It’s exceptionally clear that Gov. Dayton is upset with the Mille Lacs Lake Working Group that he appointed. Essentially, he’s upset with the working group because they haven’t rubber stamped his bailout of businesses. That fits with his pattern of throwing hissy fits when people ask legitimate questions of his proposals.
In this instance, the Working Group’s chief question is simple. If the legislature spends $20,000,000 to bail out the businesses around the lake, why shouldn’t Iron Range businesses ask for a bailout? The Iron Range just got hit with hundreds of layoffs this spring. If Gov. Dayton thinks that Mille Lacs’ businesses are hurting, why shouldn’t Iron Range businesses that are hurting be eligible for bailouts, too?
That’s before talking about whether Gov. Dayton’s proposal is actually a solution to Mille Lacs Lake’s long-term problems. Simply put, Gov. Dayton’s proposals are laughable. That’s why there’s bipartisan support for rejecting Gov. Dayton’s proposal.
Friday night, former DFL legislators Mindy Greiling and Ember Reichgott-Junge agreed with Brian McClung, Gov. Pawlenty’s Chief of Communications, and Walter Hudson of the Republican Liberty Alliance of Minnesota that a bailout of Mille Lacs Lake businesses would set a dangerous precedent for policymakers. Of course, Gov. Dayton didn’t like it when his proposal was rejected:
“It is extremely disappointing that today’s chair of the Mille Lacs working group is playing games, rather than providing help to the businesses and people suffering there. His latest move is unprecedented in my two terms as governor,” said the governor, adding that in the past there was bipartisan support in response to naturally-caused disasters.
Gov. Dayton’s characterization is intellectually dishonest. While there’s consistently been “bipartisan support in response to naturally-caused disasters,” it’s dishonest to characterize this as a natural disaster. The declining walleye fishing on Mille Lacs is the result of government mismanagement. Specifically, it’s the result of the DNR’s, aka the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’, mismanagement.
Republicans have insisted that reforming and reorganizing of the DNR, with improved accountability of the DNR, must be part of any special session. They emphatically stated that before the Working Group was formed. They haven’t changed their mind about that since.
Gov. Dayton rejected that proposal, saying that that shouldn’t be part of a special session. That means he’s for unlimited bailouts, little accountability for the DNR and no solutions for a formerly great walleye fishery, which is what’s needed for the long-term health of businesses.