The media is saying that Gov. Dayton’s latest offer sheet means that the shutdown is over. I’m not that certain. First, here’s Gov. Dayton’s offer:
Thus, in my continuing effort to reach agreement with you on a budget for this biennium and get Minnesota working again, I will reluctantly agree to, though I do not agree with, your signed offer sheet, dated 6/30/2011 (attached).
Gov. Dayton includes 3 conditions for his signing the GOP bill. Here they are:
First, I will rely on your public statements after the shutdown began that you have removed all of the policy issues contained on your list from our remaining negotiations and from legislative action this year…
Second, that you drop your arbitrary, 15% across-the-board reduction to the number of employees in all agencies, regardless of their funding source…
Third, that after all of the budget issues have been resolved in a special session, you support and pass a bonding bill of not less than $500,000,000 to put people back to work throughout Minnesota.
I don’t have a problem with the removal of the so-called social issues from the budget bill. There’s plenty of time to debate those issues. I’m ok with removing Keith Downey’s 15 by 15 reform with one condition: that Rep. King Banaian’s HF2 priority-based budget reform legislation, including his Sunset Commission provision, be part of the final package.
I’m ok with that because King’s bill does essentially what Rep. Downey’s bill does but does so with a department-by-department, agency-by-agency, one-piece-at-a-time approach. My bottom line is this: State government has been antiquated for a decade, if not longer. It needs to be dragged into the 21st Century, kicking and screaming if need be.
Whether we reduce the size of the workforce through Rep. Downey’s legislation, which I think is great reform legislation, or whether we do it with King’s legislation isn’t my primary worry. How we achieve fundamental structural government reform isn’t as important as that we achieve fundamental structural government reform.
If Gov. Dayton refuses to accept Rep. Downey’s legislation and Rep. Banaian’s legislation, then I’ve got serious reservations about Gov. Dayton’s proposal.
If Gov. Dayton says no to those serious reforms, then we should make the case to Minnesotans. As a messaging person, it’s exceptionally easy to argue that government should have to justify every penny of their budget every other biennium. It’s exceptionally easy saying that we should take an annual review of agencies, commissions and departments to see if they’re still needed.
I predict that, were those provisions polled by KSTP-SurveyUSA, aka SUSA, they’d get numbers similar to the polling on photo ID. That means these provisions would be supported by 70+ percent of Minnesotans, if not more.
As for the bonding bill, I’d be ok with it depending on what they want to spend money on. If it’s spending money on the Sheet Music Library, I’m opposed. If it’s building the ISILF Building on the SCSU campus, I’m fine with that. In and of itself, bonding isn’t bad policy. It’s what we get for our money that’s important.
Initially, I’m inclined to say that we should accept the proposal. It’s far from perfect but I’m ok with it if we get King’s budgeting and government reforms included in the final package.
I say that because King’s reforms have the ability to transform Minnesota’s budgeting process while cleaning out the cronyism and corruption from state government.
If Gov. Dayton isn’t willing to accept those reforms as part of the final package, then I’ve got problems with the package.
Hopefully, Gov. Dayton will accept those terms. If that happens, the GOP legislature will have accomplished alot this session, including some fundamental reforms that are badly overdue.