Budgetary compromise

A comprehensive budget plan for Minnesota requires compromise.

by Daily Editorial Board

Last week, Republicans in the state Legislature introduced what they called their “Phase I Budget Bill,” a proposal of cuts designed to reduce MinnesotaâÄôs $6.2 billion budget deficit by $1 billion.

This bill is essentially unhelpful and unproductive. Mark Dayton, the new Democratic governor, has stated publicly that he plans to release a comprehensive plan Feb. 15 to deal with the entire budget deficit. He has invited the Republican-led Legislature to do the same. Sending a bill of cuts to DaytonâÄôs desk before this Feb. 15 target date will accomplish nothing; Dayton will inevitably veto it. Likewise, if Dayton were to instruct the Legislature to take up a bill of tax hikes on the rich, the Legislature would simply ignore it.

The only way the budget deficit can reasonably and fully be resolved is through a compromise on a comprehensive budget plan. The spending cuts and tax raises that both Democrats and Republicans would agree on are nowhere near enough to close MinnesotaâÄôs deficit; therefore, Republicans and Democrats will have to vote for things that they do not like in order to get some of what they want. Much like how President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans dealt with extending the Bush tax cuts, a compromise bill will be the most effective way to achieve results. This bill should be comprehensive rather than piecemeal as well; it is easier to make one compromise than many.

State Republicans should stop wasting time with a phased budget solution that has no realistic chance of becoming law and instead come up with a comprehensive budget plan and begin to work with Dayton on seriously addressing the deficit.