Not only are our elected officials pretty good at debating and public speaking, they apparently can also bring things back from the dead. Who knew?
In a strange twist Monday night, the Senate tax bill passed by four votes, but not before it had to be resurrected. It was originally declared dead after being narrowly voted down. But the Democrats came to their bill's rescue.
First, one of the two senators who voted against the bill moved to reconsider its defeat and vote again. A motion to re-vote passed, and two DFLers who initially voted no changed their vote. Also, a third Democrat who failed to vote the first time around also voted yes, thus breathing new life into the controversial tax bill.
No one thought passage of this bill would come easy, but this?
"In my three years (as a senator) this is the second time I've seen a bill come up for reconsideration," Republican Sen. Gary Dahms told the Independent a few minutes after the bill's resurrection.
The bill is a tough one to swallow for Republicans. While Democrats say the money raised in the bill would be a big step in the state's efforts to balance the budget while also directing new money to services like all-day kindergarten, as well as to tuition help for college students and aid to local governments, Republicans say a heavier tax burden would work against business growth and job creation and would hit more than just the state's richest residents. Only one Republican - Sen. Dave Senjem of Rochester - voted yes on the bill, and he only did that because of a proposed tax break for the Mayo Clinic.
Forget about what party you're affiliated with for a second and ask yourself: Is what happened at the Capitol on Monday night a good thing? Should re-dos even be allowed? We say "no" with a capital N. The bill was debated on for nine hours, the vote was taken, the measure failed. End of story. If someone misses a vote, too bad. We suppose one could say it's our state's legislative process at its finest, but one could also argue that it makes our elected officials look confused, even desperate.
We don't like some of what the Senate's plan offers - not because it was crafted by a Democratic majority, but because the proposed hikes hit too deep and has tentacles that would potentially reach into too many middle-class pocketbooks. We hope the final tax bill agreed upon by the House and Senate will be the result of some tough compromises, that both chambers can meet in the middle somewhere.
Otherwise, it will be the middle class and small businesses that will need resuscitation.