Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Initiating compromise in Helena

Yesterday, Montana Headlines asked again why Democrats in Helena seem to have taken an "all or nothing" approach rather than working toward some visible compromise.

Jeff Mangan makes a good point over at MOTTO when he says that MH is missing the "subtle point" that the onus for initiating compromise proposals is on the party not in power.

This is perhaps true, but it has seemed to us that Republicans have done more of that than they get credit for doing. Given their druthers, the GOP would have liked to eliminate the business equipment tax completely, but settled on a proposal to drop it a single percentage point from 3% to 2%.

They would have liked to hold the overall spending increase to more like 4 or 5%, but instead proposed 13%, which is about half-way between this and the executive branch's request for 23% (and given how the bartering process works, this means they understood that the final number would be somewhere between 13% and 23% -- which is meeting Democrats more than half-way.)

They would have liked to include everyone in property tax relief, but have recently said that they would be willing to exclude large corporations, since that seems to be a sticking point with many Democrats.

There are many other examples. The problem seems to be that many Democrats instantly label Republican proposals as "extreme." We don't doubt that they view them as such -- but then many Republicans view Democratic proposals as being extreme, even though more liberal proponents probably think they are acting with restraint.

We agree with MOTTO that we would like to see more from the Republican Senate leadership, but at the same time, given the fact that Senate Democrats have shown that they have the same ability to band together to pass bills on party-line votes that Republicans have shown in the House, we would imagine that any effective influence Republican Senators have is going to be quiet and behind the scenes.

No comments: