Archive for the ‘Larry Pogemiller’ Category

Minnesota State, aka MnSCU, has requested a budget increase of $178,000,000 over the next biennium. The higher education committees should reject that request if it isn’t tied to significant reforms. MnSCU is run by a chancellor who’s in way over his head. MnSCU’s Board of Trustees is, at least theoretically, supposed to provide oversight over the system. They’ve failed in that assignment.

The Department of Higher Education, which is run by former Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, hasn’t lifted a finger, either. The shop of cronies continues without interruption. No interventions are anticipated because, frankly, nobody wants to deal with the unpleasantness of doing what’s right for the taxpayers who support the system or the students who are attending MnSCU.

If you think that’s all, think again. The House and Senate Higher Education committees, chaired by Bud Nornes and Michelle Fischbach respectively, haven’t lifted a finger on oversight or proposed any reforms. This morning, I sent this email to Chairman Nornes:

I could’ve written a much longer letter if I’d wanted to but I’m confident Chairman Nornes got my point. The question now is whether he’ll act on this. I’m not confident about that. Large-scale reform of Minnesota State, aka MnSCU, is required. As I wrote in my email to Chairman Nornes, more Minnesota students have left for North Dakota and Wisconsin than students from North Dakota and Wisconsin have come here. That’s been happening for years. It’s time that stopped.

The mismanagement has been apparent to anyone who’s paid attention. It’s cheating taxpayers and students. It’s time to stop.

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Prof. David Schultz’s post criticizes the “dissing” of democracy. Saying that it rings hollow is understatement. Here’s an example of Dr. Schultz’s argument:

Consider first the most obvious and blatant assault on democracy–the behind the door negotiations to resolve the budget. It’s bad enough when legislative leaders and the governor did private talks and deals on the budget at the governor’s mansion. Bad enough when votes take place at the end of session at the wee hours of the morning. Bad enough when they take place in impromptu conference committee hearings that effectively exclude the public and most legislators. But now the talks to resolve the disputes over the three budget bills are being done in private between Governor Dayton and Speaker Daudt. No public, no media, no other legislators.

When have any final negotiations been open to the public? When the DFL controlled St. Paul in 2013, there was a dispute on how to raise taxes. Gov. Dayton, then-Speaker Thissen and Sen. Bakk met at the Governor’s Mansion to negotiate the final details. The public wasn’t invited, nor was the press. To this day, we don’t know what was said because it was held in private. We didn’t find out what they’d negotiated until the bills were passed.

I don’t recall any outcries from Prof. Schultz accusing the DFL of short-circuiting democracy then. I don’t recall Prof. Schultz complaining about the lack of transparency when Tim Pawlenty negotiated budgets with then-Speaker Kelliher and Sen. Pogemiller, either.

This is the first time Prof. Schultz has complained about the lack of transparency. If you’re going to make a principled argument, it has to be consistent to be credible.

Second, Democrats and Republicans joined together with the governor to eliminate the political contribution rebate (PCR) program. These program, one of the true hallmarks of political reform in Minnesota, allowed for Minnesotans to contribute up to $50 per year and have it rebated to them by the state. The PCR was nationally hailed as a powerful campaign finance reform tool that encouraged small contributors to give.

I’ve never heard of the PCR thought of as a “powerful campaign finance reform tool.” Further, it’s questionable to say that it “encouraged small contributors to give” because people aren’t really giving anything. They’re sending a check into the state but then they’re sent that money back in the form of a rebate check. The PCR is just a way to encourage public financing of campaigns, which is anything but reform.

So-called reformers talk about leveling the playing field during campaigns. When they talk about that, it almost automatically means everyone gets the same money from the government. How is that fair? I want to know which candidates can build a grassroots organization. I want to know which candidates can raise money because that tells me which candidates are appealing to the most voters.

