GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers said he doesn't take his marching orders from MNGOP Party Chair Tony Sutton. Zellers made his comments after he was asked about a letter Sutton wrote to GOP lawmakers reminding them that the state doesn't need any new revenue. Zellers said he communicates regularly with Sutton but that doesn't mean he follows every recommendation.
"Chairman Sutton can send us all kinds of letters recommending all kinds of great things," Zellers said. "It doesn't mean that I have to do exactly what Chairman Sutton says. I got a pretty big independent streak in my German heritage."
As for new revenue, Sutton and GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said they oppose new tax increases. They were careful, however, to stay away from ruling out other revenue options like fees and gambling.
Zellers and Koch said their top priority is putting forward a balanced budget that erases a $5 billion projected budget deficit through spending cuts. He said discussions about other revenue may come after that.
"We got $33 billion in the checkbook. That's what we're going to spend, Zellers said. "If the governor has some ideas that aren't introduced yet that doesn't include a job killing tax increase, we're going to be more than willing to talk about that later on. Our first job now is to introduce a budget which is focused on where are you spending the money, what are you spending it on and what are the citizens of the state getting for value."
House and Senate Republicans will introduce their targets for each budget division next week. Expect the respective chairs to release their budget bills the following week.
This story needs a competent copy editor.
We're still waiting, and waiting, for that Republican all-cuts budget we were promised months ago. So far, the Republicans have provided only gamesmanship, "gotcha" votes, and cheap political theater.
Meanwhile, Republican Dear Leader Zellers floats his trial balloons - "fees" are good; "taxes" are bad. Does he really think Tim Pawlenty fooled anybody with that nonsense? Watch for big Republican Property Tax Increases, coming soon to a municipality near you.
Ralph, where do you get your negative sound bites from?
Going from $30 Billion in revenue to $33 Billion in revenue is obviously a 10% INCREASE in revenue. Increasing spending by 10% is also an INCREASE.
Where's the CUTS that you fear Ralph?
@Mike, your Republican buddies promised us an all-cuts budget. That's how they got elected. So far they've produced no budget at all. ...no jobs, either.
Lots of good political theater, though. Bills about repealing equal pay for women, requiring old folks in nursing homes to go out and get picture IDs, and putting 10 year olds on trial as adults. You're happy with all that theater? Maybe you were a drama major?
Glad you're here, Ralph.
"Where's the CUTS that you fear Ralph?"
That's "Where ARE the cuts..." Grammar 101.
"Zellers: 'Sutton ain't my boss.'"
Oh, blah blah. Big deal. Where's the news?
Zellers just wants us to think he's such a great independent thinker. Meanwhile, most of what he says and does is straight out of the Republican playbook.