THUMBS UP: Gov. Mark Dayton made a smart move by giving the Legislature a 10-day window on Tuesday to send him a full set of budget bills, but it's up to the Legislature to get together, compromise and send him one, clear-cut version. The governor set a deadline for next Friday for policymakers to get their work done before end-of-session budget talks get under way. As of now, however, the House and Senate have passed different sets of budget bills and have named negotiators to reconcile the differences. "They're trying to negotiate with him but with two different positions," said veteran Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls. "It's our job to put out a bill and take it to the governor; you don't take multiple options to him. The governor has been pretty clear that he wants one bill before he starts negotiations." Dayton's deadline puts pressure on an already-stressed Legislature, but it should motivate them to get something done.
Quieting 'birther' movement
THUMBS UP: President Barack Obama on Wednesday, in an effort to silence the "birther" critics - most notably, Donald Trump - produced a detailed Hawaii birth certificate, confirming his legitimacy to hold office. It's a good move if, for no other reason, that it means we can now move on and put this issue behind us. Obama released a shorter, legally binding "certification of live birth" in 2008, but it wasn't enough to persuade members of the "birther" movement. We don't know what other proof people need, but hopefully this puts an end to this so-called controversy.
Mileage tax - no thanks
THUMBS DOWN: The state is looking into ways to bring in more money to help pay for future highway and bridge needs, but the mileage tax idea seems to be more of a punishment than a solution, especially to the thousands of people in southwest Minnesota who commute to work every day. Residents of area towns - whether it's Tracy, Canby, Minneota, Cottonwood, Balaton, or Ivanhoe - commute to and from Marshall on a daily basis to work and/or shop and a mileage tax - which would replace the current gas tax - would result in a major hit to their pocketbooks. If the state is in a position where it needs more funding for roads, or thinks the current pot of transportation money will someday run dry, it's our guess commuters would much rather see a gas tax increase than a system that makes them pay more than others just because they have to drive more.