Archive for the ‘Special Interests’ Category
Just like Speaker Daudt predicted, the Met Council has announced that they’ll “come up with the final piece of the state and local funding” for the SWLRT project. That’s the mini-bombshell about the SWLRT project.
The major bombshell this week happened “when House Speaker Kurt Daudt revealed the existence of an email from Met Council Chairman Adam Duininck to Governor Dayton stating that the federal government has no plans to execute a funding agreement until sometime in 2017 because of ongoing litigation regarding the project. He’s (Dayton) hid that from the public and from the Legislature and from the press since January of this year. We know the federal government is not going to fund it for a year and a half. There is no deadline. There is no reason that we have to take action now on Southwest light rail,” said Daudt.”
It’s connect-the-dots time. First, the Senate DFL bonding bill that was defeated was the biggest bonding bill proposed in state history by orders of magnitude. It was for $1,800,000,000. Next, every DFL senator voted for that bill. Third, that $1,800,000,000 bonding bill didn’t contain a penny of funding for SWLRT. The state’s share would have been $135,000,000. In a pork-filled bill of almost $2,000,000,000, the DFL didn’t include $135,000,000 on a project that they insist today is Minnesota’s highest bonding priority? What idiot DFL senator omitted that funding from a monster bill like that?
Fourth, Gov. Dayton vetoed a major tax relief bill, then insisted that he wouldn’t call a special session unless Republicans added funding for a project that the DFL refused to fund in a $2,000,000,000 bonding bill.
Connecting these dots tells this indisputable story: Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans won’t receive tax relief because the DFL refused to fund SWLRT initially, then insisted on funding it as a condition of holding a special session.
It’s time to throw these DFL legislators out of office. It can’t happen soon enough. What type of person would omit funding for a project, then deny farmers, veterans, students with student loan debt and small businesses tax relief? The DFL’s position is that it’ll fight for funding a light rail project but it won’t fight for tax relief for students, veterans and farmers.
Minnesota, you’ll have a choice this November. Will you vote for politicians that won’t fight for students, parents, farmers, veterans and small businesses? Shouldn’t you vote for the party that’s fought the good fight for students, farmers and veterans? The choice is clear. The DFL needs to get run out of St. Paul ASAP.
They deserve it because they’ve fought for the special interests, not the people. That’s grounds for immediate dismissal.
After reading this article, the first thing I thought was ‘can we get that in writing’? Specifically, I’m referring to this statement, which reads “About 20 rail transit projects in development across the country are in a queue for Federal Transit Administration grants through the agency’s New Starts program, and a delay in securing local funding commitments could cause SWLRT to lose its place in line, the Met Council has repeatedly warned.”
Starting from scratch on SWLRT would be a dream come true. It’s a project whose time will never come, at least not in Minnesota. What can SWLRT do that multiple bus lines can’t do better? Bus lines can adapt to changing transportation needs. Bus lines aren’t expensive, either. Installing new bus lines wouldn’t require settling ongoing litigation that SWLRT is tied up with, either. Then there’s the overall cost of SWLRT, which is orders of magnitude more expensive than buses.
Why does the DFL think this project is such a high priority? Is it because it’ll improve the lives of the masses? Not likely. Is it because it’ll play well with the special interests and big government types? BINGO! We’ve got a winner.
The statement noted about 45 staffers would be laid-off if the project office shut down. The project office runs out of cash to continue operations Sept. 30, and the cost of delays beyond that date is estimated at $1 million per week.
If the project is scrapped, I don’t care if costs pile up. The government shouldn’t have made such a foolish decision. Further, I don’t care if companies lose money because they trusted crooked politicians. That’s their fault. Let them pay the price for their decision-making. Nobody put a gun to their head and said ‘build the SWLRT.’
Capitalism isn’t about guaranteeing profits. Capitalism is about guaranteeing opportunities to make profits. Guaranteeing profits has a different name — public-private partnerships, aka socialism, aka crony capitalism.
The upshot of this article is that the DFL has finally admitted what I’ve said from the start. The DFL is finally admitting that they don’t care about veterans, students with student loan debt, parents trying to save for their kids’ college education or farmers.
By insisting that Republicans agree to funding SWLRT, the DFL is insisting that the GOP fund a low-priority item. It ain’t happening. Light rail is a terrible investment. It doesn’t take hundreds of cars off the street, as the Met Council insists. It doesn’t increase flexibility for people. It’s extremely expensive. Bus lines are much more efficient and flexible.
