When it comes to pointing fingers and passing blame for the budget stalemate in St. Paul, Gov. Mark Dayton has done well. In fact, it has become for him almost an art form. But the truth of the matter is that if anyone is digging in his heels and not budging in the budget negotiations, it is the governor himself.
Consider: On Thursday, GOP legislative leaders presented the governor with yet another proposal. In an effort to solve the budget crisis and avert a government shutdown, the Republicans offered to drop their call for $200 million in tax cuts if the governor would abandon his call for $1.8 billion in tax increases. What’s more, they said that if the governor agreed, the money raised from eliminating those tax cuts would be spent on Mr. Dayton’s priorities — education, the environment, transportation, Local Government Aid, and flood and disaster relief.”
The governor’s reaction? No deal.
In fact, the governor went so far as to call it a “non-proposal” and compared the Republican’s actions to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Well, if the GOP leaders are rearranging the chairs, then surely Gov. Dayton must be the iceberg itself — frozen to a proposal and not willing to change.
The whole idea of negotiating is that one side offers something, and the other side offers something in return. The GOP gave up a fundamental component of conservative principles (cutting high taxes is good for the economy) and Governor Dayton couldn't even be bothered to look at the offer. If Dayton follows through on his threat to shut the government down (if he actually has the courage) the blame for the pain will be all his.