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MN bipartisan effort overrides Gov. Pawlenty's veto & ousts his transit commissioner

DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
edited February 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
Yesterday, while I was a lazy bum getting tested in the ER for various abdominal problems, the Minnesota legislature was busy overriding Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of the much-needed transportation bill. Six Republicans joined the Democrats in defying party unity in getting the bill that will shore up our infrastructure and make sure that the I-35 disaster is not repeated.
Minnesotans will see their first state gas tax increase in 20 years as part of an ambitious $6.6 billion transportation plan that promised better roads and bridges and was nudged into law after the historic override of a governor's veto.

With Monday's override, the first of Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the DFL-controlled Legislature passed a sweeping set of tax increases that broke a longtime partisan logjam over transportation funding. After the vote was announced in the House, sign-waving construction workers outside the chamber cheered. Later, a politically jolted Pawlenty called the plan "ridiculous."

Six House Republicans joined the DFL majority in the 91-41 vote, one vote more than the two-thirds majority needed and two more than the bill got Thursday. The action followed a weekend in which a small group of legislators, mostly Republican, were under intense pressure. Two DFLers who had voted against the bill last week also supported the override Monday.

The Senate vote was 47-20, the same as when the bill passed on Thursday.

After the House vote, GOP lawmakers wrangled over whether those who voted for the bill would face political recriminations and outright attempts to oust them from office.

"I'm assuming I'll have several people running against me for the Republican nomination," said Rep. Kathy Tingelstad, R-Andover, who voted for the bill Thursday and then for the override, two days after her Republican endorsement for reelection was postponed because of her support for the proposal. She said that despite facing what she called her toughest vote in her 12 years in the Legislature, she did "what's right" and that "I'll sleep good tonight."

Supporters of the bill said the vote was a far-reaching rebuff of the anti-tax lobbyists who had stifled progress in Minnesota on a host of spending issues as well as a particularly stinging setback for the governor, who is a staunch opponent of new taxes. Critics, however, denounced the bill's tax increases and talked of their coming at a time of economic difficulty.

Some observers were unsure how Monday's results would affect nontransportation issues, especially with a new, more somber state budget forecast expected Thursday. They also said Pawlenty's political standing might be dented only momentarily.

Throughout the day, DFLers and some Republicans tried to link the legislation to the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, in which 13 people died and more than 100 were injured in August.

"There is no relationship between the greatest tax increase in [modern] Minnesota history and the tragedy that occurred last summer," said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano.

Rep. Shelley Madore, DFL-Apple Valley, disagreed. "The bridge went down on August 1, and a gentleman from my district died," she said. "If you're asking me, is his life worth a nickel a gallon [state gas tax increase, as the plan calls for], I'm telling you it is."

Pawlenty, who was at a governors conference in Washington on Monday, was clearly frustrated with the results as he spoke to reporters by telephone. He said the legislation was "ridiculous in scope and in magnitude," and added that "I am more than happy to say this is a DFL product and a DFL result."

"It's a whole basket, a whole bucket of tax increases," he said.

Sizing up vetoes and overrides

A report by the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota showed that, over the past 70 years, only two governors have made as many vetoes as Pawlenty's 37. And since 1939, only 14 of 447 gubernatorial vetoes have been overridden, with 12 overrides coming against Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura, who had almost no party members in the Legislature.

"I think today we all knew we were making history," said Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud.

The legislation would increase the state gas tax 5 1/2 cents by fall and then by up to another 3 cents; 3 1/2 cents of the 8 1/2 cents would be in place until bonds authorized under the plan are retired.

It also will provide a $25 income-tax credit for low-income Minnesotans to ease the effect of the gas tax increase.

Under another provision, a quarter-cent sales tax increase would occur in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area without a referendum, with all proceeds going to transit projects. The sales tax needs action by the county boards.

The sales tax would raise an estimated $1.1 billion over 10 years. In Hennepin County, the state's most populous, it would generate more than half of that amount, or $606 million. Last year, Hennepin County residents began paying a 0.15 percentage point sales tax, approved without a referendum, to help fund a stadium for the Minnesota Twins.

Other counties could raise their sales tax by up to 0.5 percentage points for specific transportation projects, but referendums would be required.

The legislation also will increase license tab fees on vehicles, particularly luxury cars; hire 40 state troopers, and help repair the Minnesota Department of Transportation's headquarters in St. Paul. The tab fee increase will not affect vehicles previously registered in Minnesota.

After the Senate voted to join the House in the override, Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, the most vocal advocate for raising gasoline taxes, credited support from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, farm groups and those Republican legislators "who chose safety over party politics."

"Everything's wonderful," Dan Erhart, an Anoka County commissioner and commuter rail advocate, said after the veto override. He said that while the override damaged Pawlenty, "I wouldn't want to be a Republican and not help relieve the [traffic] congestion problem this session."