Essentially, the DFL wants SWLRT funding because they want their pork.
Gov. Dayton admitted he doesn’t give a shit about the middle class when he said “I’ve concluded … I am not going to call a special session.” What a shock. The spoiled rich brat threw another hissy fit because he didn’t get everything he wanted. While he threw that hissy fit, he vetoed $800,000,000 worth of middle class tax relief. Gov. Dayton did that after promising that he wouldn’t use the tax cuts as leverage for getting everything he wanted in the bonding bill. Specifically, Gov. Dayton said no to $800,000,000 of tax relief for farmers and other blue collar workers because the GOP wouldn’t cave on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of spending on a light rail system that shouldn’t be a priority to anyone.
The DFL apparently doesn’t want these tax cuts either. If they did, they’d stand up to the spoiled rich brat in St. Paul, something that they haven’t done. Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk haven’t challenged Gov. Dayton on this. Locally, Dan Wolgamott and Zach Dorholt haven’t insisted that Gov. Dayton call a special session. Neither has fought for middle class tax relief. Wolgamott’s about Dan page says this:
Dan understand how to build relationships to pass tough legislation to support students, fix our roads and bridges, and reform state government.
That’s BS. Wolgamott hasn’t lifted a finger for any of these things. He’s sided with Gov. Dayton 100% of the time. This is BS, too:
Dan is innovative and forward-thinking and will create opportunities to grow an economy that works for everyone that works for everyone by supporting policies that help our local businesses, workers, students, and families.
Wolgamott has done nothing to show he’s anything except a cookie-cutter career politician. He’s done what he’s been told to do. He hasn’t been innovative. He hasn’t been forward-thinking. He’s done what the DFL told him to do.
That’s what puppets do.
This editorial isn’t worth the bandwidth it’s printed on. If it was printed on paper, it would be best suited for outhouses of 50-75 years ago. But I digress. Let’s dissect this worthless collection of words and determine their value to improving life in Minnesota.
Let’s start where the editorialist (s?) insist that “Every time a three-car light rail train is loaded, 600 cars are taken off the highways, according to the Metropolitan Council research.” Let’s question the veracity of that statement. Let’s question it because I don’t know the seating capacity of a “three-car light rail train.” Let’s question it because it isn’t known how many of these trains are filled to capacity.
This is a red herring argument anyway. If you build a light rail line, it’s fixed in place no matter what developments happen a mile or two from the rail. That LRT line simply isn’t flexible. It’s good at staying right where it was built. Bus lines, however, can move and adjust to emerging traffic patterns. This paragraph is telling:
Even the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, a longtime supporter of GOP ideas, has said there needs to be a transit solution in the metro area, whether that be light rail or more fast track buses.
First, the thought that the Minnesota CoC is a staunch supporter of Republicans is BS. They’re an equal opportunity political body. It’s fair to say that they support some GOP initiatives but it’s equally true that they support DFL initiatives, too. Further, it’s irrelevant whether this or that group supports an initiative. What’s important is whether that initiative will make life better for the people it’s supposed to support. If it doesn’t meet that criteria, then it’s worth scrapping.
Most important, though, is the part where the Minnesota Chamber supports transit, including “fast track buses.” Question: isn’t it important that our transportation system have the greatest combination of flexibility and capacity? What good is capacity if it isn’t where the people want it to go?
We urge Speaker Daudt to drop his party’s objections to the metro funding of the southwest light rail line and get on to providing tax relief and bonding and road funding to the rest of Minnesota that his party represents.
I urge Gov. Dayton to stop insisting on getting everything he wants before calling a special session. It’s time to provide tax relief to Minnesotans, tax relief Gov. Dayton vetoed. Gov. Dayton’s temper tantrums are fun copy but they’re counterproductive.
Rep. Thissen’s latest diatribe is essentially his whining that Democrats didn’t get everything they wanted in the last session, mixed with a healthy dose of bragging that essentially says that the DFL would’ve done better.
For instance, when Rep. Thissen said “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision”, what Rep. Thissen doesn’t want to say is that Kurt Daudt has done a fantastic job of saying no to the DFL’s insistence on funding the SWLRT, a project that the citizens don’t want but that the special interests want in the worst way. Here’s what the GOP should say loudly to the DFL on this issue: “Shut up, go away or we’ll use this issue against you in the upcoming election.”
