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Leo & I attended a fundraiser for Gov. Pawlenty last night. I was fortunate enough to talk with him for the better part of 10 minutes, which is a long time at an event of this nature.

One of the things that we talked about was the nature of Minnesota’s tax structure, which Gov. Pawlenty essentially said was antiquated & needed a massive overhaul in its thinking. One of the things he stressed was that ‘Minnesota companies’ were choosing to expand outside the state, specifically mentioning 3M as an example of that. He said that 3M wasn’t moving, just that they wouldn’t pick Minnesota when they expanded.

Following that theme, I asked Gov. Pawlenty if I was wrong thinking that “Anytime I hear the DFL talking about a jobs bill, we should expect a tax increase & for it to be all about public works projects.” He said that that’s exactly what to expect. I then followed up, asking what longterm stability these jobs bring & whether they helped people amass wealth. His reply was that they don’t bring longterm economic stability (no shock there, right King?) & that they aren’t an opportunity to create wealth.

During his speech, Gov. Pawlenty impressed me with his talk about not getting rid of the public school system but supplementing that system with online learning opportunities to challenge ambitious students. He said that the days of relying solely on hard-covered books as the main source of information were essentially over.

When he talked about the Omnibus Transportation Bill, he mentioned that gas tax revenues were flat-lining & that they’d soon drop sharply as more people buy “plug-in hybrids” such as the one I talked about here:

The Minnesota legislature is about to take up a “comprehensive transportation bill” which naturally includes billions of dollars in tax increases. I’ve had several conversations recently that have convinced me that this legislation is a stopgap measure at best. At worst, it’s a total waste of time. One reason why it’s a stopgap measure at best is because of the vehicles being built by Tesla Motors. Their sales pitch on the homepage of their website brags that the car is 100 percent electric, goes from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds, gets the equivalent of 135mpg, can go 220 miles on a single charge and costs .02 per mile to operate.

Considering that that’s just one such ‘vehicle of the future’, shouldn’t we be asking the DFL how it’ll fund road & bridge repairs once these vehicles become the rule rather than the exception? That day is coming, most likely sooner than people think.

The DFL doesn’t have an answer to that question, instead retreating to imposing another tax designed in the last century. Their approach is a ‘Well that’s the way we’ve always done it’ approach rather than thinking about a forward-thinking solution.

One of the things that was perfectly clear is that Gov. Pawlenty enjoyed the retail politicking, having conversations with the various people. He was very comfortable talking with people on a wide range of topics.

Another thing that’s obvious is that he’s a big fan of blogs. When I introduced Leo, I told Gov. Pawlenty that Leo, King & I were the first members of the SCBA. His first reaction after greeting Leo was to ask if it isn’t a little different thinking of blogs in terms of them belonging to associations. He then asked if we were solely a center-right association or if we let other political persuasions into the organization.

The other tidbit of news from the event came from St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, who told Leo & I that he’d ordered a hiring freeze for the time being, saying that he was determined to not raise property taxes. Thanks Mayor.

Finally, Thanks to Gov. Pawlenty for taking the time to talk with us. It’s obvious that he’s fighting for his agenda in a more public way this year than in the past. That’s good news because he’s an appealing advocate for the conservative cause.

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I just visited enemy territory, aka Liberal in the Land of Conservatives. Eric’s come up with a great idea for Monday night, February 4th. That night, he’ll host a live webchat on the GOP & Democratic presidential races as well as a discussion of the Minnesota Senate race & “politics in general.” Furthermore, he’s invited Minnesotans to participate in a presidential poll for both parties.

So, to get back into the swing of things on a national level I have created two polls in the left sidebar to gauge the level of support in both the Republican and Democratic contests here in Minnesota. I will leave the polling open until Monday, February 4th. The only thing I ask is that ONLY people living in Minnesota participate and that you vote only ONCE.

To top it off, I am inviting ALL visitors to participate in the first ever Liberal in the Land of Conservative political chat on February 4th.

All that’s asked of people participating in the chat is that they discuss things with civility, something that I heartily agree with. follow the link above to Eric’s post for more details. This promises to be a fun event.

Just as an aside, I met Eric at the recent health care forum. I now consider him a friend & a gentleman. (Just because he’s on the wrong side of the issues doesn’t mean that he isn’t a gentleman. LOL)The most refreshing thing about him is that he’s genuinely interested in talking about the issues instead of talking smack.

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Larry Schumacher is one of the charter members of the St. Cloud Bloggers Association (SCBA). He’s also a daily read for me. Today, Larry’s post was in the form of a quiz. It also did a great job of showing people just how unprincipled people can be in deciding who ‘brings home the bacon’ & who doesn’t. Stop past Larry’s blog for the quiz & the answer. You’ll be glad you did.

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According to Larry Schumacher’s Democracy at Work blog, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will be the featured speaker at a DFL fundraiser for SD-14 & SD-15 Democrats. The fundraiser will be held on Sept. 16, 2007 at St. Cloud’s Ace Bar, which is about half a mile from my house. Ritchie has made some statements in the last couple of years that are less than credible once you know more about Mr. Ritchie’s past roles. Here are the statements I’m specifically referring to:

“…the office of Secretary of State must operate in a non-partisan manner.” Source: Mark Ritchie press release, June 7, 2005

“I will protect your vote by restoring trust and nonpartisanship to the secretary of state’s office…” Source: Pioneer Press, November 1, 2006

While Ritchie says that the office of Secretary of State should operate in a non-partisan manner, it should be noted that he’s listed as a founder and advisor to the Campaign for America’s Future, one of the left’s most partisan organizations. CAF shares office space in Washington, DC with Americans United for Change, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and USAction. Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is run by Tom Matzzie, who also chairs MoveOn.org. This office space is located on K Street, the lobbyist capitol of the nation’s capitol. That information alone should send up red flags.

Americans United for Change is targeting this list of Republicans for defeat in 2008:

Michelle Bachmann (MN-6), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), Steve King (IA-5), Scott Garrett (NJ-5), Bill Sali (ID-1), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), John Doolittle (CA-4), Roy Blunt (MO-7), Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6), Steve Chabot (OH-1), Tom Davis (VA-11), Thelma Drake (VA-2), Vernon Ehlers (MI-3), Mike Rogers (MI-8), Dean Heller (NV-2), Jon Porter (NV-3) and Peter Roskam (IL-6).

If that doesn’t shred Mr. Ritchie’s statement about restoring nonpartisanship to the Secretary of State’s office, there’s more. During a debate last fall, Ritchie said that he didn’t believe in requiring voters to show their ID in registering to vote:

Democrat Mark Ritchie, who in 2004 led a nationwide voter registration initiative, said requiring photo identification would disenfranchise poor citizens, seniors and college students who might not have access to documents required to get a picture identification card.

Mr. Ritchie’s position isn’t unique in the Democratic Party. In fact, it’s the DNC’s official position. With voter fraud running rampant since 2004, you’d think that requiring a picture ID to register would be the common sense approach to preventing voter fraud. Obviously, that approach doesn’t interest Mr. Ritchie or the DNC. It isn’t coincidence that Democrats have been the only political party who’ve been convicted of voter fraud. If Mr. Ritchie won’t discourage voter fraud, how can he restore “trust and nonpartisanship to the secretary of state’s office…”?

This raises several questions. Here are the questions I most want answered:

  • Shouldn’t St. Cloud voters of all stripes distance themselves from a secretary of state that won’t act affirmatively to prevent voter fraud?
  • Shouldn’t Minnesotans demand that the legislature pass laws that prevent voter fraud?
  • Why should we believe that a man that’s attended more DFL fundraisers in his first eight months in office than his predecessor attended in eight years is interested in bringing a nonpartisan approach to his job?

Isn’t it disingenuous for Mr. Ritchie to say that he’ll restore nonpartisanship to the Secretary of State office on at least several levels?

Most importantly, wasn’t Ms. Kiffmeyer known for her nonpartisanship? Only a few far left bloggers have alleged that Ms. Kiffmeyer was partisan. Those allegations aren’t worthy of consideration since those bloggers never cited any specific partisan actions that Ms. Kiffmeyer took.

Secondly, as noted earlier, Mr. Ritchie is a longtime liberal activist. That’s certainly his constitutional right but I find it difficult to believe that a longtime DFL activist can turn a light switch and become nonpartisan.

Mr. Ritchie was president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. It was while he served as president of that organization that he was named as an advisor/founder to the Campaign for America’s Future.

If that isn’t enough to convince you that he’s a liberal activist, consider this information:

Mark Ritchie, who heads the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which played a critical role in getting farm and food safety groups into the Seattle coalition, is even more blunt. “If Seattle is the high point of this movement, we’re in trouble,” he says. “Everything that happened in Seattle has to be seen as a prelude to a much larger, much more effective movement to change trade and economic policy in the U.S. and around the world.”

‘Nonpartisan’ Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was an organizer for the tumultuous protests at the 1999 meeting of the WTO in Seattle. Other than the immigration protests of March, 2006, the 1999 WTO protests were the biggest protests since the Vietnam era.

Based on this information, it’s impossible to think that Mr. Ritchie suddenly turned a light switch and became nonpartisan. In fact, it’s insulting for him to suggest that he isn’t a highly partisan liberal activist.

I wonder how St. Cloud voters would react if they knew that Mr. Ritchie was a longtime DFL activist. I wonder how they’d react if they knew he didn’t think that preventing voter fraud was part of the Secretary of State’s job description.

I don’t think they’d think too highly of him if they knew that about him.

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I have the grim responsibility of reporting that a good man has gone bad. Earlier today, I visited Leo’s website only to find a PC pile of crap. I tried calming myself down, thinking that this just might be Leo’s attempt at snark. That had to be it, I told myself.

To make a long story short, my worst fears were realized when I met Leo for lunch this afternoon at Bo Diddley’s, the best sub shop anywhere. I got there a couple minutes before the agreed upon time of 1:00 pm, ordered my meal & waited for Leo to get there. (Leo’s always late.) I was finishing off the first quarter of the sandwich when Leo pulled up on his bike. That ripped it with me. (The only good news was that he wasn’t wearing a helmet.)

At that point, I thought that Leo had morphed into a PC treehugger.

The good news is that, after I pounded him mercilessly with logic and regaled him with stories from the good old days, Leo has now reverted back to the same movement conservative that he was when I first met him. I had to act quickly before Leo was lost forever to a life of emotion-driven drivel, liberal hyperbole and spewing out liberal talking points like a Kossack. Fortunately, the ‘therapy’ worked and we’ve got our old friend Leo back.

Unfortunately, nobody was available to give that same treatment to Senate weak-kneed RINOs. Unfortunately, I can’t be in two places at once. The silver lining to that sad chapter in the history of the GOP is that they’ll have another cloture vote towards the end of the week. I will be available then.

Hopefully, I’ll pull another wayward Republican down off the ledge before the next cloture vote.

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Today, I attended two press conferences. They couldn’t have been more different.

Gov. Pawlenty’s news conference talked about how the DFL didn’t set their targets, which made it difficult to work a final budget out. He also said that the DFL’s insistence on putting an inflation accelerator into the budget breaker, saying that legislatures should set priorities when putting together a budget.

Then came the DFL entourage. Upbeat & smiling, they couldn’t have looked happier. Tarryl talked about how they didn’t get everything they wanted but that they did good. She said that she couldn’t imagine why Gov. Pawlenty would veto the Transportation Bill. (Perhaps it’s the $5.5 billion in new taxes, Tarryl.) She said that one of the goals of the legislature was to put forward a balanced approach to solving the budget’s rollercoaster budget problems.

Next up was Larry Haws, who went absolutely vesuvial. Red in the face & pounding his fist on the podium, he was upset that they didn’t get property tax relief done. (Larry, if Tarryl, Larry Pogemiller, Margie Kelliher & Tony Sertich hadn’t stuffed the HHS bill so full of welfare rollbacks, we might’ve gotten it done.)

Larry Pogemiller was also there but didn’t say much. He was actually quite quiet. He said that there was alot of bipartisanship in the Senate, meaning that there’s alot more RINOs over there.

Margie Kelliher said that they “just ran out of time” before blaming it on the GOP for filibustering things the last couple hours. Hey Maggie, you wouldn’t have needed to worry about it if you hadn’t wasted so much time on things in January, February, March & April. Then again, it might’ve finished on time if they hadn’t wasted Gov. Pawlenty’s time with bills that he’d announced would be vetoed.

But the most amazing thing from the press conferences was when Larry Schumacher asked Kelliher what grade she’d give. I also died when she said, “B+ or A-.” You’ve got to be kidding me. They deserved a D at best. They wasted tons of time just shuffling papers in January & February, then hopped in between negotiating sessions with Gov. Pawlenty to mini floor sessions. Their clock management was atrocious & their partisanship was the worst that several of the reporters at the press conference had ever seen.

The other funny moment came when Josh leaned over & asked if we should start chanting veto while Kelliher talked about the Transportation bill, to which I said “Not if we want to make it out alive.”

The truth is that the DFL isn’t bound by the truth. One of the local reporters asked me if I’d learned anything from the DFL. I said, “Yeah, that the DFL is a good bunch of bullshitters.” This reporter just laughed & said, “Yeah they are, aren’t they?”

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No, that isn’t a dose of sarcasm. It’s a question that I’ve got after reading about the DFL’s proposed tax increase. You’d think that a $2.16 billion surplus would be enough. You’d think that a 9.3% spending increase for this budget would be enough. It isn’t even close to being enough for the DFL’s leading spendaholics. Here’s some of the details of the DFL’s tax strategy:

Businesses and some six-figure earners would be forced to pay more in taxes to offset increased classroom spending and property tax buydowns for homeowners under tax plans House and Senate leaders trotted out Friday. House Democrats proposed a new top income tax bracket while Senate DFL tax writers announced that they’ll try to raise property taxes for businesses.

Make no mistake about it: the DFL always intended to increase taxes. Passing the bill that would’ve changed how state budgets were estimated was to justify increasing taxes by saying we don’t have a surplus. The DFL always wanted to “do many good things” because that’s the way the DFL pays off its special interest friends.

In fact, it isn’t difficult to make the case that they’re more interested in paying off their special interest friends than they’re interested in helping small businesses. Look at their proposals:

The new tax bracket, 9 percent, would apply to income above $400,000 for married filers and $226,000 for single filers after deductions. House fiscal staff estimated that it would hit about 50,000 people, and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said it would generate $433 million over two years.

This tax rate is aimed squarely at small businesses, America’s job creation engine. This is proof that this DFL caucus doesn’t understand that their spending spree will cost the state jobs. It’s quite reasonable to think that it might lead to a recession. This leads to a big question for Minnesota voters:


Is this the economic plan you thought you were voting for last November?

I’m betting that it isn’t. In fact, I’m betting that most taxpayers wouldn’t have voted DFL if they’d known that the DFL intended on raising taxes and raising spending this much.

The DFL majority in the Senate is pushing for $222 million more in business property taxes to pay for some of its priorities, including a plan to funnel $376 million of state money into a property tax refund program, additional local government aid and school levy buy-downs.

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. The Senate DFLers want to increase property taxes by $222 million on businesses so they can give a $376 million refund to residential property owners. Does the DFL think that all these businesses getting hit with the property tax increases will stick around? If they do, why do they think that? At what point do some of these businesses leave Minnesota?

Kelliher said she hoped Pawlenty would keep an open mind about the latest proposal. “We are not in a fighting mode with the governor now,” she said.

Too bad, Ms. Kelliher. You declared war on Minnesota taxpayers with all your reckless spending. I hope you didn’t expect Minnesotans to sit on our hands while you drove businesses out of the state. I hope you didn’t expect Minnesota taxpayers to sit idly by while you empty our wallets so you can pay off your special interest friends. If that’s what you were expecting, David Senjem and Steve Sviggum have your answer:

Rep. Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, and Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, were quick to label it a dead-end plan. “This is March Madness folks. This is absolute craziness,” Sviggum said, who called it a “soak the rich” proposal.

Said Senjem: “We’re off and running on a bumpy road.” Democrats argued that property taxes and fees rose significantly during Pawlenty’s first term, even if he avoided raising state taxes.

Gov. Pawlenty sent the message most succinctly:

Then he told a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce audience: “You don’t celebrate getting out of Weight Watchers by going over to the all-you-can-eat buffet. So our message to the Legislature is: ‘Push away from the table. Put your fork down.’”

Tarryl wasn’t pleased with his statement:

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, was not laughing. A lot of people “might not be very happy with his analogy,” Clark said.

Ms. Clark, there aren’t alot of people, myself especially, who like you telling me that there were really only two tax bills in the Senate this year & that one would provide property tax relief. I specifically asked you why the first six bills that the Senate introduced called for tax increases. You tried slipping the question, saying that some of the bills were brought independent of the leadership’s approval.

It appears as though you weren’t being completely honest with me and Leo that morning, doesn’t it? That’s what happens when you tell people that you’re a fiscally moderate bunch when you’re really nothing more than a bunch of tax-increasing fiscal maniacs, isn’t it? Yes, I know that that’s Ms. Kelliher’s quote but the DFL Senate is less moderate than the House DFL. (That should frighten the daylights out of people, shouldn’t it?)

Senate Democrats are also eying companies with overseas operations and tax evaders.

Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he aims to help businesses in his overall tax bill with a sales tax exemption on capital equipment purchases and other breaks. Bakk isn’t ruling out an income tax increase, but said he would first look at collecting more unpaid taxes to cover Senate spending initiatives.

Sen. Bakk is typical of the DFL legislature in that he hasn’t taken a look at looking for wasteful spending. The DFL hasn’t had any serious oversight hearings into identifying wasteful spending, which we know exists. Shouldn’t the legislature’s job be to identify which programs’ funding can be cut before asking taxpayers to assume a higher tax burden? Shouldn’t taxpayers have the right to expect the government to operate more efficiently first?

The other thing that’s typical is that Sen. Bakk isn’t cutting taxes; he’s shifting tax burdens. If you’re saying that you’re cutting taxes, that means that you aren’t increasing other taxes. Otherwise, it’s just a tax shift, a ‘steal from Peter to pay Paul’ plan.

Here’s an idea for the DFL: If a program’s funding can be cut without the ‘product’ quality to the consumer (i.e. the taxpayer) suffering and if the government won’t operate less efficiently, then it’s probably worth cutting funding to that program.

Here’s another idea for the DFL: If you want to cut taxes, cut taxes without raising other taxes. If you aren’t willing to do that, then you aren’t cutting taxes. Tax cuts are possible. They require fiscal discipline and prioritizing, but they are possible. The other thing they require is the ability to say no to special interest groups. That takes courage but it’s possible.

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I’m working my way around the state’s newspapers in hopes of finding quotes revealing the DFL’s true nature. This afternoon, I hit the jackpot when I read this WC Trib article. Check out Sen. Sandy Pappas’ quote:

Higher Education Chairwoman Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said college and university funding is far from enough. “We are starving higher education,” she said.

Pappas’ statement is laughable if it weren’t so scary. Here’s how she thinks we’re “starving higher education”:

Under the Senate targets, public education would get the most of $1.3 billion in new money: $498 million in the next two years. Following would be higher education ($296 million) and health and human services ($245 million). Other parts of the budget would get relatively insignificant increases considering the total state spending will top $34 billion over the next two years.

Higher education getting an additional $148 million per year is starving Higher Education? I wish state legislators would get around to starving me like that. In light of those numbers, Pappas sees a grim future:

Pappas predicted existing plans to increase public college and university tuition about 4 percent each of the next two years may jump to twice that much.

How about actually taking a look into the university budgets to see if they need all of their allocated administrators & regents. I’d love seeing the U of M Board of Regents reduced by a sander. (I’d bet that the students wouldn’t notice the difference. Anyone want to make that bet with me?) How about looking into whether most of the administration staff overlaps? How about checking to see if any departments made major purchases right before the end of the budget year just so their budgets didn’t get shrunk the next year?

Does anyone think that there isn’t a significant amount of waste in school spending? If there is, my first question is “When did your spaceship land”? It’s obvious that only a liberal would think that we need more. Remember that liberals think that it’s illegal for you to ask them to attach a dollar amount to that “more”. Here’s some more of the article’s gloom:

Figures Senate leaders released Thursday show budget numbers, known in the Capitol as “targets”, that are just enough to cover inflation and pretty much nothing more. That means no all-day, everyday kindergarten. That means covering all of Minnesota’s children with health care insurance might have to wait. That means little more can be done for the pre-schoolers. That means there might be no chance to keep college tuition rates static.
“We’re going to struggle immensely to address the education needs of the next two years with that target,” said Chairman LeRoy Stumpf of the Senate education finance division.

They’re going to “struggle immensely”? What about parents, young families & singles struggling because of the state’s skyrocketing property taxes? Does anyone stand up for them? You won’t find a DFLer fighting for property tax caps. Except if it’s combined with a higher corporate income tax or higher marginal tax rates that small businesses pay.

If there are any state tax increases, they probably will go to lower local property taxes, Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook said. Skoe, the Senate property tax chairman, said decisions are yet to be made about raising taxes.

Isn’t raising one tax to lower another tax keeping the state taxation rate the same? In other words, isn’t Skoe’s plan really like robbing Peter to pay Paul? What about the government doing with less? Why is it that government gets to maintain its gluttonous ways while private citizens, especially those lower in the food chain, get starved?

