If the mark of a good compromise is that no one party is completely happy, then the deadlock-breaking agreement announced Friday among Minnesota House and Senate leaders and Gov. Jesse Ventura is indeed a good one.
Democrats wanted more spending on education and other programs. Republicans wanted to see more tax cuts. Ventura wanted considerably less spent on education than either the House or the Senate. There will likely be some grumbling heard from politicians of all persuasions but overall, the agreement does a nice job of blending elements of some distinct political positions into a nice compromise package.
The alternative to the compromise would have been a government shutdown on July 1. The prospect of no funding for key state programs would have been a political disaster for everyone involved. It would have antagonized legions of Minnesota voters, who probably would have called for the heads of all incumbents running in 2002 to punish their bullheadedness.
The best aspect of the agreement is that the Legislature didn't let a prime opportunity for substantial property tax reform slip through its fingers. The tax rate on every type of property was decreased and the state's traditionally high commercial and industrial taxes were lowered enough so that Minnesota Chamber of Commerce officials predicted the state will no longer rank in the top 10 in business property taxes.
Ventura and House and Senate leaders realized the time had come to make a deal. They should be credited for their common sense.
It wasn't easy and it wasn't perfect but the eventual package reached by Ventura and the House and Senate leaders is one that is going to please most Minnesotans. Of course, skeptics would counter, when a state has the good fortune of being able to offer voters a tax rebate of $856 million it should be easy to keep the citizens content.
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