“Behind closed doors negotiations have produced little progress and all of the political obstacles to compromise, including Speaker Daudt’s primary, are behind us,” said Thissen. “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision. Once we hit the State Fair, it’s too late and we need some time for the promised public hearings. I continue to believe we should finish our job, but if agreement is not reached, I pledge that under a House DFL Majority we will bring a robust bonding bill to the House floor for a vote in the first 30 days of the next legislative session.”
It’s the DFL’s fault that a bonding bill wasn’t passed. An agreement was reached between the House and Senate. Rep. Thissen didn’t like the compromise so he worked with DFL senators to blow the agreement up. Now the saboteur is promising to fix the bill he helped demolish.
Notice that Rep. Thissen doesn’t mention any of his sabotage in his statement. Why would he? Rep. Thissen isn’t a leader. He couldn’t care less about the average person. That’s indisputable. While he was Speaker in 2013, Thissen worked with the unions on the forced unionization of in-home child care providers. The in-home child care providers fought against it. Thissen didn’t care. He had his marching orders from AFSCME and SEIU. The bill was passed. Gov. Dayton signed it into law.
This spring, the in-home child care providers had the final say, telling Rep. Thissen, AFSCME and the SEIU to shove it:
In the end, in-home child care providers rejected AFSCME’s forced unionization plan. In fact, the vote wasn’t that close. According to this article, the “vote was 1,014-392 in a Tuesday count by the state Bureau of Mediation Services from ballots mailed to providers last month.”
Voters would do well to remember that the DFL did exactly what the special interests wanted while ignoring the in-home child care providers. To Thissen and the DFL, you’re a nobody if you aren’t a special interest group aligned with the DFL.
This article offers proof that, for all their speechifying to the contrary, the Democrats aren’t the party of the little guy anymore.
We know that with certainty because they said no to a scholarship program that was helping minority and other low-income students escape the grinding poverty their parents endured. The opening paragraphs of the article says “Less than a month before the new school year starts, state budget cuts are hitting some parents hard. Some state-issued scholarships that allow low-income families to send their children to private schools have been revoked. Nicole Jack is looking forward to starting first grade at Our Lady of Prompt Succor, in Westwego, this fall. ‘My daughter is very gifted. She makes straight A’s, she reads beyond her grade level, so she deserves to go to a better school,’ said Nikesha Hudson.”
It isn’t surprising that Louisiana’s newly-elected governor isn’t keeping his campaign promise to not cut the scholarship program:
She was told her daughter would be placed on a waitlist, and she may be contacted at a later date if funding becomes available and the scholarship award can be reinstated. “The governor said no child would lose the scholarship because of the budget cuts,” Hudson said of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ campaign promises.
For now Hudson is considering finding a way to pay the tuition herself to avoid disappointing her daughter.
Rest assured that Gov. Edwards will return to these people to ask for their votes after cutting the budget on their highest legislative priority. It’s unfortunate that, with Democrats, it’s about the outreach, not the accomplishment.
There’s nothing new with Hillary, just like there’s nothing new under the sun with Democrats, either.
There are other programs that can be cut but this program was cut. It isn’t coincidence that this program is getting cut. The teachers unions are among the Democrats’ most consistent special interest allies. Like I said, however, there’s nothing new under the sun with Democrats. I wrote this post in March, 2009:
Last week, the Democrat-controlled House passed a spending bill that spells the end, after the 2009-10 school year, of the federally funded program that enables poor students to attend private schools with scholarships of up to $7,500. A statement signed by Mr. Obey as Appropriations Committee chairman that accompanied the $410 billion spending package directs D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee to “promptly take steps to minimize potential disruption and ensure smooth transition” for students forced back into the public schools.
Sounds incredibly similar, doesn’t it? When it comes to pandering to the Democrats’ special interest allies, there’s definitely nothing new under the sun.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were both right that the system is rigged. Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders were both wrong, though, because they didn’t identify the Democratic Party as guilty of participating in rigging the system against those that need it most.
Technorati: John Bel Edwards, Campaign Promises, Budget Cuts, David Obey, DC Opportunity Scholarships, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Teachers Unions, Democrats, Nicole Jack, School Choice Republicans, Election 2016
Based on what he tweeted this morning, Chris Bremseth sounds like a Dorholt supporter. Bremseth’s tweet insisted that Zach Dorholt had “signed a pledged to get big money politics out of St Cloud.” Actually, that isn’t what Dorholt pledged to do. Dorholt’s own communication tells a totally different story, saying “In an effort to reduce the negative influence of outside spending during the upcoming election season, Minnesota House of Representatives District 14B candidate Zachary Dorholt authored a pledge to issue a bipartisan call for outside groups to disclose their donors before spending in the district.”
This is part of the DFL’s political showmanship. It’s substantively meaningless because special interests can (and will) ignore Dorholt’s pledge. It isn’t a coincidence that the item at the top of Dorholt’s priorities page is titled “Political Climate.” Dorholt said “The 2016 elections will be a defining moment in Minnesota politics. We will decide not only who will lead our government, but the manner in which we select them. Are we going to allow shadowy organizations with millions of dollars select our leaders or will we stand up and make sure that all citizens have a proportionate share in our elections?”
That’s laughable and disgusting. Dorholt’s 2014 campaign finance disclosure report shows that he raised $37,709.00, of which $5,675.00 was contributed by Minnesota individuals. Of that $5,675.00 raised in Minnesota, a whopping total of $225.00 came from a St. Cloud resident. That means $32,034 came from contributors in Philadelphia, PA, West Hollywood, CA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and other places. That means that Dorholt, as an incumbent DFL legislator, raised 0.6% of his money from the city he supposedly represents.
When it came to lobbyists and special interest PACs, Dorholt was well-funded, getting $5,175 in cash contributions from them. Let’s summarize these totals. During the 2014 election cycle, Zach Dorholt, the incumbent legislator, raised $225 from the city he represents while raising $10,875 from other Minnesotans, from lobbyists and special interest PACs.
Why should the people Mr. Dorholt supposedly represents think that he represents them while he raises the overwhelming percentage of his Minnesota contributions come from Twin Cities elites and from lobbyists and special interest PACs? The people Mr. Dorholt supposedly represents shouldn’t pay attention to this PR stunt of a pledge:
Based on how much money the special interests and the PACs support him and how Mr. Dorholt faithfully votes for their agenda, isn’t it safe to say that this pledge is a PR stunt?
The SC Times Editorial Board isn’t as unflinchingly liberal as the Strib’s Editorial Board but it’s a close second in Minnesota. This editorial isn’t the worst that they’ve published but it’s still a cheerleading editorial.
For instance, this editorial says “Earlier, the Times Editorial Board gave this advice to Gov. Mark Dayton: Don’t call a special session. Make the lawmakers deal with the consequences of failing to find agreement on some major legislation.” Clearly, the Times Editorial Board is picking Gov. Dayton’s side. It’s as if they’re absolving him of any responsibility for the trainwreck.
Gov. Dayton isn’t innocent in all this. He’s the idiot that vetoed the Tax Bill that would’ve provided tax relief to small businesses, farmers, students with crushing student loan debt, parents trying to save for their kids’ college education and military veterans. Is the Times Editorial Board cheering this disastrous decision? That’s what it looks like.
Dayton’s glum status report: “We’re moving backward.”
Gov. Dayton ought to know. He’s the politician who’s moving things backwards. During the session, he signed a supplemental spending bill. It wasn’t for nearly the amount that he’d originally wanted. Gov. Dayton is now insisting that a special session won’t be called until Speaker Daudt agrees to give him the rest of his spending request.
Thankfully, Speaker Daudt rejected that demand. Meanwhile, the Times apparently doesn’t care that hard-working blue collar people have gotten deprived of tax relief thanks to the actions of a spoiled trust fund liberal. Listen to Sen. Hann’s opening statement in this video. It’s quite compelling:
Dayton’s limousine liberalism and his my-way-or-the-highway negotiating style sends the clear message that he puts his ideology ahead of doing the right thing for Minnesotans. Lumped in with that is the DFL itself.
Sen. Hann noted the bipartisan nature of the bonding/transportation bill. Now Gov. Dayton wants to essentially start over and include all of his priorities while refusing to accept Republicans’ proposals. That’s what obstructionist liberalism looks like.
Let’s be clear. If Sen. Bakk were a profile in courage, he’d break with Gov. Dayton and insist that Gov. Dayton call a special session to fix the Tax Bill. The fact that he’s stayed silent says everything.
Finally, why has Gov. Dayton and the DFL insisted on a bonding bill that funds Southwest Light Rail? Twin Cities progressives insist that it’s needed. They’ve never explained why it’s needed. That hasn’t mattered to the Times. Like an obedient puppy, they’ve refrained from asking important questions. That isn’t surprising, especially considering the Times’ puppy dog reputation.