Waiting for payback

Some Republicans who voted for the legislation said they were expecting to pay politically. One of them, Rep. Ron Erhardt, R-Edina, said GOP leaders threatened to take away media privileges, staff members and research resources should he oppose the governor. Erhardt called them "a bunch of bullies" and, after casting his vote Monday, voiced concern about his reelection. "I'm worried about it, but what can I do?" he said.

Before Monday's vote, state Republican Party chairman Ron Carey released a weekend poll conducted in three House districts represented by Republicans who supported the transportation bill. He said the survey showed voters did not want the legislation. He said the results showed that voters did not view transportation as a top priority and opposed the DFL plan by almost 2 to 1.

At least two of the dissenting Republicans will be leaving leadership posts on committees. Rep. Rod Hamilton, of Mountain Lake, said he voluntarily resigned as the lead Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, said he was asked to step down as the lead Republican on the House K-12 Finance Committee.

"I was told that if I don't fall in line, this is what's going to happen," Heidgerken said. "I had to weigh it. Is this a good bill? Yes it is. We sat for 20 years and did nothing."

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said she would not permit punishing dissident Republican members. "If there gets to be a situation where minority members of the House are stripped of services to serve their constituents, I will not stand for that," she said.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, was cautious about saying whether the override would hurt Pawlenty and empower DFLers. "Does it hurt the governor? That's tough to tell right now," he said.

Seifert said the vote did not reflect a split within the caucus but acknowledged he is not going to actively support the dissenting members' reelection bids. "People are reading into an awful lot about this one bill. This has been a pressure-cooker issue," he said. "This is a one-time deal and an only-time deal."

I hope the Republicans who voted for this keep their offices. This is definitely what we need to be seeing in government of all levels.

Also: Fuck you, Pawlenty.

Dracomicron on
Gary Gygax wrote:
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Posts

  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Pawlenty is a huge nutsack, but now we'll have even more road construction D:

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Pawlenty is a huge nutsack, but now we'll have even more road construction D:

    Well, think about it this way: we haven't had nearly as much road construction as we should have had in the past several years. We'll just be catching up. :P

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • kdrudykdrudy Registered User
    edited February 2008
    This is good to hear, I'm living in St Paul these days and some roads are getting really rough. Minnesota needed this. Now as long as the money actually gets spent on roads, in Wisconsin the transportation budget was the first thing to get dipped into for any reason they could find.

    tvsfrank.jpg
  • Cucco LeaderCucco Leader Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    They had there leadership positions pulled by the minority leader. So. Yeah. They paid. I guess.

  • skyybahamutskyybahamut Registered User
    edited February 2008
    kdrudy wrote: »
    This is good to hear, I'm living in St Paul these days and some roads are getting really rough. Minnesota needed this. Now as long as the money actually gets spent on roads, in Wisconsin the transportation budget was the first thing to get dipped into for any reason they could find.

    This right here is the main problem with the roads not the actual lack of funds. This money, like social security federaly, is a universal pot that politicians have been dipping into for years. Fiscal responsability is what I want.

    Granted road repairs and public transit are much needed, and the gas tax is less than a huge increase in the gas prices at the pump in the past few years, but spend my money responsibly dammit!

    This signature is for SCIENCE!
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    The problem is that infrastructure isn't sexy or has a large constituancy, so it's easy to take money from it. And then, a bridge somewhere falls apart.

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  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    They had there leadership positions pulled by the minority leader. So. Yeah. They paid. I guess.

    On the other hand, the next time they want to get their own shit passed, the Republicans are going to come begging them to put a word in to the majority, methinks.

    This is the first step towards the kind of post-partisan politics that Obama's been preaching (and practicing) for the last decade or so.

    Also, those six Republicans have a nice trump card in elections: folks won't miss an extra few cents in taxes, but they will definitely notice the new roads and bridges.
    The problem is that infrastructure isn't sexy or has a large constituancy, so it's easy to take money from it. And then, a bridge somewhere falls apart.

    Nobody knows that better than Minnesota. I have a feeling that Transportation is going to be our sacred cow for awhile.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Pawlenty is a huge nutsack, but now we'll have even more road construction D:

    While an expansion of the light rail system would clearly be the best thing for the environment, remember that well maintained top quality roads are much better for the environment than poorly maintained ones. And of course Minnesota does have cities other than MSP, like Duluth and Mankato which also need maintenance.

    Although, thats only if you were upset about road building from an environment standpoint, if you were upset about it from the classic Minnesota standpoint that "Hurrah, the snow is gone, curses! The roads are full of construction again" then its true, damn you road builders!

