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Bemidji Pioneer Editorial: Dayton asks cooperation, not gridlock

It was a somber former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton who took to the podium on Wednesday afternoon to make his first remarks as governor-elect of Minnesota. That's because he knows the challenge ahead in trying to solve a $6.2 billion budget gap for the next biennium, working with a Republican Legislature committed to taking the option of raising revenues off the table of options.

When Gov.-elect Dayton campaigned on raising taxes on wealthy Minnesotans, those making $130,000 or more, or $150,000 for couples, he was hoping for a Democratic Legislature to carry through on his campaign pledge.

He doesn't have one.

Gov.-elect Dayton recognized that in his first remarks Wednesday, but still said Minnesota's tax system needs to be progressive and fair.

Why do Minnsesotans do this? Elected a DFL Legislature and a Republican governor, and then a GOP Legislature and a Democratic governor?

"You were elected on your platforms and principles; I was elected on mine," the new governor said to Republicans. "I believe the collective wisdom of the electorate is that they want part of what each of us offers -- and they want us to work together to solve the state's budget crisis; put them back to work; put government to work for them; and for all of us to work together to build a Better Minnesota."

Dayton believes Minnesotans want the two parties to "find our common ground, and to create shared solutions." We can't have a continuation of the last eight years of divisiveness. "If we simply disregard and defeat each other's proposals, and try to make each other look bad in the process, we will only cause unwanted gridlock," Gov.-elect Dayton said. "More importantly, we will fail the people of Minnesota. They deserve our best and our success, because they need and deserve a Better Minnesota."

To work together in politics means compromise -- not of one's principles but of the solutions used to solve a problem. Spendy liberalism won't work, neither will tight-fisted conservatism. A common ground must be found in the middle where agreement can be found that solves the problem, a $6.2 billion problem, without creating more vulnerable Minnesotans or shuttering more Minnesota businesses.

That's what Minnesotans want, not gridlock.


The Bemidji Pioneer and the Echo Press are Forum Communications Company newspapers.