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New faces, same result State government still broken

Last fall, there was a seismic shift at the Minnesota Legislature and Governor's Mansion. Voters swept Republicans into control of both chambers of the Legislature for the first time in 38 years. They replaced a two-term GOP governor with a liberal who promised a new course. But instead of the big changes and big ideas one might expect, we've gotten more of the same.

And somehow, it actually seems even worse.

The governor has adopted the same line-in-the-sand negotiating tactic as his predecessor, expecting the Republicans to come forward with a budget proposal that meets his approval before he will start bargaining with them.

Republicans have hurriedly passed proposals dealing with guns, gay marriage and photo ID at the polls, which are red-meat issues within their party, but have nothing to do with fixing this perpetual budget mess. Even worse, they're doing their best to get these issues on the ballot. We do not want or need a government-by-ballot-measure system like California's mess. Legislators are paid to weigh the issues carefully, come to consensus as to what's best for the whole state, and vote their conscience. If they're not going to do that, they should be turning their paychecks in and heading home.

How can we be this far into the process without a serious discussion about how to fix problem number one?

The time for band-aid solutions and brinksmanship politics is over. Minnesotans don't want partisan bickering on steroids, we want results. We need results.

It's time to quit with the gimmicks and get to work on the budget.