Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Find the fibber 

Many thanks to Speed Gibson for transcribing the David Strom Show interview with Larry Pogemiller. The whole thing needs reading, but in relevant part:
DS: [...] You are the leader of your caucus.

LP: It's a democracy. People get to vote yes or no. I can't tell Steve Murphy how to vote. I can't tell Tim Pawlenty whether to veto a bill or not. All I can do is control my own vote [and] keep my public rhetoric focused on the two things that are crucial to do right now, which are fix the bridge and do the flood relief. Every public comment I have made has been around those issues. That's all I can do.

DS: That's all you can do, but you are the leader of your caucus. When Steve Sviggum would go and cut a deal with the Governor, there were a lot of people I know in the Republican caucus who would complain, "Weill I'm sorry, this is not what I like. I don't want to vote for this." But at the end of the day, that was the deal that was cut.

LP: [...] The Governor have an agreement.

DS: Can you keep your agreement?

LP: Ahhh... In my 25 year history in the State Senate, I don't think you'll ever find one instance where someone says I haven't kept an agreement.

DS: I asking: can you keep your caucus in control or is it going to turn into a circus?

LP Absolutely it's not going to turn into a circus. The Speaker and I have the power to make sure it's a limited, short agenda. Absolutely.

DS: And are you assuring the people of Minnesota now ...

LP: I'm assuring the people of the state that we're going to do the right thing.

DS: No no, is it going to be a limited short session?

LP: It absolutely is going to be a limited, short session. Absolutely.

DS: So there's not going to be an attempt to pass a "compo", what you call a comprehensive, which is a sales tax people can't vote on ...

LP: David, I have no idea what members of the Senate and the House will try to do. All I can tell you is that it will be a short, limited agenda. We will accomplish flood relief and what's necessary on the bridge. That's all I can guarantee. That's what we will do.
Steve Murphy, Senate Transportation Committee chair, 3 Aug 07:

"I think people are clamoring for us to do something about this," Murphy said. "Our system is underfunded. I hate to tap taxpayers, but we haven't had real money in the system since 1988." That's the last time gas taxes, now at 20 cents per gallon, were increased.

"If someone gets in the way," he said, "they should be prepared to get steamrolled."

Murphy, 22 Aug:

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, said a temporary [gas] tax would be problematic and wouldn't meet ongoing road-and-bridge needs.

"It's snake oil, that's all it is," he said.

Murphy, 29 Aug:
We've got a long way to go from five cents, but at least the governor is making the move in the right direction," Murphy said. "I think that the more people find out what the depth and breadth of this problem is, they're going to be more willing to listen."

Murphy said that a nickel increase falls short because "five cents raises $150 million and we have over a $3 billion underfunding in transportation a year."

Still, he said, Pawlenty is showing courage.

"I've got to give the governor some kudos because that was an incredibly difficult thing for him to do. He's for all these years had this 'No new taxes' pledge, and for him to stand up and say, 'Maybe a nickel is not that outrageous,' is a huge step in the right direction."

Murphy said that state highways, which represent only about 18 percent of all the roads in Minnesota, are $1 billion behind in funding, and that that amount is needed every year for a 10-year construction cycle. Township roads, county roads, city streets and transit add another $700 million to $1.5 billion, he said, and rural Minnesota needs $710 million worth of bridge improvements.

Murphy said a long-term comprehensive plan should include increases in the gas tax, in license tabs, and maybe a wheelage tax and a metrowide or statewide sales tax initiative.

Tarryl Clark, Senate Assistant DFL Leader, 4 Aug:
We hoped all along the governor would be willing to compromise and we're glad to see he's willing to be flexible and move Minnesota forward. Hopefully, (a special session) would be about jobs and infrastructure, including transportation, bonding and Local Government Aid.
Keith Langseth, Senate Capital Improvement Chair, 30 Aug:

Sen. Keith Langseth, the chairman of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, also wants to see a borrowing bill on the special session agenda.

During a special session, Langseth predicted, lawmakers would repass the $334 million borrowing bill that the House and Senate approved during their regular session earlier this year.

If Pogemiller is just saying he can't control his caucus, perhaps it's time for that caucus to get a new leader. Either that, or ...
The biggest obstacle on the road to a special session may be a shortage of trust between Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, and Pawlenty.
Flashback: Pogology.

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