    Your puny weapons are useless against me
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Roads? Pfftt when Ron Paul gets elected we'll all be flying out own Zeppelins anyway

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    tbloxham wrote: »

    Although, thats only if you were upset about road building from an environment standpoint, if you were upset about it from the classic Minnesota standpoint that "Hurrah, the snow is gone, curses! The roads are full of construction again" then its true, damn you road builders!

    I don't think there's a single Minnesotan that's ever cursed road construction for any other reason than the latter. Since the dawn of time, always have Minnesotans railed against their two seasons: Winter and Road Construction.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Shit. Used to be people would cross the river from Wisconsin to get cheaper gas over here. Looks like it might be going the other way around, now.

    ix3uu000mwdx.jpg
    3DS Friend Code: 0817-5033-8184 // Nintendo Network ID: AbsoluteZero
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2008
    tbloxham wrote: »

    Although, thats only if you were upset about road building from an environment standpoint, if you were upset about it from the classic Minnesota standpoint that "Hurrah, the snow is gone, curses! The roads are full of construction again" then its true, damn you road builders!

    I don't think there's a single Minnesotan that's ever cursed road construction for any other reason than the latter. Since the dawn of time, always have Minnesotans railed against their two seasons: Winter and Road Construction.

    Pussies. Where I live, we have the big dig and as many Hurricanes as Georgia.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • MatrijsMatrijs Registered User
    edited February 2008
    I kind of feel like the thread's title is misleading. While I don't at all wish to detract from the courage of the stand these few Republican legislators took, I think we ought to remember the other 41 Republicans in the Minnesota state legislature who voted against the bill and then voted to sanction their colleagues who voted against it. Maybe we should rephrase this to "Some Republicans..." or "A few Republicans..."

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Matrijs wrote: »
    I kind of feel like the thread's title is misleading. While I don't at all wish to detract from the courage of the stand these few Republican legislators took, I think we ought to remember the other 41 Republicans in the Minnesota state legislature who voted against the bill and then voted to sanction their colleagues who voted against it. Maybe we should rephrase this to "Some Republicans..." or "A few Republicans..."

    Well, getting a but OT, this has been both the Republican strength and weakness. For the past 20 years, they've purged the moderate wing of their party. Moderates incumbents oft faced movement conservatives in the primary, and quite a few of those challenges were successful. The result is that the party moves in lockstep - the leadership gives orders, and the rank and file obey. The problem is that as the leadership has pursued an agenda that is counter to what voters want, this has put many of the GOP legislators in a bind - go moderate, and the party will reject you, but go to the right, and you can't win the general.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
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  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Matrijs wrote: »
    I kind of feel like the thread's title is misleading. While I don't at all wish to detract from the courage of the stand these few Republican legislators took, I think we ought to remember the other 41 Republicans in the Minnesota state legislature who voted against the bill and then voted to sanction their colleagues who voted against it. Maybe we should rephrase this to "Some Republicans..." or "A few Republicans..."

    I originally had it titled "Republicans are good people, too (MN veto override)," but I wasn't getting a lot of hits with that. Given this story's status as a regional issue, I figured making it flashier and including the name of a potential McCain running mate would sex it up a bit.

    Luckily, I'm not a journalist, and am under no responsability to be impartial in my thread titles on a gaming site forum. :P

    The point of all this, though, is that some Republicans did put their careers on the line because their confederates were being stupidly obstructionist against needed infrastructure bolstering, and the state is going to be better off for it.

    Also: Pawlenty can suck it.

    EDIT: Fixed thread title to be more accurate.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I'm not really a proponent of this bill. People are having a hard-ass time paying for gas as it is. I think the money really should come some other way, preferably from cutting excess spending or from dipping from the transportation pot in the first place.

    People will lose seats over this.

    "The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us."
    Spoiler:
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  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Derrick wrote: »
    I'm not really a proponent of this bill. People are having a hard-ass time paying for gas as it is. I think the money really should come some other way, preferably from cutting excess spending or from dipping from the transportation pot in the first place.

    People will lose seats over this.

    Honestly? I think the "can't pay for gas" argument holds no water at all. Gas prices are completely at the whim of the oil companies, who raise and lower it according to what they think they can get away with. People still pay whatever prices they ask, and I don't think the prices have even gone up to match inflation that much.

    The price of gas has doubled since 1970, but inflation has gone up something like 500% since that time. When I was in Scotland in 2000, they were paying 5 pounds per gallon of gas (about seven or eight bucks American in those days), and Scotland is a tiny oil producing nation.

    Listen, we're going to pay more at the pump. That's just the way it is. The question is whether you want the extra money to solely benefit Big Oil, or if we can at least get some much-needed infrastructure restoration from the oil addiction that the U.S. has been suffering from.