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This article is breathtaking in that it talks about how the DFL is scamming students attending public high schools, then scamming them by forcing to pay for remedial classes in junior college that they should’ve learned in high school. Here’s the DFL’s latest scam:

College students who take remedial classes at state-run colleges and universities could soon find themselves in regular college-level courses instead under a proposal being considered at the Capitol.

Weaker students would do better if they took classes with the rest of the student body while getting some extra help on the side, some lawmakers say. And they’d save money by avoiding remedial classes, which cost as much as standard courses but don’t offer students credit toward a degree. “We’re trying to develop a system that is more student-focused,” said Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, a former high school principal who wrote the bill.

Here’s something else that’s offensive:

One in six Minnesota students is in remedial education, usually at a two-year college, according to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Almost two-thirds of those take one or two classes, data from the state Office of Higher Education shows.

When I wrote this post, I said that Jazmyne McGill was “the face of educational theft in Minnesota.” I said that because Education Minnesota ripped her off by not providing Jazmyne with the education she deserved:

Despite meeting all of the requirements for a diploma, I had to take a class in college that covered material I had already passed in high school. Worse, this class wouldn’t earn me any credit toward a degree, although I had to pay full tuition for it.

Making matters worse is the fact that Sen. Clausen is attempting to provide a Band-Aid solution to a problem that requires stitches or surgery. Sen. Clausen’s legislation treats a symptom. It doesn’t eliminate the root cause.

Until Minnesota legislators require public schools to improve educational outcomes, students will continue getting cheated by Education Minnesota and the DFL. If things don’t change dramatically, the Jazmyne McGills of the world will continue getting ripped off — and that’s unacceptable.

Part of that change is demanding that legislators like Sen. Clausen start solving problems instead of treating symptoms. That means training great teachers and getting them into classrooms. That means letting only the best candidates into teaching schools. That means telling EdMinn to that they’ll be kicked to the sidelines if they aren’t part of the solution.

Ripping high school students off by not teaching them what they’re required to learn for college costs these students, or their parents, money. That money doesn’t grow on trees. It’s frequently ‘found’ by taking out a student loan. Whichever way you look at it from, it’s a rip-off.

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Gov. Dayton, the DFL and their allies are doing everything they can to rationalize Gov. Dayton’s decision to dramatically increase his commissioners’ pay:

Members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s Cabinet are getting raises of tens of thousands of dollars, a move the Democrat says is necessary to “keep and attract” the best candidates to the jobs. The pay hikes range between 19 percent and 58 percent, WCCO-TV reported Thursday. Lawmakers were notified of the raises 30 days after they took effect. “In state government we need to keep and attract the best, talented people. … It’s essential to pay them closer to what they are worth,” Dayton said. He added that commissioner salaries have not been raised in 10 years and said he thinks lawmakers deserve a raise, too.

The smallest raise was $22,407 to the Ombudsman for Mental Health, who will now earn $119,997. Top commissioners got 30 percent raises. Also getting a boost is the chairman of the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning agency for the Twin Cities. The job changed from part time to full time, and the pay increased by $83,577 to $144,991.

First, it’s outrageous that the ‘Party of the Little Guy’ quietly raised the pay for people making close to $100,000 a year in salary by 20-75%. House Republicans should immediately pass a bill retroactive to January 1, 2015 that rescinds Gov. Dayton’s pay increases for bureaucrats making $100,000 a year. They should immediately send the bill over to the Senate for their consideration.

When the Senate refuses to debate the bill, House Republicans should insist on its inclusion in the final budget. Let’s see if DFL legislators are willing to fight for those raises heading into an election year. The DFL might be willing to fight that fight. If the DFL is willing to fight for those overpaid bureaucrats’ raises, that’s fine. The House and Senate Republican campaign committees should hire Derek Brigham to create individualized mailers that highlights these DFL legislators as fighting for pay increases for bureaucrats and higher taxes for Minnesota’s small businesses (2013) and the middle class (2013 and 2015).

