So, after frantic bill passing right until midnight in the House, the regular session ended and the special session began. Not surprisingly, the special session came to order and was almost immediately adjourned until noon on Thursday. Minnesota Politics
appears to have been correct
(I hate saying "right") in thinking that Gov. Pawlenty's calling the special session
for 12:01 AM was pure grandstanding. And it seems to have worked. The last link is to an article whose headline, as of this writing, is "'Get back to work,' Pawlenty says.' Pawlenty gets to look like the strict father figure, while the Legislature looks like the naughty children. Pawlenty looks like the hero, while the Legislature looks like the villain.
Make no mistake; this whole situation is mostly Tim Pawlenty's fault. Governor Logjam, Governor Roadblock, Governor No-New-Tax, he has made the Legislature's job a thousand times more difficult. The No-New-Tax pledge, and the endearment to the Radical Right that it represents, has been the primary holdup for this legislative session.
I haven't had time to write about it, but the Governor's positions on the transportation and education bills seem very, very strange to me. The logic of vetoing a bill for including a gas tax right before calling for an increase in the cigarette tax is damn near inscrutable. People aren't stupid enough to buy the Governor's crap about the tax actually being a fee, and it's clear that he has broken his No-New-Tax pledge. Joke is, the gas tax is really more of a fee than the cigarette tax, though neither is a true "user fee," as the governor has made them out to be. Twenty bucks for a driver's license is a user fee, and fifty bucks for a license plate tab is a user fee (numbers made up on the spot), but make no mistake, cigarette and gas taxes are taxes. Governor Pawlenty is trying to bamboozle us, but it's not going to work. His flip-flop is just bizarre, and there is no conceivable gain in it for him.
More about the special session, Gov. Pawlenty, and the nuclear option's resolution tomorrow.