For those of you who don’t know what a real “Moderate” Republican sounds like and are too easily fooled by a Republican Representative who is a handmaiden to Speaker Sviggum who’s a handmaiden to the Governor, here’s what Rep. Ron Erhardt has to say:

Ron Erhardt: Gang of Three needs to loosen up and deal

This year the same three players are negotiating and we’re deadlocked again.

Understand the way the system works. The big three — the governor, speaker of the House, and Senate majority leader — end up negotiating the mix and the amount of taxes and spending that will be done to balance the state budget and provide for government services. To complete their work, legislators must await the decisions of the big three.

The “Gang of Three” is again in stalemate, and legislators on both sides of the aisle are very frustrated. We’d like to complete the bills and adjourn; the public would like that, too.

When members of a conference committee can’t compromise enough to settle their differences and produce a bill, they are replaced with different conferees. If the “Gang of Three” can’t compromise and reach agreement, perhaps they should be replaced.

Disturbingly, much of what is happening has little or nothing to do with common-sense policymaking or balanced funding for the state; it has everything to do with politics and trying to make the other side look bad.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty needs to loosen up on his “no new tax” pledge. Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson has to quit asking for so much new tax money and House Speaker Steve Sviggum should act as if he has a vision for the entire state rather than just playing handmaiden to the governor.

Thanks to Julie Risser for pointing out this op-ed that demonstrates that her Edina Republican Representative Ron Erhardt is truly a moderate.

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