The middle class squeeze that Democrats ran on last fall exists but it’s being caused by Democrats’ excessive spending habits.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, would not rule out a tax increase, but did say: “We cannot do anything else unless we raise revenue.”

Tarryl, if your DFL ‘friends’ keep raising taxes, private citizens won’t be able to do anything. Isn’t it time that you kept your promise to locate wasteful spending? Isn’t it time that the Senate held serious oversight hearings to identify wasteful spending?

It’s time for Republicans to tell Minnesota’s voters that, if they’re restored to the majority party:

  • they’ll conduct oversight hearings into why college tuition keeps skyrocketing;
  • they won’t consider spending increases until they’ve identified & eliminated wasteful spending and;
  • that they’ll hold oversight hearings into why property taxes continue skyrocketing.

It’s time someone did. It’s obvious that the DFL won’t pursue that type of agenda.

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I thought about adding a Part X to the title but, let’s face it, with Democrats in control of the Minnesota Legislature, taxing & spending increase proposals will be an ongoing situation to be tracked. Here’s Tarryl Clark’s latest attempt to justify another tax increase:

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said the plan barely covers inflationary increases in programs. All of the K-12 money is spoken for if senators patch gaps in funding for classes that serve children with disabilities or special needs, she said.

“We’re not awash in extra money,” she said. “There can be no new initiatives without additional revenue.”

The plan is silent on the issue of tax increases. And as of now, the Senate plan doesn’t address a top issue from the fall campaign: property tax assistance for homeowners. The Senate Taxes Committee intends to delve deeper into that issue and could consider altering the business tax code to pay for homeowner relief.

Like the governor, Senate Democrats are pressing for a build-up in state reserves. Clark said leaders want to put $629 million more away for emergencies, nearly doubling the reserve account.

Brian Bakst must think we’re idiots if he expects us to think that there’s a strong similarity between the DFL’s plan & Gov. Pawlenty’s plan. Gov. Pawlenty’s plan is to increase the state reserves by $100 million and the DFL’s intention to grow the reserve by HALF A BILLION DOLLARS!!! Please don’t insult us that way.

Speaking of which, it’s insulting for Tarryl to tell us that “We’re not awash in extra money.” Only a spendaholic would tell us that a $2.16 billion surplus isn’t “being awash in extra money.” To be fair, Tarryl is simply reinforcing the DFL’s image of favoring tax increases regardless of whether we’ve got a significant surplus or they’ve spent us into another record deficit. Tarryl’s thinking isn’t significantly different from Tom Ruckavina’s or Tony Sertich’s or Margaret Anderson-Kelliher’s thinking.

If Bakst’s reporting is accurate, which isn’t a good assumption if you’re talking about the AP, the DFL will have failed on another of their major legislative priorities: providing permanent property tax relief. Thankfully, they’ve already abandoned their health care initiative, at least in a determined way. Here’s the article’s final warning:

House Democrats, who lead that chamber for the first time in eight years, haven’t released a comparable spending blueprint yet.

God help us when they do issue their blueprint. I’m sure it won’t be friendly to Minnesota’s taxpayers.

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Minnesota’s Democrat House members ran for cover when Strib reporters asked for their reaction to the latest Defeatocrat legislation. Tim Walz’ office led the way with this response:

Walz didn’t want to comment, said spokesman Gordie Loewen, because “there aren’t any full details and the congressman doesn’t want to base the safety and security of our troops on speculation. That’s what got us into this war in the first place.”

That’s a dodge pure & simple. They know the details because the House Democrats met to discuss the legislation before announcing it. Walz knows that he’s history after this term unless he keeps his mouth shut until after the 2008 elections. He knows that if he enthusiastically endorses this bill passing, bloggers like me, Leo, Michael Broadkorb, AAA, King Banaian, Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg will hang his words around his neck from now until Election Day, 2008.

Lest you think that Walz is the only Democrat running for cover, it’s only fair to point out Keith Ellison’s ‘position’:

Ellison likewise said he wanted to see specific language before committing, although he endorsed the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ call for a withdrawal by Dec. 31.

Ellison’s position is best describe as “Why accept victory now? Why support the troops’ mission now?” Friends, if you were expecting Democrats to display courage, you set the bar of expectations far too high. Then again, if you expected RINOs like Jim Ramstad to show some leadership tendencies, you set the bar of expectations far too high, too.

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