    Excess spending? Not much left under Pawlenty. He's raided just about every cookie jar he could find, and borrowed what he couldn't find. The transportation budget was already seriously underfunded because gas taxes hadn't gone up in 20 years. Shit, Pawlenty wouldn't even shell out to have a bonafide expert on transit actually lead MN-DOT. He has his Lt. Gov., Molnau in charge, and she doesn't even have a college education that I could find information on.

    People complain about "Tax and spend liberals," but the Tim Pawlenty/George W. Bush answer to this seems to be "Borrow and bridge collapse conservatives."

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Reprisal is swift and petty.
    Less than 24 hours after six rogue Republican House members voted to override a veto of a $6.6 billion tax-raising transportation bill, they were stripped of their leadership positions, a swift and unusual recrimination explained as an effort to "stitch together" a fractious House GOP caucus.

    Several of the dissenting members did not go willingly or quietly, telling House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, that he would have to fire them from the positions.

    "I am not going along with this foolishness. If you have to get rid of me, fire me," said Rep. Ron Erhardt, R-Edina, who was removed as the lead Republican on the Property Tax Relief and Local Sales Taxes Committee. "This is the way we get treated if we vote our districts and vote our consciences and vote our feeling that we are doing the right thing for the state."

    Adding to the political repercussions of the override, the chairman of the state Republican Party warned that those who voted for it face an uphill battle winning party endorsement and help in reelection bids.

    Seifert said dissenting members were aware of the possible consequences before the vote was taken, including the possibility of losing staff support and other resources. But he said he decided that removal from the caucus or other extreme measures would not be taken. Even so, stripping the members of leadership positions was unusual enough that no one could recall a similar action in recent history.

    "We expect Republicans to follow other Republicans, and there is obviously a mixed message with what happened yesterday," Seifert said at a news conference Tuesday. "We're not taking anyone's secretary away. I'm not throwing their computers down the Capitol steps. I'm not severing their phone lines."

    The six Republicans voted with the entire House DFL caucus to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto, bucking his lobbying efforts, the caucus position, and the state GOP.

    For his part Pawlenty, back in Minnesota from Washington Tuesday, took aim at DFLers, warning them to "buckle their seat belts because there may be some unexpected turbulence."

    Pawlenty predicted the bill will haunt DFL House members campaigning for reelection this fall. "You can mark the calendar," he said, "yesterday will be the day that began a tax revolt in Minnesota."

    For GOP, a watershed issue

    Seifert said he would not be recruiting candidates to run against members of his own caucus but also said the six legislators should not expect help.

    "There are a lot of members of my caucus who don't have confidence in following someone who wasn't willing to follow me on the floor. It doesn't mean that I'm taking an ax to them or anything of that sort," Seifert said.

    Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey said that the party will support the endorsed party candidates but that he expects contentious conventions in the House districts whose members strayed.

    "These are people who are good Republicans who left the reservation on this issue," he said. "This was a critical watershed issue, this is the largest tax increase in the history of the state of Minnesota. To have Republicans not stand against the largest tax increase, that's really baffling. It should have been an easy vote for these Republicans to have taken."

    Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, one of the six dissenters, said he would have stepped down if he thought he had done anything wrong but that he believes he made the right choice for his district.

    "The message they are sending to me is that 'We don't want any independent-minded people,'" Heidgerken said. "I'll always stand up for what's right. If that means my election, then I don't deserve to be here."

    In the Senate, two Republicans voted to override the veto along with 45 Democrats. There were no indications the two GOP senators would face any sanctions.

    "I think we need more unity right now, not more division," said Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester.

    The Senate DFL, holding 45 of 67 seats in that chamber, has a veto-proof majority, meaning that most of the drama in the override vote was in the House. There, the DFL needed to keep the votes of all 85 of its members plus at least five Republicans to secure the two-thirds vote necessary for an override. The rogue House Republicans were not stripped of their committee assignments, only their leadership positions, which do not include additional staff or resources.

    Bolded for fuckawesome.

    Of especial note was the state senate result: two Republicans voted with the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor, our state's liberal conglomerate party), but have not suffered reprisal because they weren't the deciding votes on the veto override. This seems to be an interesting double standard: it's okay to vote for non-party-line issues if it doesn't cause an overall unfavorable result to your caucus... in fact, I've come to see that this sort of gamesmanship in voting records is endemic to modern politics: people like John McCain will break ranks in votes on popular issues as long as his isn't the deciding vote.

    I'm elated to see that Republicans are starting to wake up to their party's bullshit and vote with their districts and their consciences, anyway. Fear of party retribution has caused serious problems on both sides of the aisle.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2008
    'Stripped of their leadership positions'? What does that mean? Is it just newspeak for "fired?"

    words
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I supported the transportation bill for several reasons:

    I supported the bill not because I believe in more taxation but because I believe in less.
    A gas tax is a user fee, plain and simple, and for 20 years it has not been increased. This additional user fee will cost each of us less than a cup of coffee each month.

    But the user fee for gas is just one part of the bill. In the bill is municipal state aid, with $11 million for Bloomington, $4.8 million for Edina and $150 million for Hennepin County. This money will be available for street repair and improvements over the next 10 years.

    If these dollars do not come to our county and cities through this allocation, residents in my district will eventually pay for the improvements through increased real-estate taxes. That is the bottom line. The cities and the county will have no other choice but to go to their primary source of funding, our real estate taxes, to get transportation needs met. With this bill, I voted to avoid higher property taxes.

    • I supported the bill because we have a slowing economy in our state.
    People have suggested that an economic downturn is not the time for a bill like this. I believe it is the time. This bill will support thousands of jobs -- jobs with salary dollars that will stay in Minnesota.

    What is the remedy for a slowing economy? Jobs.
    We need these dollars in Minnesota. Our way of life here and our future depend on a strong economic base. We bemoan the loss of 900 jobs at Macy's downtown, but we are losing many times that number in our construction industry alone. Think of the positive effect of thousands of Minnesota jobs in the next decade. With this bill, I voted for a stronger economy.

    • I supported the bill because of the recently released legislative auditor's report.
    Legislative Auditor James Nobel used the words "downright grim" when looking at the current status of roads and bridges. In his testimony, he gave me no reason to question the talented men and women who are engineers and planners in the Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

    He did give me the reason MnDOT is in such a mess. Follow the money. We are asking MnDOT to do more and more with less and less. It is a shell game with horrific outcomes. Maintenance deferred, construction postponed -- it is all part of the MnDOT mantra.

    A MnDOT employee I know well said that it is hard when you can't be proud of the place you work. Without funding. MnDOT's hands are tied.
    With this bill, I voted as a legislator to accept my part of the transportation problems in this state.

    • I supported the bill because as a solo business owner, I know the reality of inflation.
    Over the last three years, we have lost two opportunities to adequately fund road maintenance and construction. This is the third time that a transportation bill has been passed and vetoed. Over this same period, according to the auditor's report, the cost of construction has gone up almost 40 percent. It will continue to escalate, and a transportation bill will keep coming back, each time with a higher price tag, not to do more, but to do less. The reality is the old adage "pay now or pay more later." With this bill, I voted against inflationary increases for transportation.

    • • •

    I supported the bill even though I wasn't crazy about the quarter-cent sales tax for transit. I believe in public transit, and I know it is necessary with more than a million more people coming into the Twin Cities in the next decade. Except for the occasional trip on light rail, I don't use public transit on a daily basis, so I don't think about it as much. However, as a user of the freeways, roads and bridges, I need transit to exist and expand if I want to continue to drive without additional gridlock and wasted time. We need public transit to exist for persons who are aging and no longer drive. We need mass transit for cleaner air. With this bill, I supported transportation and the environment of our future.

    I supported the bill and was encouraged to do so by the endorsement of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota League of Cities, the Environmental Partnership and the president of the University of Minnesota, plus countless other organizations and, believe it or not, constituents.

    I supported the transportation bill in spite of the pain that it personally causes me. It pains me to be at odds with the governor, a man I personally like. It pains me to hit a bump in my relationships with some caucus members. But it pains me even more to consider the consequences of doing nothing again this year.

    With this bill I voted to represent what I believe to be in the best interest of my cities, my constituents and, ultimately, my conscience.


    Neil Peterson, R-Bloomington, represents District 41B in the Minnesota House.

    Bolded for key points.

    There you go, a well-thought-out Republican explanation for the veto override. I'm very impressed with the thought he put into this; it's obviously that he's not a turncoat and still believes in conservative ideals.
    Oboro wrote: »
    'Stripped of their leadership positions'? What does that mean? Is it just newspeak for "fired?"

    One of them was the minority whip, others were on various comittees. These positions were re-assigned.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2008
    Oh. Okay.

    Yay!, etc. I'm not an MN native so I can't speak for the specifics, but if their infrastructure is anything like that elsewhere in the country (and failing bridges would suggest it), this is probably a worthwhile tax.

    words
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Oboro wrote: »
    Oh. Okay.

    Yay!, etc. I'm not an MN native so I can't speak for the specifics, but if their infrastructure is anything like that elsewhere in the country (and failing bridges would suggest it), this is probably a worthwhile tax.

    It seriously is. Minnesotans were so pissed after the I-94 disaster that we wanted to pay more taxes to prevent that sort of thing. Pawlenty originally said that he'd approve a gas tax increase, but then backed right off when his Taxpayer League record was in question.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    You have to admit this is going to be a tough sell when re-election rolls around. "X thinks you already weren't paying enough for gas. What do you think?" Bad times for X, most likely.

