Friday, July 15, 2005

Taking it back 

When I first heard of term limits and other measures that would quickly terminate legislators' tenure in office, I thought it was a breach of contract between voters and legislators. I'm still relatively agnostic on term limits, but two senators, Sean Nienow and Dave Kleis, have decided to create a website that would both cut off pay for legislators in special sessions, and immediate recall for all legislators if the budget isn't passed by the Constitutionally required date.

Is this going to help? It's not clear which side would be harmed in a budget showdown with the possibility of snap elections. The stronger side, that might be able to get the agreement with some negotiating, might try to force a shutdown to gain more seats in the quick elections. If the Kleis bill had passed, do you think the Republicans or DFL would have gained seats? It might have forced even higher taxes as the Republicans were not prepared at that time to go to the voters.

The pay cutoff, however, strikes me as a good deal. Rather than that, give everyone an annual salary and a global cap for per diems in the biennium. If they finish early on the budget and want to come back to discuss, say, a new Twins stadium, I don't have a problem paying per diems. But if they come back now, as some are suggesting, that doesn't seem right.

UPDATE: Reader/commenter Nathan Bissonnette:

No per diem. Manditory dormitory.

Condemn the Sears store across the street, gut it, install hundreds of cots, stay in continuous session until everything is done. Every member must sleep there every night and eat cafeteria food every meal, no different from a freshman dorm.

Oh, and no private cars allowed, no reimbursement for taxis. Must go everywhere by city bus.

With urine-caked drunks. This is brilliant!