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Opening Arguments

A tame session

The Journal Gazette editorial page is pleased that Republicans aren't using their overwhelming dominance of state government to, well, dominate overwhelmingly:

When Republicans won the governor’s office and built upon their legislative majorities in the General Assembly in last year’s election, independents and Democrats were rightly concerned that the overwhelming GOP control would end debate over key issues.

That has been partially true, at least on some social issues. But Gov. Mike Pence and GOP legislative leaders have been remarkably frank in challenging the other’s key proposals.

On Tuesday, Pence reiterated his opposition to any expansion of gambling and questioned a Republican bill that would allow riverboat casinos to move inland and to replace automated card and roulette games with dealer-supervised table games. Though the proposal would not create new casinos, its goal is to bring in more revenue. Pence and the bill’s author then offered differing views on whether more gambling revenue meant expanding gambling.

[. . .]

Previously, key GOP legislative leaders publicly questioned Pence’s proposal for a 10 percent state income tax reduction – a reduction of about one-third of a percentage point – saying restoring more education and highway funding was more important. When a GOP-authored budget bill was introduced in the House, it excluded a tax cut.

I suspect they like the discord mostly because it splits Republicans and therefore might discourage conservative legislation. If Democrats enjoyed such an advantage, the JG would be urging them on, not cheering their restraint.

But I take the point. When one party has the governor's office and a supermajority in both houses, there is a risk they'll do something stupid just because they can. The fact that they aren't (so far) is a good thing. And the whole atmosphere seems to be a lot more civil this year than in the last two or three. Whether it's Republicans disagreeing with each other and Republicans and Democrats clashing, the debate proceeds without most participants casting aspersions on those with different views.