Ruling gives governor way too much power

Attorneys for the Minnesota Legislature filed a report this week with the Minnesota Supreme Court, saying the Legislature will have to start laying off employees and shutting down by December if no agreement is reached between Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature over the legislative funding Dayton vetoed.

The Supreme Court had earlier issued a preliminary ruling saying Dayton’s line item veto is constitutional, but ordering the two sides to go through mediation to settle their dispute.

We still fail to see how the Supreme Court could allow such a blatant abuse of power, something so clearly not intended by the writers of the state constitution. If the governor can just cut the funding for the Legislature it throws the state’s balance of power so far out of whack that we can hardly be said to have a legislative branch of government. The governor would be able to exert so much leverage over the Legislature — or the Judiciary, for that matter — that he would become a de facto dictator.

If this ruling stands, and if the Legislature should ever get its funding back, its first order of business should be to pass a constitutional amendment forbidding the governor from using the line item veto in this way. There should be enough bipartisan support to ram it through past the governor’s veto. We think the voters of Minnesota would ratify this amendment in a heartbeat.