Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in the lawsuit, one thing is abundantly clear. Gov. Dayton didn’t (and hasn’t) negotiated in good faith during the so-called budget session. When Republicans finished their budget targets ahead of schedule, they did that so Gov. Dayton’s administration could participate in final negotiations. Gov. Dayton refused to participate until the 11th hour, virtually assuring a special session. Now that the lawsuit is heading towards a final resolution (hopefully), Gov. Dayton is pretending like he’s fought fair. He hasn’t.
In fact, he’s made statements that only a dishonest politician could make, saying “Anybody who is going to try to sabotage somebody else’s initiatives, and it goes both ways, because of spite from previous altercations is really doing a disservice to Minnesota and should be called out for doing so.”
First, sabotaging other people’s initiatives doesn’t go both ways. It points in one direction only. Hint: it doesn’t point in the Legislature’s or the Judiciary’s direction. Gov. Dayton signed the GOP tax bill that he’d agreed to. If he hadn’t agreed to that specific language, Gov. Dayton wouldn’t have called the special session. That’s the most leverage a governor has during negotiations.
Further, Gov. Dayton hasn’t attempted to reduce the regulatory jungle, especially with regard to pipeline construction or mining. Had he done what President Trump’s been doing, Minnesota’s economy would be flourishing instead of treading water. If Minnesota’s economy was flourishing, we could ‘afford’ a bigger tax relief package with ease.
Finally, Gov. Dayton has really only been the governor of the Twin Cities and Duluth. He hasn’t been a pro-Iron Range governor. He definitely hasn’t been a pro-rural Minnesota governor. (If he had, the DFL wouldn’t be virtually extinct in places like Alexandria, Brainerd, Crookston and Detroit Lakes. Gov. Dayton has sided with the Metrocrat wing of the DFL so often that the DFL might qualify as an endangered specie in rural Minnesota after the 2018 election.
This fight isn’t helping the DFL’s gubernatorial candidates. First, it isn’t that the Twin Cities media will ask them about Gov. Dayton’s bad faith negotiating tactics. It’s that voters will wonder whether the DFL will resort to these tactics if they’re elected. Hint: They definitely would. Each day that it’s out there, people will question whether the DFL is committed to bringing people together.
As he’s done before, Gov. Dayton reneged on a promise he’d made to GOP leadership. That’s why, if anyone is guilty of sabotaging “somebody else’s initiatives,” it’s Gov. Dayton. Gov. Dayton created this crisis by not negotiating in good faith. Now he expects Republicans to trust him? I don’t think so.