Mercifully, the Minnesota Legislature recently adjourned “Sine Die,” which should finally give at least temporary relief to hard working Minnesotans. Governor Dayton and the Democratic-controlled Legislature can do no more harm. Let’s review their record and hold them accountable. In his nearly four years in office Dayton has repeatedly displayed little leadership and foresight.
In his first year in office Dayton was focused politically rather than leading. When the Republican-controlled Legislature advanced responsible bills, balancing a $5 billion deficit, without raising taxes, Dayton vetoed the bills, apparently without so much as reading them. His motto seemed to be “maximum pain for political gain.” The governor’s message, magnified by many in the press, was “the shutdown is the Republicans’ fault because they don’t want to raise taxes”. Later after he learned how upset citizens were, he came back to negotiate. Upon actually reading the bills, Dayton agreed most was very good legislation, and agreed to sign. Dayton should have negotiated in good faith prior shutting state government down.
In Dayton’s second year in office he was presented an education bill with the repeal of last in, first out rules, which was designed to keep the best teachers in our classrooms, allowing school districts the opportunity to lay off under-performing teachers in budget cut situations, irrespective of their employment longevity. The Obama administration even criticized Minnesota for not having an effective policy to deal with under-performing teachers. Dayton’s veto, supported by the teachers’ union, resulted in another major failure. The governor failed to act to assure we have the best teachers in our schools, working to close the worst “achievement gap” in the United States, among other serious public education problems. Dayton also made building a new Vikings stadium his major goal in this year, which he secured utilizing a known, failed funding source: electronic pull-tabs.