October 27, 2009
Action, Not Talk, Needed on Interstate Cooperation
A month ago, when Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced that Minnesota was pulling out of income tax reciprocity with Wisconsin, there was disappointment and frustration from residents and legislators in both states. At the beginning of this year, Minnesota Governor Pawlenty and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle held press conferences in our region talking about a new spirit of interstate cooperation that could help each state.
At the time, I applauded Governor Doyle for his initiative and offered my full support, even outlining a number of issues where we could problem-solve across state lines. I had hoped that we could advance initiatives that would position our region for economic growth. It was refreshing to see bipartisanship across state lines working for the common good.
But talk must turn into action. That is why it is disheartening to hear that the Governors have been unsuccessful in working out differences in the 41-year-old income tax reciprocity agreement. It is interesting to note that The Council on State Governments is even promoting, as part of their annual conference to be held in California this November, a seminar on “How Governors Tim Pawlenty and Jim Doyle came together to develop a truly unique and out-of-the-box approach to interstate cooperation.” Again €“ where are the results?
While state lawmakers from both parties and both states have taken unprecedented action in calling for the Governors to get back to the table and negotiate a deal, both Governors have been non-responsive. So while interstate cooperation has been and is being touted, the fact remains that the Governors have failed to maintain a critical agreement between the states. Tens-of-thousands of border crossers will be adversely affected by this failure.
You can visit my website to learn more about income tax reciprocity at www.harsdorfsenate.com. The Governors need to get back to the table and make reality match their rhetoric; but I fear they now won’t do it alone. Call the Governors and tell them what you think. Governor Doyle can be reached by calling (608) 266-1212 and Governor Pawlenty can be reached by calling (651) 296-3391.