This table should be part of those mailers:

This warped thinking is what I’d expect from Gov. Dayton:

But Dayton defended the increase as necessary to keep and retain top executives given competition from the private sector.

“There’s no controversy as far as I’m concerned. They haven’t had raises for 12 years,” he said. He acknowledged the salary “are a lot of money” but added that state staffers have left state employ and been able to make twice as much in local government or at universities. The salary increases, he suggested, would stop that drain.

Put differently, Gov. Dayton just gave Myron Frans a huge pay increase:

For those that don’t remember, Commissioner Frans was the person who accepted as Gospel fact that e-tabs would produce enough revenue to pay off the state share of the Vikings stadium. He was off by a paltry 95%.

That makes Commissioner Frans the poster child for Gov. Dayton’s pay raises. Commissioner Frans is the perfect example of why we need to raise public employees’ pay to “attract and keep the best, talented people.”

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Back in February of 2007, then-Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller pushed through a $30-a-day increase in per diem payments for senators:

The Senate voted 59-7 to ratify an increase in daily expense allowances from $66 to $96 per senator, a 45 percent boost. The ratification came with a hitch: Those who voted for it automatically get the expense payments, known as per diems. The seven senators who voted against it don’t get it. “You can’t vote ‘no’ and take the dough,” Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said after the vote.

The seven dissenters, all Republicans, can still collect expense checks. But first, they must tell the Senate fiscal staff how much they will take, and that paperwork will be public. Voting “no” were Sens. Ray Vandeveer, of Forest Lake; Dick Day, of Owatonna; David Hann, of Eden Prairie; Bill Ingebrigtsen, of Alexandria; Amy Koch, of Buffalo; Geoff Michel, of Edina; and Pat Pariseau, of Farmington.

One of the senators that voted for that outrageous increase was Julianne Ortman. According to this article, Sen. Ortman was a busy person that winter:

It’s been a busy and prosperous spring for Sen. Julianne Ortman.

For the past six weeks, Ortman has been working full time in her new $91,000-a-year job as chief financial manager for the office of Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, a political ally. At the same time, she has been collecting her $31,149-a-year legislative salary and a $96 daily expense allowance while missing some committee hearings and Senate floor sessions.

The dual roles of the Republican from Chanhassen, an assistant leader of the minority caucus, were evident May 11. Ortman was paid by Hennepin County as working on county business from 8 until 10 a.m., while state records show her answering a roll call for the start of the day’s Senate session in St. Paul at 9:20 a.m. A review of county payroll records and Senate documents from April and early May show that Ortman often bounced between her two jobs, at times starting one job just minutes after officially punching out from the other.

According to this search website, the article was first published by the Star Tribune on May 19, 2007. Mark Brunswick and Mike Kaszuba were the reporters. Mssrs. Brunswick and Kaszuba should be praised for their work in piecing this information puzzle together.

It’s bad enough that Sen. Ortman voted for that expensive per diem increase. I said at the time that $66 a day is more than enough, especially when the senators that voted for the per diem increase were getting the per diem 7 days a week from the first day of the session until the last night of the session.

It’s worse knowing that Sen. Ortman was on the clock for the legislature and for Hennepin County at the same time:

In two instances, she missed Senate committee meetings while working for the county, according to the records. Meanwhile, many of her county payroll records show her working long hours, evenings and weekends on days when the Senate was in session.

Sen. Ortman owes taxpayers an explanation for how she worked long hours for Hennepin County at the same time the Senate was also in session. They’d probably like to know how it’s possible to be in two places at the same time.

Obviously, this isn’t a policy difference. However, it’s the type of thing that raises ethical and potentially legal questions about Sen. Ortman.

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Tim Walz knows how to play the DC spin game. This article is proof of that:

At the U.S. Capitol, Walz said, “there’s not democracy.” Instead, “there’s just a speaker who holds a gavel.” The only legislation that can get voted on is that which the House speaker allows.

