Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Do, or don't do, there is no try 

After his vetoes today, it looks like the DFL is now passing on property tax relief.
Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, both of Minneapolis, said they don't think they'll be able to find the money. They had attached relief to a bill that would raise the income tax, which Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed.

"He has roadblocked significant property tax relief, and that's a big disappointment," Pogemiller said. "Property tax relief is not really on the way."

Brian McClung, a spokesman for Pawlenty, said the DFL proposal to aid homeowners with a higher income tax was "a shell game." He said the governor hasn't ruled out the possibility of doing property tax relief as part of a final deal.

"We are not setting it aside," McClung said.
Of course Governor Pawlenty is not setting it aside, but what the DFL will try to do now is to pin a choice between property tax relief, roads, and education on the governor. He has a budget that provides for those, of course, but not to the extent the DFL wants. So what will happen now is one of those three groups is going to get very mad, and the DFL will certainly want it to be property owners not getting relief -- they're the bigger group, and not likely to reduce campaign contributions to the extent the labor and teacher unions would if you cut one of the other two agenda items. If Pawlenty can get his transportation plan enacted, there may be enough to do something with the other two, but the DFL may be able to block property tax relief this session and say "we tried, but the Republicans wouldn't let us cut your taxes, they protected their rich friends." I be that is what all this puerile posturing by Pogemiller is about.

Pawlenty wins big if he can figure out how to get his bonding plan for transportation passed and get some bit of property tax relief through. But because he held back the DFL tax increases, he already has some big notches in his belt. Here's where we find out if he will press his advantages or let the DFL have some face-saving victory that keeps the peace for 2008.