Keystone Cops, Senate de-Bakk-le edition

Written by Gary Gross. of Let Freedom Ring via TrueNorth

In March of 2011, Sen. Bakk hinted that Republicans didn’t have the sufficient experience to run the Senate. Yesterday, the DFL-controlled Senate laid the biggest egg in Minnesota legislative history:

There were a few hiccups along the way but the Minnesota Senate voted for a tax bill that raises income taxes on top earners, increases tobacco taxes and expands the sales tax to clothing and other services.

The bill’s final passage came after the Senate initially defeated the measure. Senate Democrats quickly met in private and then voted to reconsider the initial vote.

Two Democrats switched their votes. Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL- Apple Valley, says he switched his vote from no to yes because he was worried the Senate would not be able to commit to spending priorities if the tax bill failed. “For me, what it came down to quite honestly is that we made a lot of gains in education,” Clausen said. “I ran on an education platform and I wasn’t willing to put those education investments at risk by not having this tax bill.”

DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says several DFL members were confused when a few Republicans signaled they would support the bill but eventually switched to a no vote. “There were people that voted no because they thought there were plenty of votes up to pass it,” Bakk said. “I think people didn’t realize that people were going to play a little trick when the roll was closed and switch their vote back. I think there would have easily been the same number of votes had the Republicans had been honest and put up their red vote when the roll was called.”

Bakk said he didn’t twist arms to convince Clausen or Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin, to switch their votes. Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, also voted for the bill after not voting the first time.

Mr. Scheck was spinning the Senate’s vote on the Tax Bill when he said “there were a few hiccups along the way” to passing the Senate Tax Bill. Having a big majority in the legislature means that you pass the bills you prioritize. Getting the DFL’s highest priority bill defeated might be proof of outright sloppiness on Sen. Bakk’s behalf. Either that or Sen. Clausen and Sen. Hoffman got lectured for thinking they were elected to represent their district’s wishes.

When Sen. Bakk lectured Republicans about the need for experienced leadership, little did anyone think that they’d see Sen. Bakk look the part of inept freshman legislator in his first week in St. Paul. Monday, that’s precisely what Sen. Bakk looked like.

It’s bad enough that the DFL got the policies wrong. It’s worse that they got the policies wrong, then had to vote a second time to pass tax policies that will a) raise taxes on the middle class, b) hurt Minnesota’s economy, c) drive companies from Minnesota and d) hurt Minnesota’s retailers.

When Minnesotans elected a DFL majority to the Senate, I’m certain they didn’t think they were voting for middle class tax increases and Sen. Bakk’s inept leadership. Unfortunately, that’s what we’re stuck with for the next 3 years.

Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.