Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sometimes leadership means having to say your sorry to your supporters and embrace a position that you deeply oppose in order to achieve a greater good. That is exactly what happened Thursday as Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican leaders agreed to a budget deal to end the government shutdown.
Dayton deserves credit for being the first to make a move, agreeing to a June 30 Republican proposal of borrowing from future tobacco settlement earnings and deferring $700 million in school payments. Dayton then boxed the Republicans in by insisting on a series of conditions.
Republicans deserve the credit for accepting the conditions, which means losing language in bills that would create abortion restrictions, limit stem cell research and an across the board cut of 15 percent in the number of state workers.
Now, the question is what can be done to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Hosting WCCO-AM this week I asked both Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton and DFL spokesperson Kristin Sosanie about a proposed bill by Republican Representative Tony Cornish that would bar legislators from accepting paychecks in any future government shutdown. Both squirmed. And why shouldn’t they? Sixty-nine percent of Republican legislators are taking their pay and 64 percent of DFLers are.
Cornish has said he will introduce his bill during the special session. I think knowing from the start that their would be no paycheck if there was ever another shutdown might just mean the difference on whether history will repeat itself.