It wouldn’t be a special session if the DFL’s special interest allies didn’t suddenly rush out of the woodwork like they’re doing now. This morning, legislative leaders met with Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith. PBS’s Mary Lahammer tweeted that negotiations are underway. Meanwhile, David Montgomery is reporting that the meeting is over. Montgomery quoted Speaker Daudt as saying “I’m still optimistic we’ll get to a special session. It may take some time.”
That’s probably right. I suspect that the DFL won’t cave until they start seeing how poorly they’re doing in outstate districts in the House and Senate. That’s the point at which they’ll have their ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with Gov. Dayton. It would be embarrassing for the DFL to thrown out of the majority in the Senate in the year Hillary cleans Trump’s clock in Minnesota. Still, that’s a distinct possibility.
The array of DFL special interests this morning was impressive in a depressing way. Transportation Forward put together a rally. Check out their list of DFL special interest “Coalition Partners“. I’ve made this graphic showing the environmental organizations on Transportation Forward’s “Coalition Partners”:
Organizations highlighted are hardline environmental activist organizations.
Here’s some other Coalition Partners:
Transportation Forward’s special interest allies have made it essentially impossible to negotiate a deal for a special session. That’s disappointing.
Technorati: Transportation Forward, Special Interests, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Sierra Club, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, MN350, Izaak Walton League, Mark Dayton, Tina Flint-Smith, DFL, Kurt Daudt, Special Session, MNGOP, Election 2016
It isn’t difficult to read between the lines of Zach Dorholt’s op-ed. It’s clear that he, like Rep. Thissen and Gov. Dayton, long for the days when the DFL ruled everything in St. Paul. It would be a major mistake to return to that situation. It’s a recipe for disaster. It was a disaster then, too.
Let’s look at the Thissen-Dorholt-DFL ‘accomplishments’. They raised taxes by $2,200,000,000. The DFL promised property tax relief. We got the additional taxes. We didn’t get the property tax relief. In fact, the DFL touted their historic investment in education. A year later, the school districts in Princeton and St. Cloud enacted major property tax increases. What’s worse, they raised property taxes without bringing the increase before voters.
The last time that the DFL ran St. Paul, Rep. Thissen, Rep. Dorholt and the DFL ignored the dozens of in-home child care providers. Instead, Rep. Thissen, Rep. Dorholt and the DFL listened to AFSCME and the SEIU. As a result, they passed a forced unionization bill that Gov. Dayton then signed. The in-home child care providers, which are small businesses, told them they’d reject unionization, didn’t get a say in the matter because the DFL is a wholly owned subsidiary of the public employee unions.
When it came time to vote, in-home child care providers sent a loud message to the DFL and their special interest masters. They rejected AFSCME’s and the SEIU’s representation, with 1,014 child care providers voting against unionization and 392 child care providers voting for unionization. Jennifer Parrish summed it up perfectly:
We know that over the 10 years that we’ve been working on this that child-care providers are hands down overwhelmingly opposed to this. They were waiting by their mailboxes just so they could have an opportunity to vote no. Family child-care providers are small business owners. We set our own rates, we create our own working conditions, all the things that unions typically negotiate for, we determine for ourselves.
The point is that Dorholt and the DFL don’t listen to anyone except their special interest puppeteers.
This statement is particularly insulting:
My commitment: I will always put the public good above the appeals of powerful special interests. The people of Minnesota deserve much better than what we have now.
This special interest flier says that Dorholt isn’t honest:
It’s worth noting that I didn’t get a single lit piece from Dorholt’s campaign. I got tons of lit pieces and mailers from special interest organizations like Working America advocating for Dorholt. Isn’t it interesting that the man who’s pledging to “always put the public good above the appeals of powerful special interests” had 2 Minnesota contributors to his campaign? BTW, both of those contributors weren’t from his district.
Dorholt put the public employee unions, the environmental activists and the DFL’s bosses ahead of the public good. He voted 100% with Twin Cities DFL legislators. Zach Dorholt was too busy paying attention to the public employee unions, the environmental activists and the DFL’s bosses to notice he doesn’t represent the Twin Cities. Dorholt didn’t notice that the Twin Cities’ needs are different than the needs of HD-14B.
That’s because Zach Dorholt’s commitment is to the DFL, not the people of HD-14B.