    "The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us."
    Spoiler:
    -Theodore Roosevelt
  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2008
    Yes, undereducated Americans hate taxes and have a record of despising those who enact them unless a very good argument can be shown.

    Voters and taxpayers don't always know what's the best for them. A legislative body doesn't really have the arms and legs to run an advertising and educational company, so the Minnesotans here just need to take their bitter medicine. The people who made the vote understand the risks they took.

    words
  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    kdrudy wrote: »
    This is good to hear, I'm living in St Paul these days and some roads are getting really rough. Minnesota needed this. Now as long as the money actually gets spent on roads, in Wisconsin the transportation budget was the first thing to get dipped into for any reason they could find.

    This right here is the main problem with the roads not the actual lack of funds. This money, like social security federaly, is a universal pot that politicians have been dipping into for years. Fiscal responsability is what I want.

    Granted road repairs and public transit are much needed, and the gas tax is less than a huge increase in the gas prices at the pump in the past few years, but spend my money responsibly dammit!

    I am pretty sure that in the MN constitution road funds are kept completely segregated from the general coffers and cannot be "dipped" into. This is why they had to raise gas and sales taxes as opposed to allocating more money from the general budget. I could be wrong

    EDIT: I was right

    Constitutional framework
    The Minnesota Constitution contains the basic framework for highway funding. It establishes highway user taxes, which are considered user taxes because payment is based on use of the highway system, and requires that the revenue be “used solely for highway purposes.” Minn. Const., art. XIV, § 5. It also specifies how the revenue must be distributed to the state and local units of government.

    Sources of highway funding
    There are three main funding sources established by the Constitution.

    (1) A tax on motor fuel is 20 cents per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel. Minn. Stat. §§ 296A.07, 296A.08. For special fuels such as E-85, the rates are based on the energy content of the fuel. A portion of the revenue is attributed to nonhighway use and transferred to special accounts. Minn. Stat. § 296A.18.

    (2) Registration taxes (also known as tab fees) are imposed on motor vehicles using the highway system. The registration tax for cars, pickup trucks, and vans is a percentage of the original value of the vehicle. There are caps on the maximum amount paid as well as a statutory depreciation schedule that reduces the tax owed based on the vehicle’s age. Minn. Stat. § 168.013, subd. 1a. Taxes on trucks, buses, and recreational vehicles are based on the vehicle’s weight and age.

    (3) A motor vehicle sales tax (MVST) applies to sales of motor vehicles, at the same rate as the general sales tax. Until recently, MVST revenue was allocated by statute to both transportation and the general fund. A constitutional amendment adopted in the 2006 election will phase in MVST solely to roads and transit. Starting in fiscal year 2012, after the phase-in, MVST will be statutorily allocated 60 percent to roads and 40 percent to transit. Minn. Stat. § 297B.09. In fiscal year 2006, small amounts of MVST were directly allocated to the county state-aid highway fund (0.65 percent) and the municipal state-aid street fund (0.17 percent).

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Derrick wrote: »
    You have to admit this is going to be a tough sell when re-election rolls around. "X thinks you already weren't paying enough for gas. What do you think?" Bad times for X, most likely.

    Minnesota is not a conservative stronghold, so while taxes are an issue, the Republicans in question can come back and say, "Y thinks we should have more bridges collapse. What do you think?" I would not want to get into that particular slap-fest if I were a Republican primary challenger.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Oboro wrote: »
    'Stripped of their leadership positions'? What does that mean? Is it just newspeak for "fired?"

    Not exactly, though you're not far off. The leadership of the parties gets to assign their members to the leadership positions in the various legislative committees - the majority party assigns the chairs, the minority party assigns the ranking minority member. So what happened was the leadership, in a petulant fit, stripped these people of their positions in these committees. While it doesn't mean they're gone from the legislature, it does mean their influence is drastically reduced.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Derrick wrote: »
    You have to admit this is going to be a tough sell when re-election rolls around. "X thinks you already weren't paying enough for gas. What do you think?" Bad times for X, most likely.

    Minnesota is not a conservative stronghold, so while taxes are an issue, the Republicans in question can come back and say, "Y thinks we should have more bridges collapse. What do you think?" I would not want to get into that particular slap-fest if I were a Republican primary challenger.

    You're forgetting that primary != general. They are two wholly separate beasts. In the primary, you;re dealing with the rank and file, who are going to have differing views from the rest of the community. This has actually been part of how the purge of the moderates has backfired among the GOP - they use the primaries to boot out a moderate that could win in favor of a doctrinaire conservative who is so out of touch with the mainstream, he gets his ass kicked.

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  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Derrick wrote: »
    You have to admit this is going to be a tough sell when re-election rolls around. "X thinks you already weren't paying enough for gas. What do you think?" Bad times for X, most likely.

