I was also in attendance at the Chamber's legislative forum. My take was a little different than the one presented in the Bemidji Pioneer. This is how I saw it.
At the start of this legislative session the stage was set. Times are tough, there is a recession coming on, Minnesota is one of the nation's highest-taxed states, the take from taxes is going to be down, tough choices are going to have to be made, and like past legislative sessions, the governor was going to stand by his pledge not to raise income taxes. Sen. Skoe (DFL) said that at the start of the session they presented several new spending bills and the governor signed them. Later he thought the governor was not taking them as serious about the budget work.
The Democrats split for a "listening" tour of the state. They wanted to tell the people what the government was going to "give" them if they could just get the governor and the Republicans to work with them. Often the papers never mentioned about the
Legislature working with the governor and not spending more then they had. I guess that is the way the unbiased press works.
In the end, nothing much worked out. Sen. Skoe carried on at length about how unfair it was for the governor to unallot all the good work they had done and that the executive branch is eroding the powers of the legislative branch. If they had done their job, the governor would not have to take such measures.
So there we have it; after so many promises were made, all the kids went home and the only adult left (thanks Joe) has been set up to take it on the chin and do what was left undone. Good luck, governor!
Rep. Howes (Republican) said there was talk at the end of the legislative session to make a compromise and put $500 million in bonding and add $500 million in new taxes. Boy, am I glad that one didn't go through. Remember the last politician who said, "Read my lips, no new taxes." He compromised with the Democrats and raised taxes. What happened from that is the stuff legends are made of when it comes to vile and dirty politics.