Categories

Archive for the ‘DFL’ Category

Rebecca Otto has been threatening to file a lawsuit against a bill signed into law by Gov. Dayton. Apparently, Ms. Otto isn’t too bright in terms of the law and Minnesota’s Constitution. Article V of Minnesota’s Constitution talks about the executive branch of state government. Specifically, it says “The executive department consists of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, and attorney general, who shall be chosen by the electors of the state. The governor and lieutenant governor shall be chosen jointly by a single vote applying to both offices in a manner prescribed by law.”

Nowhere in Article V, Section 1 does it outline the duties of the State Auditor. That’s properly left up to the legislature and governor to determine through state statutes. If the court sides with Ms. Otto, it will be clear proof that the DFL has turned them into a super-legislative body.

Rep. Sarah Anderson, the chair of the House State Government Finance Committee, issued a statement, saying “Just one day after the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor’s report was released on county audits which definitively stated that it is within the legislature’s power to define the duties and authority of the Office of the State Auditor, State Auditor Rebecca Otto has decided to waste taxpayer dollars to file a frivolous lawsuit against the State of Minnesota and a select group of counties,” said Rep. Anderson. “The legislature acted in a bipartisan manner last session to expand the options counties have for their audits to save local governments and taxpayers money, as well as expedite the audit process. This lawsuit has no merit, and I am disappointed it will come at the expense of hardworking Minnesota taxpayers.”

This is important:

On February 3, 2016, the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor released their report on county audits done by the OSA. Here are several key highlights from that report:

The Minnesota State Legislature has always defined the duties and authority of the State Auditor

Jim Nobles is a serious man. When he says that the legislature “has always defined the duties of the State Auditor”, it’s because he’s thoroughly researched the Constitution and state statutes. From a legal standpoint, Nobles’ research is probably air tight. Then there’s this:

  1. 34 percent of counties stated they were not satisfied with the cost of OSA audits
  2. The 2015 law change allows for price competition while still giving the OSA significant authority to continue to ensure that all audits meet certain standards and to hold counties accountable in how they spend public dollars
  3. 32 percent of counties said that audits done by OSA were not timely, and many expressed frustrations that the reports came too late to be useful in saving taxpayer dollars for their annual budget process

That’s poison from a political standpoint. It just isn’t surprising.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has more egg on her face now that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have agreed to do 4 more debates. Though the details of the agreement are still being worked out, what’s clear is that Ms. Wasserman-Schultz’s iron-fisted statement that there would be 6 debates was thrown under the proverbial bus. This just additional proof that Ms. Wasserman-Schultz has lost control of the party she supposedly leads.

When the article starts by saying “If the Democratic National Committee were to sanction a Democratic debate on Feb. 4 in New Hampshire, it would likely do so without being co-sponsored by the state’s largest newspaper, three sources familiar with the plans have confirmed,” that’s stating the DNC has essentially lost control. Ms. Wasserman-Schultz’s past statements can now be hung around her neck. She fought for keeping a lid on the debates.

Now that Hillary’s in trouble, Hillary wants additional debates. Sen. Sanders agreed but only if it was expanded to multiple debates. Mrs. Clinton wanted a single debate right before the New Hampshire Primary. Here’s a hint for Hillary. Additional debates might help in the short-term but they won’t help save her from the fact that she’s a terrible candidate.

It isn’t shocking to find out that Gov. Dayton supports another middle class tax increase. When Gov. Dayton first ran for governor, he campaigned on making Minnesota’s’ tax system more progressive. It’s a promise he kept for the first half of his first term, thanks mostly to Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

In December, the budget forecast showed Minnesota with a $1,200,000,000 surplus. When that surplus was announced, Gov. Dayton said that the DFL’s proposed gas tax increase was dead. This article reports that Gov. Dayton hasn’t given up on a gas tax increase. Gov. Dayton insists that this isn’t a flip-flop. Instead, Gov. Dayton said that his gas tax statement was “his political assessment, not his preference.”

That’s actually believable. While it’s true that Gov. Dayton wanted to make Minnesota’s tax system more progressive, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t support regressive tax increases. It just meant that the progressive tax increases needed to be big to offset the regressive tax increases.

Once Gov. Dayton got DFL majorities to work with in 2013 and 2014, he instituted major income tax increases, instituted, temporarily, major sales tax increases and major property tax increases. Though the DFL will insist that their increased LGA payments brought property tax relief, it’s a sham. The truth is that it just slowed the speed that property taxes increased in most cities. That’s before talking about the huge property tax increases inflicted on taxpayers through property tax increases for education levies.

The truth is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL love regressive tax increases as long as they’re mixed in with lots of progressive tax increases. When Gov. Dayton said the DFL’s proposed gas tax increase was dead, I never thought he meant it. I thought that he recognized the toxic nature of a gas tax increase heading into an election. I still think that a gas tax increase is toxic to DFL legislators in swing districts.

While Democrats living in safe districts remain willing to vote for a gas tax increase, it’s highly doubtful that swing district DFL legislators will be willing to cut their own throats by voting for a gas tax increase.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

Anyone who’s read LFR the last 5 years knows I don’t have any respect for Paul Thissen. He’s one of the most partisan political hacks in Minnesota. His contact with the truth is tangential on his best days, nonexistent on most days. For years, Thissen has insisted that Republicans are interested in providing “special treatment to big Twin Cities and multinational corporations.” That’s an outright lie. It isn’t inaccurate. It isn’t a matter open for discussion.

It’s an outright lie. Rep. Thissen knows that it’s a lie. Worst, Rep. Thissen doesn’t mind telling that outright lie. Last May, I wrote this article about Gov. Dayton’s shutdown notice announcement. At the time, Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Bakk had worked out a compromise budget. Gov. Dayton and Rep. Thissen objected to the bill in an attempt to kill the bipartisan bill.

Gov. Dayton and Rep. Thissen both complained that the Tax Bill would “provide tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.” I contacted Greg Davids, the Chairman of the House Taxes Committee, for a statement on those statements. Here’s what he said:

My bill does not do that. Eighty percent goes to individuals. Tax relief is for the middle class…My tax bill is tax relief for the poor and middle class.

I read Davids’ tax bill. His characterization of the bill is accurate. Rep. Thissen’s characterization isn’t. Unfortunately for Minnesotans thirsting for the truth, Rep. Thissen’s lies don’t stop there:

Thissen said the 2015 session was a “monumental flop for Greater Minnesota” after the House Republican majority failed to tackle important issues for greater Minnesota such as transportation, broadband infrastructure, and rural property tax relief. He said the “Greater Minnesota for All” agenda is focused on completing the unfinished business of the 2015 session.

First, the DFL played obstructionist with transportation. They said no to the Republicans’ transportation bill that would’ve directed sales tax revenues from rental cars, auto repairs and vehicle leases to a stability fund. That fund would’ve been used to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. The DFL didn’t want that because they wanted a gas tax increase and additional funding for transit in outstate Minnesota. The need for transit in outstate Minnesota is less than important. It’s virtually nonexistent.

Next, the DFL’s ‘investments’ in LGA and education from the 2013 budget when there was a DFL governor and DFL majorities in the House and Senate sent property taxes through the roof. Rep. Thissen bragged about the DFL’s “historic investment in education.” Despite that historic investment and the paying off of school shifts, school districts across the state enacted huge property tax increases. The most modest increase was St. Cloud’s increase of 14.75%. The biggest property tax increase that I heard about was Princeton’s 25.16% increase. That’s relatively modest considering the fact that Princeton initially wanted to raise property taxes 33.87%.

The truth is that Dayton, Thissen and the DFL love raising taxes. Dayton, Thissen and the DFL love spending those tax increases on education because they know that the vast majority of that money will go to Education Minnesota, then into DFL campaign coffers.

Rep. Thissen, keep your grubby little fingers off the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Robbing the taxpayers to pay off Education Minnesota isn’t ok. It’s disgusting and it’s gotta stop ASAP.

When unions signed onto liberalism’s entire agenda, they signed onto some things that are hurting them now. That’s what this article is about. Unions have been among the most trustworthy parts of the DFL’s coalition. Their reward is getting frequently shafted.

The DFL has steadfastly defended the refugee resettlement program despite the national security risks it presents. The State Department’s refugee resettlement program doesn’t just give terrorists a free pass to move into the United States. It also hurts workers.

Last week, the St. Cloud City Council voted to rezone a former convent so it could be turned into an apartment unit that will house “seasonal workers from Ukraine, the Philippines and Mexico” who will work for GNP, formerly known as Gold’n Plump.

Now that it’s their ox that’s getting gored, the AFL-CIO is expressing its disgust with the program. Implicit in their complaint is their disgust with the DFL:

Jane Conrad, a union organizer with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, said GNP’s program will have a ripple effect in St. Cloud.

“It’s kind of opening a Pandora’s box that we really shouldn’t be going down,” she said. “When you have guest workers coming in from out of the area, they’re not staying here, they’re not invested in the community, the way those that live here are. And when we have the poverty rate that we have currently right now, we need everything we can get in this community.”

Ms. Conrad can thank the DFL for those refugees taking the place of her union workers. Then again, it’s fair to say that the AFL-CIO can blame themselves for empowering the DFL locally and the Democratic Party nationally.

The AFL-CIO and other major unions have gotten shafted by other Democratic Party agenda items. Think Keystone XL transcontinental pipeline and the Sandpiper Pipeline from the Bakken to Superior, WI. The unions got shafted on those good-paying jobs because today’s Democratic Party will always side with the environmentalists over the unions. Think, too, of the ACA demolishing the unions’ Cadillac health insurance plans, too.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

The best news from today’s budget forecast, other than the fact that there’s a major surplus, is that Gov. Dayton admitted that a gas tax increase is dead for the upcoming session. That might’ve been the most painful statement he’s made as governor.

That all but officially ends Move Minnesota’s gas tax increase campaign. I wrote this post to highlight the features of House Transportation Committee Chairman Tim Kelly’s plan. Chairman Kelly’s plan invests heavily in roads and bridges without diverting funds to transit. The reason why Move Minnesota opposed Chairman Kelly’s bill is because he didn’t raise taxes and because he doesn’t put a high priority on ‘investing’ in transit.

Chairman Kelly wrote this op-ed to highlight his proposal. A big key to the plan is investing “$7 billion into needed road and bridge repair without raising taxes.” Chairman Kelly’s plan repurposes “revenue that is already being collected from existing sales taxes on auto parts, the Motor Vehicle Lease sales tax, the rental vehicle tax and the sales tax on rental vehicles.” Currently, that money goes into the general fund.

As I said last spring, why should taxes that are imposed on rental vehicles and leasing motor vehicles go into the general fund?

Chairman Kelly’s plan creates a “Transportation Stability Fund.” The TSF will “not only provide new money for roads and bridges statewide, but also for small city roads, bus services in Greater Minnesota, suburban county highways and metro area capital improvements.”

This is what Gov. Dayton and the DFL were upset about:

In addition to the dedicated funds provided by the Transportation Stability Fund, the proposal would also utilize $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds.

According to Paul Thissen, Chairman Kelly’s plan stole money from schools and other DFL priorities. That’s interesting considering the fact that Thissen insisted that the DFL had made an historic investment in education and paid back the school shifts.

At what point does Rep. Thissen think Minnesota’s middle class is overtaxed? For that matter, does Rep. Thissen think that Minnesota’s middle class is overtaxed?

The good news is that the DFL’s dreams of raising the gas tax is over.

The DFL’s intentional deceptions are disgusting. Minutes ago, they posted this tweet:


It’s time that the DFL stopped lying about property taxes. The DFL’s budget didn’t prevent property tax increases. I wrote this post in 2014 to highlight that fact. In that post, I linked to this post, which talked about the Princeton School Board voted to raise “the school district tax levy by 25.16 percent for taxes payable 2015 to fund the 2015-16 school year.”

That happened before Kurt Daudt was elected as Speaker of the House. That didn’t happen until January, 2015.

St. Cloud school district has imposed its largest tax levy increase in six years for 2015. The district’s property-tax levy will increase by $3.3 million, or 14.75 percent, to nearly $26 million. The school board voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the 2015 levy.

This happened during 2014, too. It’s difficult to blame the MNGOP for those property tax increases, especially considering the fact that Paul Thissen bragged about the DFL’s “Historic Investment in Minnesota’s Future.” After the DFL significantly raised K-12 spending, shouldn’t we have the right to expect a year or 2 of no property taxes from the school districts? Instead of getting stable property taxes, we get historic property tax increases.

The thought that the DFL is now lying about Republicans driving up property taxes is disgusting but predictable. The DFL isn’t in the business of telling the truth. They’re in the business of lying to people if they think that’s what will help them win elections.

Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and the DFL in general are upset that Republicans want to include long-term relief for the Iron Range in a special session. The DFL insists that the time to deal with that is during a regular session. Their problem is that Sen. Bakk wants to use the special session to address challenges facing the black community in Minnesota.

Gov. Dayton agrees with Sen. Bakk on that, saying “Sen. Bakk rightly expressed the urgency of the challenges facing communities of color in Minnesota. I thank Sen. Bakk and his caucus for their leadership. I agree that any special session concerning the economic hardships of steelworkers on the Iron Range should also begin to address the serious economic disparities facing black Minnesotans.”

The article says that “Jeffrey Hayden, who is one of three black state lawmakers, says the Legislature could provide job training grants for minority workers or start-up money for black entrepreneurs. The AP says it could also provide incentives to encourage businesses to hire minority employees.”

By definition, that means the DFL’s plans for addressing “challenges facing communities of color” is old-fashioned throwing money at a valued special interest group without fixing the underlying problem. It’s the DFL’s version of saying ‘here’s some money. Vote for us, then go away.’

Gov. Dayton and the DFL say that special sessions shouldn’t be about working out long-term solutions for economically-depressed parts of the state. Republicans should say that special sessions shouldn’t include spending money on the DFL’s special interest allies.

Prof. Mark Jaede has a lengthy history of being a DFL activist/operative. I first came face-to-face with it during the state government shutdown in 2011 but I’d heard of Jaede’s activism before that. This year, Prof. Jaede has taken his activism to a new level when Prof. Jaede complained publicly about this LTE. Specifically, Prof. Jaede complained that the St. Cloud Times editorial started by asking “Why are Muslim leaders silent?” in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. Later in the editorial, the writer got more specific, saying that there “has been no such response from Muslim leaders around the world to express their condemnation of terrorism and to let the global community know the difference between the religion of Islam and extremism.”

Yesterday, Prof. Jaede posted something to SCSU’s discuss listserv. In his post to the discuss listserv, Prof. Jaede admitted that he’d done “something I have never done before. I wrote to a newspaper asking them to take down a letter to the editor.” Here’s Prof. Jaede’s letter to the St. Cloud Times:

I am writing in regard to the above-referenced letter that appeared today in the online edition of the Times.

The letter is not merely an opinion piece. It makes a claim of fact that is patently false. Muslims all over the world have denounced the terrorism of ISIS. Muslim leaders here in St. Cloud have denounced it, and the Times has printed their statements. Why would you print this letter when you know it to be both false and likely to further anti-Muslim bigotry in our area? And why have the comments been turned off? Responsible readers can’t even point out the falsehoods.

Much as I have disagreed with many opinion pieces in the Times, I have never before been moved to write to object to the publication of a piece. This letter crosses the line. It goes beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.

Please take it down, or at least publish a disclaimer pointing out the falsehood of its central claim.

Mark Jaede
St. Cloud

It’s one thing to ask a newspaper to “at least publish a disclaimer” highlighting the inaccuracies of the LTE. It’s another to ask a newspaper to unpublish an article that’s been posted on their website. That’s called censorship, which is prohibited by the First Amendment. Prof. Jaede said that “this letter crosses the line” by going “beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.” The remedy for crossing that line isn’t to censor the writer. It’s to impeach them with your own LTE.

Methinks it’s time for Prof. Jaede to refresh his understanding of the First Amendment.

According to this KSTP article, the Republican Party of Minnesota is terminating a “social media manager” is being fired for referring to a “Negro problem” on Twitter. Predictably, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin called the comments “racist and bigoted”. Martin expressed outrage even though the person who published the tweet is getting terminated.

Rather than defending that offensive comment, I’ll simply highlight the fact that the DFL doesn’t have the right to take the moral high ground on this issue. I wrote this post after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act. It’s helpful to highlight the fact that the DFL has racists, too. That’s because Rep. Ryan Winkler was a rising star in the DFL up until that morning. Prior to the morning that the Supreme Court issued its ruling, Rep. Winkler was a leading candidate for Secretary of State. After that ruling, Winkler thought he’d get a little cute with his tweets. That’s why he published this tweet:

Winkler thought that it was clever to call Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Thomas.” When Winkler graduated from college, his degree was in history. That’s noteworthy because Winkler’s non-apology apology said that he didn’t “did not understand ‘Uncle Tom’ as a racist term, and there seems to be some debate about it.” Nobody with common sense believes that Winkler didn’t know that Uncle Tom was a pejorative.

Shortly after posting that tweet, Rep. Winkler issued a statement saying that he was withdrawing his name from consideration to be the DFL-endorsed candidate for Secretary of State. Since then, Rep. Winkler resigned from the legislature.

The point is that the DFL is just as capable of being a bigot as the Republicans are.