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The 'W' Word: Seifert Says DFL Ran the Legislature Like Democrats in Washington

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In his final media availability at the Capitol for 2009, House GOP Minority Leader Marty Seifert cast a very critical look in his (Tuesday) morning quarterbacking of the 86th Legislative session for 2009.

Calling it "a session of lost opportunity," Seifert continuously employed downbeat prose in his review of the past five months - particularly with regards to how the DFL leadership led the lower chamber.

Seifert says the session began with a "roar of rhetoric, but wasted January, wasted February, wasted March, and then finally started getting some budget bills together in April."

The Minority Leader had frequently criticized the DFL over the past several months for not moving more quickly on budget legislation (that he had predicted in early March the Governor would veto and not be overridden). House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Majority Leader Tony Sertich would offer the rejoinder in kind that they were actually ahead of the GOP's pace when they controlled the chamber in recent sessions (e.g. 2003, 2005).

The important difference, of course, is that in 2003 and 2005 the GOP had a member of their own party in the Governor's mansion who would be friendly to their legislation. In 2009, the DFL knew, or should have known, it would be at loggerheads with Tim Pawlenty on fundamental issues. As such, as the last week revealed, the DFL therefore needed much more time to work with the Governor than it allowed to realize a compromised budget agreement.

Seifert indeed criticized the DFL for its management of the floor of the House, saying they "failed" and spent too much time "shuffling things to the end of session."

With regards to the DFL's inability to account for the fact that Governor Pawlenty held the unallotment card (which he had already used in 2003), Seifert says the DFL leadership "got outsmarted" and must "not have thought ahead on that in the chess game of politics."

The Minority Leader also stated that the DFL made its own bed in passing legislation it knew the Governor was not going to sign, and that they will now surely "lament" whatever the Governor does in the unallotment process.

He then referred to the disgruntled DFL as the "The Misery Commission" - a group which he expects will be "meeting a lot this summer."

The Minority Leader was also critical of how the DFL handled the final hours of session Monday night, calling it a "terrible process" particularly with regards to the billion dollar tax increase that passed at the 11th hour:

"I think the Democrat leadership in Minnesota essentially is running this place like Washington, D.C. - they're cutting off debate, bringing things to the floor in the dark of night, without public testimony, with no time to read the bill. Ask every Minnesotan - do you think that's a good process?"

Seifert says that as a result of the DFL's poor management of the legislature, "The people of Minnesota expected more and got a lot less."

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  • As someone who has spent the past 6 months jumping through hoops trying to get state subsidized heath care, and finally at long last getting approved for it, I am terrified of Pawlenty's promises to cut state medical aid. While neither side is innocent in the legislature's failure to balance the budget, at least the DFL was looking out for people like me who have chronic health conditions and no other means to get health care.

    Pawlenty's dictatorship approach to politics is nauseating. Taxes are a necessary part of revenue, and sick, poor Minnesota residents aren't going to disappear just because T-Paw wants to pretend their needs are less important than someone paying a couple extra cents tax for a beer. Talk about kicking someone when they're down...

  • I agree for what Seifert said. Thanks for sharing this information. Update me more.

  • As Marty noted, the DFL missed some great opportunities this session. With such a large deficit in the the shadow of a deep recession, the majority DFL should have pursued deep government reforms -- similar to what us in the private sector have done for many years -- reduce waste by streamlining processes and eliminating steps or expenses that do not add value for their clients. In this case, MN citizens. Instead, the DFL tried again to increase the size of government. Shameful!!


    AP LOS ANGELES - California's voters on Tuesday rejected a complex slate of ballot propositions designed to keep the state from sliding further toward fiscal calamity.
    The only measure they approved in a statewide special election was Proposition 1F, which will prohibit raises to lawmakers and other state elected officials during deficit years.
    Voters rejected at least four of the five other measures, including Proposition 1A, the centerpiece of efforts by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state leaders to fix California's ongoing fiscal problems. It would have created a state spending cap while prolonging temporary tax increases and also strengthened the state's rainy day fund.
    "Tonight we have heard from the voters and I respect the will of the people who are frustrated with the dysfunction in our budget system," Schwarzenegger said in a statement late Tuesday.
    "Now we must move forward from this point to begin to address our fiscal crisis with constructive solutions."
    The failure of the measures means California's budget deficit will grow by nearly $6 billion above the current $15.4 billion deficit, forcing Schwarzenegger to make further cuts to state programs already facing major rollbacks.
    "Obviously, it's disappointing," said Democratic Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, chairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee. "But I think the voters are sending a message that they believe the budget is the job of the governor and Legislature. We probably need to go back and do our job."

  • About time reality kicks in. You cannot have mentally disconnected people run a country forever into the ground strip mining like a debt industy. The point is why did it take so long. Nobody is going to save my ass in this lovely country. I asked my Parents not to sell the farm. Dad laughed and said about time this country wakes up since there is not much left to save anymore. God truth he is right and we been watching these educated people for some time. BTW I work GeoCorporate 30 plus year now and there just as bad. Wake up people..... No hate, just facts and common sence folks the gig is up socialism will fail ask any eastern europe friends you have.
    Mass layoffs threaten San Francisco city workers:

    City Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said, “There’s no way I am ever going to consider supporting revenue measures on the November ballot. I am not inclined to ask taxpayers for more money to pay for raises.” Elsbernd makes it sound as though city workers are demanding that taxpayers foot the bill for their living on easy street. In fact, the federal government—supported by the entire political and media establishment—has given billions in taxpayer money to billionaire bankers and speculators on Wall Street not only to keep their businesses afloat, but to finance their exorbitant bonuses and pay raises as well. Jennifer Friedenbach, director of the Coalition on Homelessness said, “This means that people in San Francisco are going to be bearing the brunt of negotiations gone bad. We are not talking about equal pain here. What we’re really talking about is health and human services being totally devastated.”
    The media reported Tuesday that the Health Commission will hold hearings on how the department plans to cut $140 million from next year’s budget. This target had been set by Newsom even before SEIU members rejected the contract concessions. Now he wants the health department to cut an additional $23 million. These cuts include $15 million to mental health and substance abuse services, the outsourcing of security at hospitals, and cuts to HIV services, the latter a particularly egregious act in San Francisco, which has been devastated by HIV/AIDS for decades.

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