Greg Davids: DMC legislation problems started before recent session

Imagine my surprise when, during my reading of the Post-Bulletin's analysis on the fate of the Destination Medical Center, I learned state Rep. Kim Norton believes I am raising taxes on Rochester residents due to the fact that a Destination Medical Center proposal fix was not approved during the 2015 session.

Folks, that wisecrack would be comedic gold if the situation that led to the remark wasn't so serious. Worse, it comes from the person who botched the DMC bill in the first place and put Rochester and its residents in this predicament.

Honestly, there are times when I see this nonsense and believe it could only happen in Minnesota.

Norton wrote her DMC bill in such a shoddy manner that the state's attorney general found it to require $12 billion in private investment before any state aid directed to the project could be utilized. As chairman of the House Taxes Committee, I authored legislation that began to clean up her mess, and it was approved unanimously in mid-January.

The rest of the DMC confusion was addressed in our omnibus taxes bill. The irony is I also had a commitment from the Senate to include it in any compromise budget agreement on taxes.


But Gov. Mark Dayton refused to consider a comprehensive tax relief proposal for the middle class because the Minnesota House would not support raising $9 billion in transportation taxes and fees, including a tax increase that ultimately would have cost you a minimum of 16-cents more per gallon for gasoline.

Only in Minnesota.

DMC became a casualty of the governor's decision, and there was never any chance of it being approved on a stand-alone basis.

As taxes chairman, it's my job to protect the integrity of the tax committee. Former chairwoman and current DFL lead Ann Lenczewski has repeatedly said she would never do solo tax provisions on the House floor unless there's a prior agreement, and neither will I. If you're going to do every tax provision alone on the House floor — death by a thousand cuts — then why even have a tax committee?

At no time during session did I hear from either Norton or Rep. Tina Liebling on this topic, however Sen. Carla Nelson and I discussed DMC frequently. I met with city of Rochester officials in December, and Mayor Ardell Brede left me a message near the end of session saying he would like to see DMC in our omnibus jobs proposal.

In the final hours of session, other than Sen. Nelson, I heard from no one associated with Rochester nor the DFL legislators representing the city about DMC. Yet, I am to blame even though all I tried to do was correct mistakes from the past?

Only in Minnesota.

Speaking of Liebling, she has unique ways to help persuade lawmakers to support DMC, doesn't she?


After watching her DFL caucus filibuster bipartisan, bicameral spending proposals on the last night of session, House Speaker Kurt Daudt called for a vote on the final budget proposal on jobs before session was required to adjourn.

It's indisputable that Speaker Daudt is one of the three most powerful people in state government today. He's a good ally to have on your side; a person you would want fighting for DMC when special session negotiations begin.

Never one to temper her blatant partisanship, Liebling instead called for Daudt to resign, citing that lawmakers in the minority hadn't even had a chance to read or debate the jobs legislation. She says it's something that should never be seen in the Minnesota Legislature.

This from the person who in 2007 voted to silence the minority so her Democratic leadership could approve budget proposals without debate during the final hours of session. She also did not call for anyone's resignation immediately thereafter.

Only in Minnesota.

To be clear, I'm a fan of DMC. It provides southeastern Minnesota with an unbelievable economic opportunity as it will create tens of thousands of jobs. Speaker Daudt is also receptive to the plan, and I'm hopeful he will help move it forward in special session negotiations as part of major tax reform.

But let's also step away from the finger pointing and remember this: If the DMC bill would have been written correctly in the first place, Rochester would not be facing this current quandary and local DFL representatives wouldn't be looking for a scapegoat.

Greg Davids, a Republican from Preston, represents District 28B in the Minnesota House of Representatives and serves as chairman of the Taxes Committee. He can be reached by phone at 651-296-9278 or by email at

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