nice reforms that will help in future budget negotiations.

Minnesota businesses still pay too high an income tax but at least it isn’t getting worse. With this settled for at least another 2 years, businesses can breath a sigh of relief.

Steve Gottwalt and Dave Thompson emerged as the next generation of GOP leaders thanks to Sen. Thompson’s stout-hearted defense of conservative principles and Rep. Gottwalt’s seizing the moment to push Gov. Dayton into settling the shutdown. These gentlemen deserve high praise for being great spokesters/legislators for conservative principles.

King Banaian and Keith Downey are winners because they stood their ground on important reforms to state government’s makeup and King’s priority-based budgeting reform of the budgeting process. These gentlemen have proposed legislation that would change how government operates and how it spends money. These aren’t tiny considerations.

Speaker Zellers and Leader Koch deserve credit for keep the troops unified. It wasn’t difficult picturing scenarios where moderates could abandon the GOP on this or that vote. That they didn’t is a testimony to their whip operations and their leadership.

GOP freshmen were clear winners. Without their principled steadfastness, I’m certain that this outcome wouldn’t have happened. Despite Sen. Bakk’s criticism of GOP freshmen, they were certainly one of the driving forces behind holding things together at a time when things could’ve fallen apart.

The biggest loser was Gov. Dayton. He lost on his signature issue. Initially, Gov. Dayton wanted to raise taxes on the rich. After getting defeated on that, he tried settling for shaking down whoever he could shake down. Both attempts were defeated.

While I can’t say Republicans came out smelling like a rose, I won’t hesitate in saying that Gov. Dayton got alot less of what he wanted than the GOP got of what they wanted.

Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk, the House and Senate Minority leaders, definitely lost. It isn’t coincidence that the two offers where Gov. Dayton dropped his demands for tax increases happened when Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk weren’t in the room. They were the real villains behind the shutdown. Had this duo not been part of the negotiations, there wouldn’t have been a shutdown. This agreement says that their agenda was thoroughly rejected.

Rep. Ryan Winkler definitely lost, too. When he predicted that Republicans would cave, he stiffened Republicans’ resolve. From that point forward, there wasn’t even a slight possibility of the Republicans accepting a tax increase. From a GOP standpoint, we should thank him for his being a loose cannon and for uniting the GOP legislature.

Public employee unions took the biggest hit of this standoff. They were on the defensive much of the time. When they tried going on the offensive, their ideas were rejected. When they tried ambushing King Banaian and John Pederson on the SCSU campus, they couldn’t even fill the theater a fifth of the way full.

Unfortunately, the losers weren’t limited to politicians who tried ignoring the will of the people. Unfortunately, this unnecessary shutdown hurt state parks, tourists, bars and building contractors. Each suffered from the shutdown, with the construction industry and state parks being particularly hard hit through no fault of their own.

I can’t repeat this often enough or emphasize it vigorously enough. This shutdown wouldn’t have happened if Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk hadn’t put taxes back into Gov. Dayton’s final pre-shutdown proposal. If they hadn’t interfered, construction projects wouldn’t have lost a month of construction time, state parks would’ve stayed open and 22,000 state employees wouldn’t have gotten furloughed.
Gov. Dayton isn’t guiltless. Anything but. Gov. Dayton could’ve instantly rejected Sen. Bakk’s and Rep. Thissen’s tax increase demands. That would’ve stopped the shutdown before it started.

When the dust settles, both parties’ activists will be upset. Some might be downright dispirited. That’s understandable. Both had won a generational victory, the DFL by electing their first governor since 1986, the GOP by winning the Senate for the first time ever.

The difference going forward is which party has the more appealing policies. At this point, that’s the Minnesota GOP. I’ve only touched on a few of the reforms that Republicans passed and that Gov. Dayton vetoed. If they do a good job highlighting those reforms this summer and, if necessary, during next year’s campaign, I’m confident that people will keep the gavels in their hands.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Responses to “Shutdown Winners & Losers”

  • Rex Newman says:

    Someone noted that not only did our relatively inexperienced troops and leadership prevail, they faced a much tougher DFL / Media onslaught. While their hard work and courage were a big part of this, this also reflects the quality of the message. No mushy Carlsonism, health impact fee Pawlentyism, they turned the most honest, realistic budget in decades.

