What’s Ahead For Gov. Dayton, GOP-Led Legislature?

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Considered to be one of Minnesota’s most recognizable politicians, on Monday at Landmark Center in St. Paul, Mark Dayton will be sworn in as Minnesota’s next governor.

In a time of divided government, Dayton will be the first Democratic governor in the state in 20 years.

Political analyst Larry Jacobs Mark Dayton’s number one job is putting together coalitions and finding compromises where enough Republicans can come aboard with Democrats.

Jacobs said he will need allies on both sides of the aisles to get the state out of debt.

After Dayton is sworn in as Minnesota’s governor, the push begins to find a way out of a $6.2 billion budget shortfall.

“On the budget, we’re going to see, I think, some real efforts on the part of Mark Dayton to reach compromises with Republicans,” said Jacobs.

And he will have his work cut out for him.

For the first time in 40 years, Republicans assume control of the legislature and, according to Jacobs, Dayton will need allies from across the aisle to get his job done.

“Mark Dayton is going to need Republicans to pass tax increases to pass spending. So Dayton is going to be dependent on the Republicans to put up the money,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs believes there will be plenty of inside the beltway deal-making between Republicans and Democrats. The one thing he thinks both sides will agree on is decreasing the amount of money the state gives to local cities and municipalities.

“There’s quite a bit of money that goes to local government aid and when you look at the budget this is going to be one of the areas where I think where there will probably be agreement that more money has to come from there,” Jacobs said.

Jacob said he thinks lawmakers would like to see local governments become more efficient by combining services and possibly privatizing other services, getting government out of those areas.

Bottom line, Jacobs believes this legislative session will surprise a lot of people.

“I think there’s a lot of hope that perhaps this new combination of a Republican legislature and a Democratic governor who really sees this job as his number one job, not looking for the next office to run for, maybe there will be a little bit of magic in the compromises that happen over the next three or four months,” said Jacobs.

Another area Jacobs said Dayton will have to find compromise with is a new stadium for the Vikings.

Dayton has already come out and said he is open-minded about a new stadium but he wants to see Republicans get engaged with the issue. The problem is Republican leaders have said it is not a priority for them.

What comes next? We will have to wait and see. 

WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman Reports

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