    Minnesota is not a conservative stronghold, so while taxes are an issue, the Republicans in question can come back and say, "Y thinks we should have more bridges collapse. What do you think?" I would not want to get into that particular slap-fest if I were a Republican primary challenger.

    You're forgetting that primary != general. They are two wholly separate beasts. In the primary, you;re dealing with the rank and file, who are going to have differing views from the rest of the community. This has actually been part of how the purge of the moderates has backfired among the GOP - they use the primaries to boot out a moderate that could win in favor of a doctrinaire conservative who is so out of touch with the mainstream, he gets his ass kicked.

    You have an excellent point, but remember that the "Transit 6" (I coined a term!) claimed to be voting that way in part because they believed that it was what was best for their constituencies. If that's accurate, and the Republicans in their districts actually do favor the measures for the same conservative reasons Neill Peterson mentioned in the column I posted, then they might be okay.

    I have no illusions that things are going to be a picnic, but there's a possibility that we're moving into a new phase in post-partisan politics and renewed interest in the primary process, so I wouldn't call things irrevocably grim for them.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    You're forgetting that primary != general. They are two wholly separate beasts. In the primary, you;re dealing with the rank and file, who are going to have differing views from the rest of the community. This has actually been part of how the purge of the moderates has backfired among the GOP - they use the primaries to boot out a moderate that could win in favor of a doctrinaire conservative who is so out of touch with the mainstream, he gets his ass kicked.

    You have an excellent point, but remember that the "Transit 6" (I coined a term!) claimed to be voting that way in part because they believed that it was what was best for their constituencies. If that's accurate, and the Republicans in their districts actually do favor the measures for the same conservative reasons Neill Peterson mentioned in the column I posted, then they might be okay.

    I have no illusions that things are going to be a picnic, but there's a possibility that we're moving into a new phase in post-partisan politics and renewed interest in the primary process, so I wouldn't call things irrevocably grim for them.

    First off, I want to drag the phrase "post-partisan" out into the middle of the street, and shoot it dead. We are not post-partisan. Not by a long shot. Not when we worry that a picture of a leading Presidential candidate wearing the garb of a nation he was visiting will hurt his chances in the election.

    And the simple fact is that in the GOP primaries, it's the 19%ers who are voting. That should scare the fuck out of you.

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  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    My point is that this primary process has seen good turnout on both sides of the fence, not to mention people willing to cross said fence to help out candidates that they like regardless of party. If people get more invested in politics, I think everyone is better off, including the Transit 6. I don't think we're post-partisan yet, but we might be moving in that direction. I can hope, can't I?

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I hope those six Republicans seriously rethink which party they want to caucus with. MN could use our own Lincoln Chafee(s).

    EDIT:
    More substantially, I agree with Draco about breaking the lockstep around the party divide. The reason I can get away with saying "Republicans are bad for this policy" rather than "some Republicans", is because their leadership makes them vote as a monolith.

    I just can't trust any Republican until I can be confident that they're voting outside the RNC orders.

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  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Draco, you going to vote for the park and arts referendum to up the sales tax another .325%? I think state-wide we would be close to 7.25% and 7.75% in the city. I mean, when does it stop? The hillarious part is all the liberals willing to "pay" for a better Minnesota are backing programs that will disproportionately impact the poorest citizens (gas and sales tax).

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Roanth wrote: »
    I am pretty sure that in the MN constitution road funds are kept completely segregated from the general coffers and cannot be "dipped" into. This is why they had to raise gas and sales taxes as opposed to allocating more money from the general budget. I could be wrong

    EDIT: I was right

    There we go. We don't even need a hypothetical "sacred cow" status.

    Thanks for the research.
    templewulf wrote: »
    I hope those six Republicans seriously rethink which party they want to caucus with. MN could use our own Lincoln Chafee(s).

    EDIT:
    More substantially, I agree with Draco about breaking the lockstep around the party divide. The reason I can get away with saying "Republicans are bad for this policy" rather than "some Republicans", is because their leadership makes them vote as a monolith.

    I just can't trust any Republican until I can be confident that they're voting outside the RNC orders.

    Outside of policy, that's why I have never been able to vote Republican. I didn't think that they would be thinking for themselves. Even if I disagreed with Jesse Ventura, I knew for fucking certain that he was going to govern via his own judgement on issues, and not be a tool of either party (I think that was my first go-round with disliking dynasties... Hubert H. Humphrey the Third? Seriously?)

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Roanth wrote: »
    Draco, you going to vote for the park and arts referendum to up the sales tax another .325%? I think state-wide we would be close to 7.25% and 7.75% in the city. I mean, when does it stop? The hillarious part is all the liberals willing to "pay" for a better Minnesota are backing programs that will disproportionately impact the poorest citizens (gas and sales tax).