    Meanwhile, the DFL had to defend the bloated bureaucracy they had built over the decades, with moderate GOP help here and there. That not having a pointless $30 certificate to sell beer could empty shelves at gunpoint could not be explained. Lori S. didn’t even try.

    Honesty was the indeed the best policy, and it took down a well-funded veteran blue state political-media machine. The final bill will be more money, less reform, but given history and the odds, this is one of the worst DFL defeats ever. Worse, even they can’t get rid of Dayton until 2014. Speaking of which, is it possible we’re looking at the State’s first female Governor – Amy Koch?

  • Rex Newman says:

    Well, it could be Yvonne Prettner Solon…

  • Gary Gross says:

    Actually, Rex, there’s good news on the reform front. According to tonight’s Almanac, a number of reforms are very much on the table. I’d be surprised if a number of them didn’t make it into the final package.

    It’s fair to say that few conservatives like thinking about spending $35,000,000,000 this biennium. That said, if we get, say, King’s priority-based budgeting bill or his Sunset Commission implemented, that’ll change Minnesota’s budgets for years to come.

    I’ve heard rumors that Steve Gottwalt’s health care bill is getting consideration, too. (I’m proud of my legislators.)

    As for Sen. Koch, I’m thinking that there’s lots of options available to her. CD-6 apparently has an opening. Governor is certainly an attractive option for Sen. Koch.

    Then again, I wouldn’t rule out Marty running again, Paul Kohls running again & quite possibly Laura Brod running.

    Whatever the case, our gubernatorial bench isn’t thin.

  • Rich Noe says:

    I think there is a substantial danger of the Republicans losing their majority over this deal. Democrats, after all, will vote almost any incumbent (or yellow dog) back into office no matter how he or she votes.

    The conservative activists and independents might just lose heart and feel betrayed. In the wonderful Minnesota tradition of passive-aggressive “action” they might just sit out the next election feeling like “it doesn’t matter”. Or they might vote third-party, spur on primaries, or otherwise express their anger and frustration.

    I think my most excellent Senator (Dave Thompson) said it best during his radio days: “We’re all populists now.”

    Much of it depends on the details of the final package!

  • Gary Gross says:

    Rich, then it’s your responsibility, & everyone’s responsibility, to not live up to the title of being the Stupid Party. Sitting on our hands bought us 4 yrs. of Speaker Pelosi & 4 yrs. of Barack Obama. If people want to kill this nation, (No, I’m not being melodramatic about that) just vote third party or sit this out to ‘teach them a lesson.’

    Conservatives did that in 2006 & 2008. How are those decisions working out for Minnesota & the United States?

    It’s important that we emphasize the fact that Republicans got alot of reforms passed that would’ve changed things if we’d controlled the Governor’s Mansion. We don’t, which means we finish with this product. Be of good cheer, though, because a number of important reforms likely will get into the final budget bill, reforms that’ll save state taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in health insurance costs, reforms that’ll change budgeting forever.

    I know that isn’t glamorous but it’ll make a substantial difference if we don’t blow it by ‘teaching them a lesson’.

  • J. Ewing says:

    I’m not as concerned about borrowing and spending another $2 billion that we don’t have. I am very concerned that this is another bong hit of one-time money that nonetheless sets the baseline for the next budget. If the DFL retakes the legislature the massive tax hikes to pay for that are a certainty with Gov. Dayton still office. If they do not, the pressure on Republicans to raise taxes will be intense.

    I still say the only solution at this point, after the special session convenes, is to pass the lights on Bill at last year’s budget of $30 billion(so the government can go back to work and so he can’t shut down again), and then start “reworking” the budget bills from there. “Gov., we promised to eliminate the policy issues and respect your priorities. We just have to go through every bill and make certain we have done that.”

