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Lawmakers complete their work

Our view: It may have taken a special session, but this year was productive

What a marked difference the 2017 Minnesota legislative session had over 2016.
It may have taken a brief, four-day special session, but the Republican-controlled Legislature presented the governor with a $46 billion two-year budget. Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, expressed some displeasure with parts of the budget, but acknowledged that his Republican counterparts also are somewhat unhappy with parts of it.
As of this weekend, Dayton had not indicated whether he would approve the work presented to him, but did say he would make a decision by midnight Tuesday (yesterday).
Among other things, the Legislature’s proposed budget includes a nearly $1 billion public works borrowing package, $650 million in tax cuts, $483 million in new spending for schools and $300 million in new money for transportation.
Is it a perfect budget? Of course not. But it is a budget that was forged with compromise and bipartisan craftsmanship, and certainly is a better showing than last year’s legislative debacle, which ended in a stalemate between the Legislature and governor, when neither side could even come to the table on the terms for a special session to finish their work.
We would hope that in the spirit of that compromise, the governor will find his way to clear to sign off on most, if not, all of the budget items the Legislature has presented. The budget was presented in 10 different bills.
Unless Dayton finds his way to veto all 10 bills, we’d say this legislative session was a success. Not only did the Legislature move forward with a budget, but it cleaned up some of the items left on the table last year, such as Real ID.
The Legislature deserves kudos for hearing its constituents’ desire to see a productive legislative session without all the partisan bickering. While some of that still went on, it was much more civil than last year’s discourse.
We hope this legislative session sets the tone for future sessions, and that legislators continue to build on the work that was done this year. Maybe, next year, they will even be able to finish their work without calling a special session. That would be a true sign that the political machine is back in working order.
— L.C.