Sunday, July 17, 2011

What Motivated Mark Dayton?

Contrary to what a blog commenter said, that the HHS insurance was what motivated Dayton, I believe the evidence shows Union support (not necessarily the member workers and the citizens) is Dayton's big motivator. 

At Union meetings, here and here, Dayton acknowledged his debt to Unions (in particular AFSCME Council 5) and his goal of no state union job cuts.

Dayton (in October 2010): "I would not be standing here today if it were not for AFSCME Council 5"

Dayton (in Feb 2011): "No AFSCME job cuts"

While Mark Dayton had also proposed a roughly 6 percent reduction, his actions since have shown that may have been somewhat less than real.  The legislature had as part of its governmental reform policy the plan to reduce the size of government by 15% by 2015 through a program of attrition. Thus no one would lose their jobs!.
As for accomplishing the reduction through attrition, workers say that may eliminate the pain of workers losing their jobs, but it will leave crucial positions unfilled.
“They all know that there are cuts coming down to the parks, and it’s an easy way for them to cut without hurting somebody,” Anderson said.
What the media, the Unions, and others miss is the main point.  Government is too large!   As citizens of Minnesota we need to reform and reduce government. Mark Dayton's earlier budgets were vaporware, never to be balanced, by even his highest call for increased taxation. As we reduce the size government, we will have to reform what and how its mission is done.  Agencies not essential to the role of government will have to be done away with.  So enters the shutdown planning that Dayton did.  He worked much longer and harder on the shutdown plan than on any real budget plan or negotiations.  He apparently wanted to make the shutdown as difficult and painful as possible  to show there is no such thing as non-essential government agencies.  So he shuts down, among many others, the revenue generating licensing agency, which ultimately lead to the State telling MillerCoors to remove some brands of beer from store shelves - that could not stand so the shutdown was terminated.  The DNR suspending water use permits, resulted in shutdown Georgia Pacific's hardboard plant in Duluth. Thus creating further unnecessary obstacles for private enterprise, causing further layoffs.

And to add insult to injury, as if we need any further evidence that Mark Dayton may not really be up to the position he is in, we find out from his own words how little he may have been engaged in and understanding the budget negotiations from a Strib article:
Dayton also said a misunderstanding between the two sides in the final hours before the shutdown began may have contributed to it. Dayton and his aides didn’t realize at the time that the Republicans’ final offer [6/30/2011] – which Dayton accepted Thursday [7/14/2011] – had dropped their demand to include social policy changes in budget bills while supporting his call for a $500 million bonding bill.

“We were in constant communication,” he said. “I don’t know whether there was miscommunication or subsequent revision. I don’t know. What’s done is done. The important thing now is to get an agreement very quickly.”
Further understanding of probable motivation comes from Dayton's conditions/demands in his letter to the legislature.  The first was essentially a restatement, saying he relies on the 6/30 statement that policy issues will be removed, and the third was the bonding bill that he acknowledged was already on the table. So this is his primary added condition:
Second, that you drop your arbitrary 15%, across the board reduction to the number of employees in all agencies, regardless of their funding source.
You need to make up your own mind, however to me all this appears to be an intense focus on supporting the Unions organizations so they do not lose "too much" in membership and the resulting dues. To the detriment of the citizens of Minnesota, and even to the Union membership.

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