After the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Gov. Dayton’s favor, he tried spinning the situation as best he could, saying “It is time for us all to agree that this dispute has been concluded and resume working together for the best interests of Minnesota.” The legislature quickly said, essentially, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’ They said that because Gov. Dayton negotiated a budget settlement in bad faith. Gov. Dayton pushed this lawsuit in his attempt to intimidate the legislature into caving on tax relief. Thankfully, the legislature didn’t relent. Here’s something worth considering, Gov. Dayton. The legislature worked in the best interest of their constituents. They did their best to enact much-needed tax relief while reforming teacher licensure.
The first thing that the legislature will do when the next session convenes on Feb. 20, 2018 is pass a budget restoring their budget. It will sail through the House and pass the Senate. That’s when things get interesting. Will Gov. Dayton veto that funding, setting up a high-stakes showdown on an override vote? That’s a lose-lose situation for Gov. Dayton. If he vetoes the funding, it’s likely that he’ll get overridden.
That’s because I don’t think it’s likely that outstate DFL legislators will vote to end their political careers to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto. If the DFL legislators vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, they can kiss their political careers goodbye. Republicans should portray each DFL legislator as representing Gov. Dayton first, their special interest allies second and their constituents somewhere down their list of priorities.
If Gov. Dayton signs the appropriation, he will have won a victory in court but lost the PR war. Pyrrhic victories don’t make for great legacies. Either way, Gov. Dayton’s victory will be short-lived.
Top legislative leaders are refusing to make key payments on a new Senate office building, an action that could hurt the state’s credit rating, and they won’t allow the executive branch to use nonpartisan staff to draft proposals. “I am not willing to bail the governor out,” Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Thursday. “He needs to own that.”
This video perfectly explains what Gov. Dayton has done with his line-item veto:
Republicans need to not let Gov. Dayton off the hook. Gov. Dayton is a lame duck governor who must be thinking about what his legacy will be. At this point, a significant portion of his legacy will be shutting down government once and calling special sessions to finish the budget. Will he want to preside over a downgrading of Minnesota’s credit rating, too? That will be on him if he vetoes February’s appropriation funding the legislature.
Each time Republicans have stood up to him over the budget, Gov. Dayton has lost stature while losing the fight. There’s no reason to think he won’t lose this fight, too.
Finally, the Supreme Court disgraced themselves yesterday. They didn’t rule on whether Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto achieved an unconstitutional result, which is the central question. They didn’t rule on that question while pretending to exercise judicial restraint. They exercised judicial cowardice, not judicial restraint. They did that because they didn’t want to hand Gov. Dayton a political defeat.
That’s pathetic. Whatever it is, it isn’t justice.