Regardless of how policy makers would like to characterize the session, there is a phrase that comes to mind by American author H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.”The 2012 legislative session was disappointing not only for what they did, but also for what they failed to do. For the first time in 38 years both the House and Senate were controlled by Republicans who ran on a promise to reduce the size of government and provide tax relief to hard working Minnesotans. In January Republicans gathered at the State Capitol to present an “aggressive” reform agenda which called for tax relief and government reform. Early in the session the budget forecast brought news of a billion dollar budget surplus. This should have cleared the way for swift progress and a speedy conclusion to the session, yet it took the conservative majority three months to send their first tax reform bill to Gov. Dayton.
Rather than working to enact the priorities that got them elected; Republican legislators let Gov. Dayton set the agenda and wasted time on meaningless hearings, meetings with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, and approving a long list of public pork projects.
In the end GOP lawmakers failed to accomplish any of their major goals and succumbed to Gov. Dayton’s desire to increase the state’s debt and approve a taxpayer funded billion dollar sports palace.
Phil Krinkie is the President of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota.