Archive for the ‘DFL’ Category

Part of Friday night’s Almanac roundtable discussion centered on Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto of the funding for the legislature. It was interesting that Phil Krinkie said that this fiasco actually started last year when Gov. Dayton initially agreed to cutting taxes before he reneged on that. Krinkie said Gov. Dayton’s renege caused the distrust that led to the legislature inserting the Department of Revenue provision into the bill this year. If that’s true, then Gov. Dayton created the distrust that led to him vetoing funding for the legislature.

There’s more to this than just funding the legislature. In Harold Hamilton’s weekly commentary, he wrote “Recall that DFLers in the Senate built a new office building for themselves just before they were removed from the majority in the 2016 elections. That building was financed with $90 million in bonds, which are sold in the private debt markets and are an instrument that comes with rights and obligations. The legislative budget that the governor vetoed contains the regular payments that the state makes on the bonds. Thus, unless and until funding is restored, there is no money to make scheduled bond payments. If those payments aren’t made, the state defaults on the bonds.”

Friday night’s Almanac also featured Sarah Walker and Javier Morillo-Alicea bragging about the structural surplus in the budget. They didn’t want to talk, though, about the downgrading of the state’s credit rating. It isn’t surprising why they didn’t want to talk about that.

If the state’s bond rating drops, every bonding project across the state is immediately inflicted with higher interest rates. Think of how many millions of dollars that would cost the state. Think of how much that would cost each city building a new high school or parking ramp or convention center. Think of how much an interest rate hike would cost taxpayers for state trunk highway projects.

This isn’t a tiny sum. It’s a gigantic amount, all thanks to Gov. Dayton pulling this unprecedented stunt.

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In this article, Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin said “That sense of inevitability led to complacency, which led to our defeat in 2016. We need to not get too in front of this election and do the hard work that we need to do. We can never assume that we are ahead.” That’s the wrong analysis. In fact, looking at the election results for the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate, lots of DFL incumbents got defeated by substantial margins.

Chairman Martin is kidding himself if he thinks that complacency cost the DFL their majority in the Minnesota Senate. Then-Senate Tax Committee Chair Rod Skoe lost by 5,200+ votes. Lyle Koenen lost by 5,700+ votes. Those aren’t examples of DFL complacency. They’re proof that the DFL was utterly rejected by Minnesotans and that the DFL was rejected pretty much statewide.

I understand that the DFL chair has to put the best spin on things but there’s a limit to that. The truth is that the DFL brand is toxic beyond the Twin Cities, Duluth and the Arrowhead. It isn’t that the DFL got complacent in 2016. It’s that the people rejected the DFL’s agenda.

It’s time for the DFL to stop acting like they hate the blue collar workers that the mines employed. It’s time for the DFL to stop letting the environmentalists get everything they want while ignoring the blue collar miners.

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In one of the least surprising tidbits of news, former Speaker Paul Thissen announced that he’s running for governor. This isn’t surprising. The only surprising part about it is that it took this long. According to WJON’s article, “Thissen plans to formally launch his campaign Thursday to replace Gov. Mark Dayton, who decided against a third term. He’s in his eighth two-year term representing southwest Minneapolis.”

The truth is that the DFL lost its majority in the 2014 election, then lost more seats in the House in 2016. What’s more interesting is that Rep. Thissen announced that he wasn’t running for House Minority Leader at the start of this session. That signaled to me that he was planning on running for governor.

Furthermore, it isn’t likely that the DFL will retake the House until they stop catering to the environmentalist wing of the DFL. Thissen has decided that it isn’t likely for him to become speaker again. Further, Thissen likely thinks his best chance of becoming governor is when he’s still a household name, which is today.

This paragraph is telling, too:

Thissen became speaker in 2013 when the DFL had a lock on state government with the Legislature and Dayton in control. But House DFLers lost their majority in 2014 and additional seats in 2016, leaving party leaders concerned about the 2018 election.

DFL party leaders have a legitimate right to be worried about the 2018 election.

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This morning on At Issue, Ember Reichgott-Junge said something off-the-charts stupid in terms of understanding the Constitution. She was asked about Gov. Dayton exercising his line-item veto on the legislature’s budget. Reichgott-Junge said that it’s a political issue and that she thought the court would refuse to accept the Republicans’ lawsuit. Sarah Janacek disagreed with ERG, saying that this also has a constitutional aspect to this lawsuit, which is obviously true. Later in the segment, Ms. Reichgott-Junge said that a judge could just order the legislature and the governor to sit down and work out their differences.

That’s just kicking the can down the road. Neither side will budge an inch until public opinion starts going against them. If I had to bet, I’d bet that Gov. Dayton would lose this PR fight. It’s one thing to play hardball to get some tax cuts passed. It’s quite the other thing to shut down an entire branch of government for the next 4 years. That’s what Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto did.

First, this is a fight Gov. Dayton shouldn’t have picked. It shows him to be a petulant, little man. Next, this is a PR fight that Gov. Dayton won’t win because he’s acting like a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way.

Since announcing that he wasn’t seeking re-election, Gov. Dayton has picked fight after fight, sometimes against Republicans, sometimes against Democrats. (Think about his fights with Tom Bakk about commissioner pay raises and Sen. Bakk’s agreeing to a bipartisan budget agreement with Speaker Daudt.) Since that announcement, he’s been an ornery cuss, getting grumpier and more unreasonable by the week.

It’s time Gov. Dayton stopped acting like a total jerk. It’s time, too, for Gov. Dayton’s apologists to stop apologizing for his inexcusable actions. He’s done things the past 2-3 years that’ve made nonpartisans scratch their heads.

Based on this article, it sounds like Republicans are planning on playing a little political hardball. After Gov. Dayton unconstitutionally vetoed most of the legislature’s operating budget for the next biennium, Speaker Daudt spoke about Gov. Dayton’s demands for another special session. Speaker Daudt said “I’m not going to sit down with the governor to renegotiate something he has already agreed to.”

Gov. Dayton thinks that he’s dealing from a position of strength. He’s demanding that Republicans eliminate tax breaks on tobacco products, cancel changes to the state’s estate tax that would impact Minnesotans who die with estates valued at more than $2 million, or farmers and businesses valued at more than $5 million, eliminate a freeze on statewide business property taxes, remove a measure that explicitly prevents undocumented Minnesota residents from obtaining a state driver’s license and amend changes to the state’s teacher licensure system that were included in the omnibus education finance bill.

In this post, I quoted from Gov. Dayton’s letter about giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Gov. Dayton started the letter by saying “The un-Minnesotan provision that Republicans insisted be in the Public Safety Bill is divisive and destructive to all Minnesotans.”

In that sentence, Gov. Dayton essentially stated that Minnesotans oppose following the rule of law. That’s as asinine as the time he told St. Cloud residents they should leave the state:

Rest assured, those types of statements aren’t playing well in Minnesota. If anything, they’re alienating Minnesotans from the DFL. Further, Gov. Dayton’s demands won’t play well in rural Minnesota. If Gov. Dayton thinks he’s helping the DFL with these statements, he’s foolish. He’s driving Minnesotans away.

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It isn’t surprising that Gov. Dayton caved to another special interest group this weekend. In a statement to illegal aliens, Gov. Dayton wrote “The un-Minnesotan provision that Republicans insisted be in the Public Safety Bill is divisive and destructive to all Minnesotans. I understand the anger, and share the very legitimate concerns, of Minnesota’s immigrant communities, and will continue to fight with them to remove this hateful provision from state law. I will meet with members of our immigrant communities very soon to listen to their concerns and explore their suggestions to make Minnesota a more welcoming place for all people. As governor, I will continue to do all I can to protect our state’s hard-working immigrant communities from the destructive immigration policies of the Trump Administration.”

That sounds nice but it doesn’t mean a thing. Gov. Dayton signed the bill. Republicans won’t change their mind. Illegal aliens won’t get drivers licenses until there’s a DFL majority in the House, a DFL majority in the Senate and a DFL governor. Based on how things are going, the next time there’s a unified DFL majority government might be a decade away or more.

What’s interesting is seeing the speed with which Gov. Dayton caved:

The groups, including ISAIAH and SEIU local 26, issued a statement Friday afternoon saying in part, “We have held negotiations with the governor and have come to some agreements we know are necessary to keep our families safe. We have asked the governor to explore every last piece of executive power afforded to him to protect the community. We look forward to the governor honoring his commitment to continue to meet with the immigrant community directly.”

The other interesting thing worth highlighting is Gov. Dayton essentially saying that it’s “un-Minnesotan” to obey the law. Think of how radical that statement is.

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During Friday night’s Almanac roundtable, Ellen Anderson hinted that Republicans delayed the 10 budget bills until the last minute in their attempt to force Gov. Dayton to sign bills that he didn’t like to avoid a government shutdown. This is intentional dishonesty on multiple fronts.

First, Gov. Dayton hasn’t hesitated in shutting down government. This was the third time he waited until a special session before agreeing to the budget. In 2015, Speaker Daudt worked out a bipartisan budget agreement with Senate majority Leader Bakk. Gov. Dayton still vetoed the budget bills. It’s nonsense to hint that Gov. Dayton would hesitate in shutting down the government.

Next, the House and Senate had their budget targets established in late April. They invited Gov. Dayton to join them to start negotiations almost a month before the end of session. Gov. Dayton initially accepted the House’s invitation, then late reneged on that commitment.

Gov. Dayton was directly at fault for everything going down to the last second, not the Republican legislature. Gov. Dayton isn’t a leader. He’s a lifelong politician. (BTW, so is Ellen Anderson. So is Tim Walz.) What Minnesota needs now is legitimate leadership. As long as Almanac interviews political hacks like Ellen Anderson and Mike Hatch, they’ll be a B-list (or worse) political show.

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Gov. Dayton’s vindictive side is showing, especially after vetoing the bill that would keep the legislature running. In a stunt that’s thought to be unprecedented, “Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Legislature’s budget Tuesday, May 30, because of what he called ‘a reprehensible sneak attack, which shatters whatever trust we achieved during the session.'”

Gov. Dayton insisted on Republicans capitulating on 5 major items in exchange for restoring funding for the legislature. The 5 items Gov Dayton is requesting are to reverse tobacco tax breaks, cancel a cut in estate taxes, remove a freeze on statewide business property taxes, take out a provision that prohibits undocumented immigrants from getting driver’s licenses and renegotiate a measure that allows professionals to become teachers easier. In other words, Gov. Dayton wants Republicans to relinquish their biggest legislative victories this session.

Simply put, that ain’t happening, especially issuing the real ID to illegal aliens and removing the freeze on statewide business property taxes.

Gov Dayton isn’t that bright. He thinks he’s got leverage but he doesn’t. The legislature is an essential service. In the past, courts have ruled that essential services must be funded. Further, the DFL is further alienating main street by removing the freeze on statewide property taxes. That’ll piss off lots of small business owners. The DFL is already bleeding those voters. Now, they’ll lose more of those voters.

Gov. Dayton is doing to the DFL what President Obama did to the Democratic Party. He’s shrinking the DFL both numerically and geographically. By the tie the 2018 happens, the DFL will essentially be found only in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.

As Chair of the LCC, Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) issued the following statement.

“Yesterday, the governor took an unconstitutional step to defund the Legislature, attempting to silence both the House and Senate for the next four years. As I stated earlier, I am disappointed in the governor’s behavior and his decision to veto our operating budget over differences he previously agreed to,” said Speaker Daudt. “The governor has left the Legislature no choice but to seek outside counsel in an effort to defend the people’s voice at the Capitol.

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According to this WCCO-TV article, Gov. Dayton will decide by tonight whether he’ll veto any of the 10 bills agreed to, passed and sent to his desk last week. The most likely outcome is that Gov. Dayton vetoes the tax bill but signs the other 9 bills, thereby avoiding a government shutdown but vetoing the Republicans’ tax cut bill.

By doing this, Gov. Dayton would give Republicans a major weapon against the DFL in the 2018 gubernatorial election. By vetoing the Republicans’ tax cut bill, Gov. Dayton will certify that the DFL a) is untrustworthy and b) thoroughly hates tax cuts of any sort or size.

WCCO/DFL stenographer Esme Murphy was wrong in stating that “If the governor vetoes even one of the bills, that means it would be back to square one: more negotiations, another special session and a new deal would have to be reached or the government would shut down on July 1.” There wouldn’t be a government shutdown if Gov. Dayton vetoes the transportation and/or tax bills.

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Last night, Gov. Dayton blinked. Last night, Gov. Dayton agreed to most of the Republicans’ demands. During each of the last 2 budget sessions, Gov. Dayton’s top 3 priorities were raising the gas tax, universal pre-K and funding SWLRT. In each of those sessions, he’s fallen short on all 3 items. Last night, Gov. Dayton caved on all of those items plus agreed to the Republicans’ $660,000,000 middle class tax cut.

In short, the GOP accomplished a clean sweep on their major priorities.

While it’s true that the GOP increased spending a bit, Republicans kept the spending increases to a minimum. On their policy initiatives, they succeeded gloriously. There’s no other way to express it. This SC Times article got the details badly wrong when it said “11:45 p.m.: Minnesota legislative leaders said they’ll call a special session to finish the state budget after they miss Monday’s midnight deadline to finalize a new spending package.”

The budget deal would’ve been passed with days to spare if Gov. Dayton hadn’t insisted on full funding for the SWLRT boondoggle, the universal pre-K disaster and the gas tax increase. Further, the legislature can’t call a special session. Only Minnesota’s governor can. Period. This year, unfortunately, that means this guy:

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