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This article by Katherine Kersten is another outstanding article from her on the subject of how the Met Council intends to govern cities.

Kersten starts by informing readers that the “council’s vision to transform how the people of the Twin Cities region live and get around has two prongs. First, the Thrive plan will promote compact, high-density housing and ‘transit-oriented development’ (TOD).”

Prior to that, Ms. Kersten explained that mission “creep has been escalating for some time, but under Dayton, the overreach has reached a crisis point. The Thrive plan is a power grab that will impose intrusive, top-down controls on 186 municipalities, neutering the power of local elected officials. The plan, wrapped in vague and noble-sounding goals, imposes a host of new, ideologically driven criteria for municipal development that will give the council the raw power, unchecked by elected representatives, to dramatically remake our region.”

That’s a fancy way of talking about top-down, unelected government dictating the terms of how urban life will work under their vision. The DFL, BTW, is all in on this anti-democratic form of governing. Apparently, the DFL supports any type of government that silences dissent and We The People.

People shouldn’t trust appointed politicians. That’s why Minnesota needs to dramatically overhaul the Met Council. Unaccountable people who weren’t elected (they’re appointed) with the ability to raise taxes, which the Met Council has the authority to do, are anti-democratic. They shouldn’t be respected or tolerated.

Finally, in a just world, they shouldn’t exist.

UPDATE: A loyal reader of LFR sent this video to me:

It’s a great (and frightening) picture of the Met Council’s mission creep and its misguided ‘mission’.

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John Croman’s article reads like a DFL propaganda piece. That’s mostly because that’s what it is. The article starts by saying “Minnesota’s top budget official warned Monday that the Republican health insurance premium relief plan will significantly delay aid payments to those facing sharp increases in 2017. Commissioner Myron Frans, who heads the Minnesota Management and Budget department, said the rebate program envisioned in the GOP legislation would required creating an apparatus to receive and vet applications for aid, which could involve hiring an additional 100 staff in his agency. ‘Our first take is that this is going to cost a lot of money and it’s going to take a lot of time. And if we’re going to go down that road it’s going to make it very difficult to get this implemented in 2017,’ Commissioner Frans told reporters.”

My first question for Commissioner Frans would be why this wouldn’t apply to Gov. Dayton’s plan. Wouldn’t they need to verify that applicants’ income is truthful? Or would Gov. Dayton’s system run on the honor system?

The Republican plan, by contrast, calls for people to apply to the state for aid. The state would review the applications and issue State checks directly to the insurance customers. The Legislative Auditor would conduct the audits, if this plan passes and is signed into law.

I don’t know that that’s true but let’s stipulate that it is for this conversation. Couldn’t the DFL offer an amendment to change that part of the legislation?

The main question that hasn’t gotten asked is why Gov. Dayton and the DFL haven’t offered a plan to fix all the things that are wrong with Minnesota’s Obamacare health care system. Why haven’t the media asked Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk or Rep. Hortman where their comprehensive health care reform legislation is?

Does the Twin Cities media think, like Gov. Dayton and the DFL, that these skyrocketing health insurance premiums are a one-time thing? If they aren’t a one-time thing but are caused by systemic flaws, why haven’t the DFL written legislation that would fix that situation?

Commissioner Frans can complain all he wants about not getting the rebate fixed but the truth is that Minnesotans are worried about other parts of Minnesota’s health care system. Further, if Gov. Dayton vetoes premium relief, the DFL will wear that like a cement block during the 2018 campaign.

If she doesn’t watch it, Patty Murray will explode. According to this article, Murray went on a diatribe of epic proportions, saying “If Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act, it’s women, kids, seniors, patients with serious illnesses, and people with disabilities who will bear the burden. Premiums will skyrocket. Out-of-pocket prescription drug costs will rise. And overall health care costs will increase. It’s a perfect storm to make America sick again — and absolutely the wrong direction for families and for our economy.”

In other words, Sen. Murray insists that repealing the ACA will do what the ACA is already doing. The ACA is already driving up health care premiums. The ACA is already bankrupting states, many of whom are opting out of the exchanges they created. The ACA is already driving up out-of-pocket expenses for families.

Whenever Democrats pretend these things aren’t already happening, they demolish their credibility. It isn’t like people haven’t noticed. If the ACA wasn’t expensive, Republicans wouldn’t have flipped the Minnesota Senate. If the ACA was affordable, the Democratic Party wouldn’t be a shrinking national party.

Democrats are living in fantasyland if they haven’t noticed the mess they’re in.

According to this article, Rick Nolan is considering a run to be Minnesota’s next governor. The article opens by saying “Rep. Rick Nolan is considering a 2018 run for governor, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday. Nolan, 73, would be a high profile addition to the DFL field. He represents the 8th Congressional District in northeastern Minnesota, winning a tough re-election fight in 2016 despite a bad year for his party, especially in greater Minnesota. This is Nolan’s second go around in Congress, now in his third term after serving three terms in the 1970s. Having endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, Nolan could unite DFL progressives with rural moderates that he represents in Congress. ‘Because several people who (Nolan)& respects have urged him to run, he is giving it thought,’ said Samantha Bisogno, his spokeswoman. She added that he has not pursued the matter further and referred questions to his campaign operation.”

Rick Nolan isn’t the uniter that he’s portrayed as in this article. He’s a far left lefty who thinks Obamacare didn’t go far enough. Further, he isn’t trusted by Metrocrat environmental activists because he’s (relatively) pro-mining. I don’t know how he’d win enough votes in the DFL’s urban stronghold to win either the primary or the general election.

As a Republican, I love the thought of Nolan running for governor because it gives Republicans a stronger chance of flipping the Eighth District. The NRCC would likely think of this as a gift. Obviously, this isn’t decided. Still, it’s another possible ray of sunshine for Republicans.

Anders Koskinen’s article on Gov. Dayton’s tax ‘relief’ bill is enlightening in that it proves that Gov. Dayton still hasn’t learned that sending money to cities and counties doesn’t shrink families’ tax burdens. It just adds to those cities’ and counties’ spending.

The key part of Koskinen’s article is where he writes “the proposal ends up seeing the state spending $1.60 in subsidies for every dollar of direct tax relief. Dayton’s proposal includes $21 million in middle class tax cuts, $61 million of child care tax credits, and $34 million of property tax credits for farmers. A further $186 million, however, is a series of subsidies.”

Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith adds “Our tax bill would provide significant relief to farmers by buying down the cost of local school district levies. I urge the Legislature to provide this needed tax relief for Minnesota farm families this session. In 2013, the DFL majorities in the House and Senate passed a bill with the same promises. It failed miserably. I wrote about those failures in this post and this post.

Despite all the DFL’s claims, property taxes skyrocketed anyway. While it isn’t shocking, it’s more than a little disgusting.

The DFL theory is that sending money to cities and counties should reduce the need for raising taxes. The reality is that it increases cities’ and counties’ spending. That’s been proven repeatedly. That’s why I called the DFL’s tax relief proposal a theory. It certainly isn’t verifiable fact.

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It isn’t a secret that there’s a major fight looming between Gov. Dayton and Republican leadership on the issue of health care. I’ve written about the difference in the details between Gov. Dayton’s proposal and the Republicans’ proposal before. (Here’s one of the posts.) Saying that the difference between Gov. Dayton’s proposal and the Republicans’ plan is significant is understatement. Honestly, this article doesn’t outline the differences.

The third paragraph says “DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants to see the Legislature immediately pass his plan, which would provide a 25 percent rebate for people who wouldn’t be able to get other help with their surging premiums. About 121,000 Minnesotans are facing steep health insurance premium hikes, but make too much to qualify for federal tax credits.”

What’s needed to do this debate justice is a side-by-side comparison of the competing plans. Actually, it isn’t fair to call Gov. Dayton’s proposal a plan when compared with the Republicans’ plan. This graphic is worth thousands of DFL words:

The first question that people should ask Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislators is this: why doesn’t your plan fix all the things that are broken with the MNsure/ACA system? The other question that I’d ask is this: If you aren’t going to make a substantive counterproposal, why aren’t you supporting the Republicans’ comprehensive proposal? Is it that you think rural Minnesotans have too much access to health care? Are rural Minnesotans’ networks too robust?

Unfortunately, it’s clear that Gov. Dayton is digging in his heals on MNsure/ACA because, in his mind, reforming it would hurt his legacy. Isn’t it time for him to, just once, do the right thing for rural Minnesotans?

Minnesotans rejected Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s agenda this past November. They want to move in a different direction. (More on that in a future post.) They aren’t happy with the direction Gov. Dayton and the DFL have taken Minnesota in.

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Gov. Dayton is the gift that keeps giving fantastic quotes to Minnesota’s bloggers. This article provides another such gift.

The second paragraph of the article says “In an interview with The Associated Press, Dayton said he expects Twin Metals Minnesota and its supporters to try their hardest to persuade President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to reverse the Obama administration’s decision this month not to renew the federal mineral rights leases needed for the underground mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely in northeastern Minnesota.”

The third paragraph continues by quoting Gov. Dayton as saying “I don’t think it’s ever dead. It’s stymied at present. And if the Trump administration doesn’t intervene and override what President Obama has decided, it’s not going to go forward.”

That’s pretty amazing considering what Gov. Dayton said about Twin Metals last March:

If Gov. Dayton thinks that killing the project is the same as it being stymied, then I might buy into this fantasy. Otherwise, I’d recommend that his staff buy him a dictionary. If he isn’t interested in using the dictionary, then I’d simply tell him to start telling the truth.

Thus far, he hasn’t done a good job with that.

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Minnesota’s story of the year is simple. In fact, the top 2 stories of the year are intertwined. When Gov. Dayton stated that “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable” to growing numbers of Minnesotans, jaws dropped because they knew he’d just issued a death sentence to DFL legislators in November’s elections. Though he tried rehabilitating their campaigns with this op-ed, pundits knew that it was too little too late.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Dayton’s statement was Minnesota’s Story of the Year. That was so straightforward that even Gov. Dayton figured it out.

The highlight of Gov. Dayton’s op-ed was when he wrote “I ask you to vote for two years with DFL majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate, to fulfill my pledge to you: A better Minnesota.” Not only did Minnesotans reject that request, they voted for a bigger majority for Speaker Daudt in the House while flipping the Senate from a DFL majority body to a GOP majority. You can’t send a clearer, more unmistakable, message to Gov. Dayton.

Voters didn’t just reject Gov. Dayton’s request. They sent the message that they were rejecting his hard-left agenda. They sent the message that the pressure is on him to abandon his my-way-or-the-highway negotiations.

Frankly, Minnesotans are tired of fixing Gov. Dayton’s messes. They’re tired of his constant giving the environmental activist wing of the DFL everything they want while shafting the blue collar workers of outstate Minnesota.

If Republicans get popular things done the next 2 years, they’ll keep their majorities in the House and Senate and elect a real governor. Not getting everything they want done over the next 2 years isn’t failure. It’s success because that gives voters motivation to elect a Republican governor in 2018.

Gov. Dayton admitting that President Obama’s “signature issue” is a failure was Minnesota’s story of the year. Minnesota voters’ resounding rejection of Gov. Dayton was Minnesota’s next biggest story.

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It isn’t a secret that Hillary Clinton made a mistake by not campaigning in Wisconsin. People of all political persuasions have criticized her. IMO, those criticisms are justified … to a point. Let’s first stipulate that Hillary campaigning there would’ve helped. The question remaining is how much it would’ve helped. After spending this past weekend in the hospital thinking about that question, I’m not certain it would’ve put her over the top.

Here’s why I think that: Hillary outspent Trump by a wide margin but still lost by a wide margin. It isn’t that Hillary’s message didn’t get out. It’s that Hillary’s message got out and voters utterly rejected it. It’s that some voters simply were tired of the Clintons so they rejected her. It’s that Hillary tried cozying up to the construction unions while pandering to the environmental activists.

My theory is that it’s impossible to satisfy both constituencies. It’s like trying to date 2 jealous one-man women and not hiding that fact. The simple truth is that construction workers and environmental activists fit together like oil and water.

I know that because I’ve watched Ken Martin, Rick Nolan and the DFL try walking that tightrope the past few years. While Nolan has survived, barely, the DFL has suffered, losing the House and Senate in the last 2 elections.

Democrats, whether we’re talking nationally or here in Minnesota, face some difficult questions. They shouldn’t assume that they can successfully court both constituencies. They’ll have to pick and choose.

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Earlier this week, Speaker Daudt told reporters that his relationship with Gov. Dayton was “damaged.” The key question that the Twin Cities media hasn’t asked is why their relationship is damaged. The AP’s Kyle Potter opened his article by saying “Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt will enter 2017 with a ‘damaged relationship,’ the Republican speaker said Monday, foreshadowing difficulty at the Capitol when the Legislature is charged with passing a two-year budget and address other key priorities.”

Let’s re-examine what happened since mid-October. On Oct. 12, Gov. Dayton admitted that “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people. We’re going to need both state and federal governments to step in and do what they need to do to remedy these problems.” Since then, Republicans came up with a plan to fix the affordability part of the ACA/MNsure crisis. This chart shows the differences between the Republicans’ plan, which addressed affordability, access and other important factors, with Gov. Dayton’s bare bones proposal:

There’s no disputing the fact that Gov. Dayton is upset. What’s in question is why he’s upset. Is he upset that Republicans put together a serious plan that would fix each of the major problems with the ACA? Is Gov. Dayton upset that the DFL’s plan is pathetic and skimpy?

Gov. Dayton owes it to Minnesotans to stop acting like a spoiled brat. For better or worse, he’s Minnesota’s CEO. It’s time he put his big boy britches on and did what’s right for all Minnesotans. Lately, there’s been lots of talk from the DFL about government shutdowns. It’s time Gov. Dayton and the DFL stopped pandering to their special interest allies and did what’s right for Minnesotans.

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