The Edina Patch ran a story today about my thoughts on the announcement yesterday by Walter Mondale and Arne Carlson that they were setting up a budget commission. Here is the article from the Patch in its entirety:
Edina legislator says it 'will be an interesting little sideshow.'
By Ryan Gauthier | 4:00pm
Hot on the heels of news that several prominent political faces are entering the ongoing budget battle, State Rep. Keith Downey (R-Edina) remains "skeptical" the newly formed committee will have much impact.
"This will be an interesting little sideshow," Downey said. "The governor appears to like that approach as opposed to sitting in a room and actually negotiating the finance bills. We've got to sit down and have some substantive negotiations, not get involved in political moves like this."
As he said Walter Mondale and Arne Carlson had already been offering their perspectives on the situation, Downey doesn't expect the committee to generate much outside of news headlines.
"It's another round of media coverage for the governor, but I don't think it'll carry much weight in the legislature," he said.
Downey took a brief respite from negotiations to march in Edina's Independence Day parade, which he said was a great opportunity to get out and hear directly from his constituents. Aside from a smattering of "get back to work" heckles—which Downey said he actually appreciated—he said comments were mostly encouraging.
"My own impression is when people actually understand the facts, they tend to agree with us," he said.
Downey said he's seen a steady stream of emails and phone calls on the budget negotiations since early May. It hasn't really changed much since the shutdown took place, though he said the "DFL union machine" has been working to voice its displeasure.
With the long holiday weekend now behind legislators, Downey said he would like to see Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders resume budget talks with renewed vigor.
"We were literally a couple hundred millions dollars apart at one point," he said. "I hope we can bridge that gap soon."
My own view: More arrogant posturing as if no people understand how to govern our state. How can these two think they know more than Mark Dayton? How can the Republicans continue to act as if people are on their side? I mean, really ... The budget is the symptom, NOT the problem. It's VALUES and ETHICS that are the question here.