Compromise. Now why didn't we think of that?
In his letter to Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers penned Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton came up with the grand idea of compromising to get the budget balanced by Monday.
It's a splendid idea but hardly a renaissance-type one.
With a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature, it's obvious compromise is the only way this state's budgetary problems will be solved. But it's as if Dayton stayed up all night Sunday coming up with the idea. Plus, he didn't exactly reinvent the wheel here. Shouldn't the ability to compromise be a prerequisite to serving in office? Shouldn't it be a given? We know the governor is dealing with a lot of Republicans this year and a lot of freshmen policymakers, too, but we would like to think these young politicians already knew compromise would be key coming in.
The most troubling aspect of the letter is it took this long for Dayton to write it. If the purpose of the letter is to spur the Legislature to get something done it should've been sent out long ago. Instead, the governor waited until a week before the session was set to adjourn.
But give Dayton credit - he is willing to meet Republicans half way: $1.8 billion in spending cuts and $1.8 billion in additional tax revenues for a total of $3.6 billion (the leftover deficit after postponement of the repayment of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's shift in school aid payments).
Also, Dayton gave a little ground on his tax proposal, raising gross income levels at which the fourth tier income tax rate would be $300,000 ($250,000 in taxable income) for a married couple and to almost $180,000 ($150,000 in taxable income) for a single person. And, he withdrew his proposed property tax increase on homes valued over $1 million, meaning his overall proposal would not increase state or local property taxes for anyone in Minnesota.
Dayton calls his new plan reasonable, responsible middle ground, and we agree. We just wish he would've had this epiphany when there was still snow on the ground.
By the way, Republicans rejected Dayton's proposal. So much for compromise.