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Minnesota Opinion - On budget negotiations:

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

An excerpts from recent editorials in Minnesota newspapers:

Recent days have brought several interesting developments in the increasingly tense philosophical debate that's playing out in St. Paul.

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To recap: On one side are the DFLers who control the Legislature but lack a veto-proof majority in the House. On the other side is Gov. Pawlenty, whose "no new taxes" stance has come to define the GOP's position. Indeed, the events playing out in St. Paul have made the minority leadership seem almost irrelevant, except to the extent that they echo Pawlenty's views.

Pawlenty set aside his fishing rod just long enough to veto a hastily constructed proposal that would have raised $1 billion in new revenue by increasing taxes on alcohol, credit card companies that charge high interest rates and couples who earn more than $250,000.

What we found most interesting about this proposal is that the new revenue would have been "dedicated" to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Clearly, the DFL wanted to put Pawlenty into a position where his veto could be seen as a blow to Minnesota's children, sick and elderly.

Pawlenty didn't even blink, however, which set the stage for the next round in this game of chicken. ...

Neither side is showing interest in finding any middle ground, so the answer to one key question could ultimately determine what will happen in the six days before the regular session ends: Who would voters blame if there is an impasse?

Would Pawlenty be seen as a principled idealist who stood against the tax-and-spend hordes? Or would he be an obstructionist who essentially negated the majority view in a DFL-dominated Minnesota?

And what of the Democrats? Would they be victims of an overreaching, rigid chief executive, or would they be the party that dominated the Legislature but for four months did little more than bang their heads against a locked door?

Our view is that without a meaningful compromise, no one will win -- and that includes the roughly 5.2 million Minnesotans who aren't involved in the staredown in St. Paul.

-- Post-Bulletin of Rochester

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