Of all the descriptions of the 2019 session of the Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce seems to have hit it best: Mixed results; issues teed up for 2020 session.
Minnesota Chamber President Doug Loon said in a statement that it was good news for all Minnesotans that policymakers overall rejected costly new taxes and mandates that would have significantly increased the cost of doing business in Minnesota.
However, he also pointed to “a number of proposals – both helpful and harmful to Minnesota employers – (that) fell by the wayside. That is the nature of divided government.”
Gov. Tim Walz, who said the approved budget will improve lives of residents in every corner of the state, said Minnesota showed that divided government does not mean a standstill.
“We set out to make investments in education, health care, and community prosperity and that’s exactly what we achieved,” he said in a statement. “Minnesota is showing the rest of the nation that Republicans and Democrats can still find compromise and work together to get things done.
But House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, saw the session in a different light, and said a special session was forced by Democrats’ demands for tax increases and followed close-door meetings between what he called a “tribunal” of Walz, Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.
Daudt said the public was left out of the process at the end, when entire bills were decided behind closed doors and the largest budget bill was publicly released for the first time several hours after the special session began.
Daudt called the process at the end of the session unacceptable, with Republicans making changes to improve the process for legislators and the public next session.
How can two people see the outcome so differently? We believe party lines have a lot to do with it.
So, Loon gets the award for best description of the session, as a number of issues will be back before lawmakers next time around.
In the meantime, we hope Walz and Daudt can each return with the same eye glass prescription that will help both to see more clearly.