In the letter, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller appear ready to drop the idea of a more comprehensive special session to deal with larger issues like property tax relief and a bonding bill and to focus exclusively on the two disasters which struck the state in August. They also suggest they would consider abandoning the idea of a gas tax increase, using $370 million in existing funding to address disaster needs.
I am really disappointed about this. Perhaps the State Fair pushed the fallen bridge from the minds of Minnesota, but there doesn't seem to be much momentum anymore for doing something to fix the fact that a perfectly unstruck-by-disaster bridge fell into the Mississippi randomly one day. Perhaps, more likely, the DFL's ambitious saber rattling (calling for an extended special session, and broadening the agenda to include LGA funds and property tax relief) scared the Governor into wilting away. In essence, a lot of people (myself included) wanted the bridge to rectify last year's rather disappointing budget session.
The question is now: Is Pothole Pawlenty going to call a special session at all? And if not, how will his post-bridge promises look come February? Is our children learning?
If there's a bright side, though, I have a lot of faith that the next legislative session will bring a veto-proof increase in the gas tax. The DFL was only a few House votes short of an over-ride last session, and there are a number of fence-sitters that'll fall like steel girders over to the transportation funding side of the aisle.
P.S. My time off was nice, spent up in Western Ontario reading and fishing. I noticed for the thousandth time that Canada has a different attitude about government than we do. People there seem actually proud to wear a non-military uniform