  • eric z says:

    Gary, I believe in your above comment you use the word “reform” loosely. In a partisan way.

    The reform of fairly taxing the rich has to wait, because of imediments from the right flank.

    I suppose one person’s “reform” is another’s dismal disaster.

    The DFL problem with taxing the rich fairly is they have not gotten it done.

    The GOP problem with taxing the rich fairly is that the DFL has not gotten it done, and the GOP is why.

    Next election cycle the issue will reemerge, or do you, Gary and readers, think differently?

  • eric z says:

    The one name missing from winners and losers is “Wilf.”

    Did that New Jersey family lose for the time being before the shutdown?

    In calling a special session limited by agreement to the budget and not ancillary issues, the Wilfs are ancillary.

    Or will the GOP have a surprise there? Or with Racino?

  • Chad Quigley says:

    So nothing is finalized yet the GOP pundits are touting this as a win? How does spending an additional $5 billion count as a win when the GOP ran on $30 or $31 billion? Is it just because they are going to do it with the help of smoke and mirrors and not raising taxes is what makes it a win?

    You keep saying “if” the policy changes are accepted but what “if” they are not accepted? Dayton is going to get a bunch of the spending he wanted and the GOP might get some reforms if they are lucky. Will the GOP walk out on the deal or will they sign it to be nice and say to the public “we’ll get them next time”?

    I respectfully disagree that it is our responsibilty not to vote third party, stupid party or whatever party you want to call it. It is the GOP’s responsibility to put up actual conservative candidates that will stand up for conservative principles so we can vote for them, not just candidates that have the R behind their name and we are told to vote because of that R. Voting for the R just so they can vote like a D doesn’t do us any good.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Chad, the GOP didn’t run on spending $31 billion. They said that they wouldn’t raise taxes & that they wouldn’t spend more than what was in the state’s checkbook. On that, I’ll admit that they didn’t do a great job.

    That said, the odds of them putting important reforms in place is pretty decent. The thought that Republicans would get everything they wanted in a divided government is just plain foolish. Should they have gotten more? Definitely. Does this budget represent a GOP victory? No. Does it represent a major defeat for Gov. Dayton? Definitely.

    If you want to vote third party, you’ll betray the movement that’s started. Most importantly, you’ll give the DFL total control of Minnesota so they can destroy Minnesota’s economy. Do you really want that? Yeah. That’s teaching em a lesson. A lesson that we’ll pay the price for for a generation. Keep fighting. Don’t take the short view.

    PS- there’s a huge difference between the GOP & the DFL. Dayton, coupled with a DFL legislature, would’ve a)passed every social experiment bunch of crap imaginable, b) raised taxes to 13.95% & spent that $39 billion.

    Wake up & pay attention.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, the next 2 election cycles won’t be good for the DFL. Taxing the rich isn’t what animates most people. It animates those who rely on government for their paychecks but few others. In shoring up the DFL’s base, they’re chasing away independents. That isn’t a bright election strategy.

    Dayton didn’t win because of policy. He won because his first ex-wife & the public employee unions paid for the biggest smear campaign in Minnesota history. If you level out the advertising playing field, Dayton would’ve lost by 5-7 points.

    The legislature is the best barometer. They’re the people who win by connecting with people in one-on-one situations. They’re the people who have to answer questions to the voters’ satisfaction.

  • eric z says:

    What will the next two election cycles hinge upon? The energizing of the embryos? Is that the GOP’s primal offering?

    Contrary to family liberty, against the real and legitimate and not made-up family values of a thinking family making decisions?

    A narrow-minded Putsch of intrusiveness into the affairs of others who are only wanting the liberty of being left to make up their own minds?

    More Kiffmeyerian busy-bodyism? Enough to choke a horse?

    I think tax the rich is on sounder grounding than being a choice-hater, a liberty-hater.

    Some may disagree …

Leave a Reply