    I haven't done the research on the park and arts referendum yet.

    Also, the gas tax doesn't disproportionally impact the poorest citizens, the poorest citizens mostly live in the city and don't have cars; they take the bus or train. In the country; decaying infrastructure causes its own damage and carries its own risks for poorer folks; it's not a perfect fit, but perhaps it'll be incentive for more conservation efforts across the board.

    The sales tax is honestly tiddlywinks. I'm talking out of my ass here because I want to get out the door and head home, but aren't we paying a .15% extra sales tax already for a new stadium that the general public doesn't want and the Vikings totally don't deserve? Now, it seems to me that .325% is not a large amount for poor folks to pay, if you ask me, since they're buying things that don't cost a lot. We're quibbling over how many coins that normally get dropped in the "grab a penny, leave a penny" tray here.

    Like I said, though, I haven't done the research yet. I won't vote for it if I don't think it's worthwhile, but I won't dismiss it out of hand just because some rich dude doesn't want to pay thirty-two bucks more on his $10,000 yacht.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Roanth wrote: »
    Draco, you going to vote for the park and arts referendum to up the sales tax another .325%? I think state-wide we would be close to 7.25% and 7.75% in the city. I mean, when does it stop? The hillarious part is all the liberals willing to "pay" for a better Minnesota are backing programs that will disproportionately impact the poorest citizens (gas and sales tax).

    I haven't done the research on the park and arts referendum yet.

    Also, the gas tax doesn't disproportionally impact the poorest citizens, the poorest citizens mostly live in the city and don't have cars; they take the bus or train. In the country; decaying infrastructure causes its own damage and carries its own risks for poorer folks; it's not a perfect fit, but perhaps it'll be incentive for more conservation efforts across the board.

    The sales tax is honestly tiddlywinks. I'm talking out of my ass here because I want to get out the door and head home, but aren't we paying a .15% extra sales tax already for a new stadium that the general public doesn't want and the Vikings totally don't deserve? Now, it seems to me that .325% is not a large amount for poor folks to pay, if you ask me, since they're buying things that don't cost a lot. We're quibbling over how many coins that normally get dropped in the "grab a penny, leave a penny" tray here.

    Like I said, though, I haven't done the research yet. I won't vote for it if I don't think it's worthwhile, but I won't dismiss it out of hand just because some rich dude doesn't want to pay thirty-two bucks more on his $10,000 yacht.

    My argument on the poorer citizens goes to the fact that they spend more of their disposable income purchasing goods so increases in the sales tax disproportionately impacts them (I believe this is a pretty accepted view on taxation). The guy buying the $10,000 yacht doesn't give a shit about the $32, I agree. I also am going to have to disagree with your claim that higher gas taxes don't impact poorer people. Given almost everyone has a car (or two) I think you would be surprised at the number of people that are at or below the poverty line that have access to a car and use it to commute to work. I will see if I can find any evidence to back this assertion. Anyways, I also don't vote for or against things out of hand but I strongly feel that the government (especially in a state like MN that already imposes a large tax burden on its citizens) needs to be extremely careful before throwing out amendments to the constitution to backdoor tax increases (like they are with the arts / outdoors thing).

  • skyybahamutskyybahamut Registered User
    edited February 2008
    Ok, so constitutionally we are safe in the previous reguard.

    Thanks for the research btw, as I honestly did not know that. You sir, have enlightened me today.(no sarcasm)

    Even with his hate for the tax raise, Pawlenty has tried to help us with our gas with ethanol.

    http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/09/26_mccalluml_ethanol/

    Also this tax is signifigantly less than I originally thought. I thought the decimal was to the right one place.

    I'm one of those people that needs a zero in front of those small percentages or I get baffeled.

    This signature is for SCIENCE!
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Ok, so constitutionally we are safe in the previous reguard.

    Thanks for the research btw, as I honestly did not know that. You sir, have enlightened me today.(no sarcasm)

    Even with his hate for the tax raise, Pawlenty has tried to help us with our gas with ethanol.

    http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/09/26_mccalluml_ethanol/

    Also this tax is signifigantly less than I originally thought. I thought the decimal was to the right one place.

    I'm one of those people that needs a zero in front of those small percentages or I get baffeled.

    Isnt ethanol a total waste of time? Takes about as much as a gallon of gas to make an equal amount of ethanol the way I understand it.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Minnesota is not a conservative stronghold

    I think the repubs just dont show up or somthing. Plenty of people around here that seem like they would vote that way.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Minnesota is not a conservative stronghold

    I think the repubs just dont show up or somthing. Plenty of people around here that seem like they would vote that way.

    Dude. We went for Dukakis.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
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