A supermajority amendment or a super-stupid approach?
Mayor David Genereux, Crookston Daily Times, February 3, 2012 –
Crookston, Minn. — A faction of our state legislators has endorsed an idea that in order to raise taxes not only needs a majority vote, but a super majority vote to pass legislation. What is a “super majority”? Generally most legislation takes a majority vote of both houses of at least 51%. A super majority would be 67%. If you have paid any attention to state politics in Minnesota you would quickly understand that passing any kind of legislation where 67% of the representatives agree on an issue would be a major miracle. Even if you go back just 10-12 years, the ability of our legislators to get things done have been hampered by the majority party vs. the minority party. Partisan politics have gotten much more intense. Let’s not make it any worse by tying our legislator’s hands with the Supermajority Amendment.
What would be the fallout from a Supermajority Constitutional Amendment? As mentioned above, probably very little when it comes to budgeting and setting priorities for state spending by our legislators. Over time you will see a shift of taxes from the state to local governments. If the state can’t pay for them, shift the burden to someone else. This will make the state look good because it did not raise taxes. I think you will see programs that help fund our university educational systems, our K-12 education, nursing homes, and others just dry up.
Soon we will be in the same predicament as the states of Nevada and California. At every election they have a flood of new constitutional amendments for the voters to decide. Here lies the big danger for rural Minnesotans. If the citizens are forced to rely on constitutional amendments to fund programs, where do you think most of the clout will come from? Without a doubt, it will come from the large population pockets in Minnesota, the metro areas. Rural Minnesota will have little impact.
I would encourage you to call your legislators and discourage them from supporting this “Supermajority Amendment” idea. This idea will hurt rural Minnesota. We need legislators who will keep the big picture in mind when passing laws. Call your legislator today.