During the campaign, Gov. Dayton frequently refered to himself as the jobs governor. There’s less than a week remaining before a state government shutdown. Gov. Dayton hasn’t changed his mind on signing a transportation bill. Instead, he’s upping the ante, making it impossible for Minnetonka to complete an important bridge project by denying Minnetonka the ability to use state right-of-way as a staging area for a bridge project.
With that type of stubbornness constantly on display, it’s time to give Gov. Dayton a more accurate title. I’m partial to giving Gov. Dayton the title of being the my-way-or-no-highways governor but I’m currently willing to consider giving Gov. Dayton the title of being the unemployment governor, too.
As always, I’m open to my readers’ suggestions, too.
I know the titles I’ve thought of are smart alecky but it’s worth thinking the titles through. The reality is that Gov. Dayton could keep 20,000 people working by signing a Transportation Bill that works on just the dedicated funding. According to Rep. Mike Beard, 200-300 construction companies might go out of business if construction projects are put on ice for an extended period of time:
They say the money used to pay for road construction comes from a dedicated fund supported by taxes and fees. They say those projects could continue without having any impact on the budget. And so could the jobs they provide.
“Well immediately it’s almost 7,000 public employees that work for MNDOT, Public Safety and the Department of Vehicle Services which are all funded out of this special fund of money,” says Representative Beard. “Related to that there are several hundred contractors with somewhere between 10,000 to 14,000 employees.”
If Gov. Dayton truly was the jobs governor, he’d sign the Transportation Bill. The only explanation for Gov. Dayton’s refusal is if he’s the my-way-or-no-highways governor. The people advising Gov. Dayton aren’t giving him good policy advice. They aren’t giving him good political advice either.
Republicans have agreed to match Gov. Dayton’s budget on K-12 Education, the courts and public safety. If Gov. Dayton isn’t willing to call a special session to pass those bills plus the Transportation Bill, then Gov. Dayton’s administration will be the administration of record for the single biggest jump in unemployment in Minnesota history.
Gov. Dayton can spin or explain how the evil Republicans didn’t meet his demands or whine about not agreeing to raising taxes. In the end, though, what will be evident is that Gov. Dayton will have failed in living up to being the jobs governor. It will be evident, too, that the Dayton administration took steps to guarantee this spike in unemployment.
This won’t just hurt Gov. Dayton’s approval rating. DFL legislators that don’t speak out against Gov. Dayton’s counterproductive policies will be accurately depicted as Gov. Dayton’s yes man brigade. Next November, I wouldn’t want to be those politicians.