The reason Tim Walz is in the minority is because the politicians he voted for for Speaker didn’t just hold the House hostage. Then-Speaker Pelosi wouldn’t even let Republicans participate in writing a bill the vast majority of Americans didn’t want. It wasn’t enough for Ms. Pelosi to play the role of tyrant. She wasn’t satisfied until she ruled with an iron fist.

I don’t recall Rep. Walz complaining about Ms. Pelosi’s dictatorial stranglehold on the House from 2007-2011. Perhaps that’s because getting his way was the only principle that mattered to him.

Walz wasn’t the only spinmeister on stage:

With Republicans in charge of the Legislature and a Republican governor, Smith said, Minnesota ended up with a $6 billion debt.Under Democratic control, the deficit was erased, and money has been put aside for future emergencies.

Tina Smith should be ridiculed and criticized for lying like that. There’s never been a time when a Republican governor got to work with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. N-E-V-E-R. In 2010, Republicans gained control of the Minnesota Senate since it became a partisan election in 1972. From 1972 through 2010, Democrats had a stranglehold on the Senate.

That part of Smith’s BS is bad enough but that isn’t the only BS Smith peddled. In 2011, Republicans inherited a $6,000,000,000 deficit from Sen. Pogemiller and Speaker Kelliher. Sen. Pogemiller had a veto-proof DFL majority in the Senate while Speaker Kelliher lead 87 Democrats in the 134-member in the House.

When the DFL regained control of the House and Senate in 2012, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen inherited a $640,000,000 deficit, not a $6,000,000,000 deficit.

That means Smith was only off by $5,360,000,000. In other words, she was as close to being accurate on the deficit as Gov. Dayton was with the e-tabs projection. That means neither was particularly accurate.

If spin was a $100 bill, the DFL could pay off the national debt. If accuracy and honesty was a gold bar, Walz and Smith couldn’t afford a stick of gum.

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Gov. Dayton, the DFL and their puppeteers with the Alliance for a Better Minnesota have been telling people that the sales tax increase they’re preparing to pass this session won’t negatively affect the middle class or the working poor. This report from the Minnesota Department of Revenue indicates otherwise.

According to the Department of Revenue report, the proposed sales tax is projected to collect $198,700,000 from auto repairs in 2014-15. “The rich” don’t pay that because they often trade their vehicles before their warranties expire. That means the vast majority of that $198,700,000 tax increase will be paid by the middle class and the working poor.

Another situation where the middle class will get hit with a sales tax increase is the area of personal services. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s projections, they’ll collect $107,600,000 in sales tax revenues from barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons and from body piercings and tattoos. What’s the likelihood that “the rich” will pay a significant percentage of those taxes? I’m betting it isn’t likely that “the rich” will pay a significant portion of that tax increase.

The DFL isn’t telling anyone that their sales tax increases will drive up property taxes on smaller cities. Imagine the outrage that people will express when find out that their cities (think Sauk Rapids, Sartell and similar-sized cities) will get charged sales tax when their city hires an auditor or a city attorney.

Some cities will have their sales tax bill double. Read that again. That isn’t a typo. Some cities’ sales tax bill will double as a direct result of Gov. Dayton’s sales tax proposal. Those cities won’t have an option that doesn’t include either massive budget cuts or massive property tax hikes.

Comparatively speaking, cities getting LGA won’t get hurt that bad by the DFL’s sales tax expansion. That doesn’t mean they won’t get hit by this tax increase. Whenever the DFL has the legislature, one thing’s always worth keeping in mind. In 2007, Rep. Cy Thao made this epic statement:

“When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.”

I don’t see any proof that the DFL’s mindset has changed since 2007.

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Mitch has a great post up reminding us of famous DFL quotes. One of his golden oldies was initially reported in this post:

Cy Thao said “When you win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.”

Mitch then added this quote from Larry Pogemiller:

“I think it’s silly to assume people can spend their own money better than government can.”

It’s time to add another quote to the DFL Taxpayers Hall of Shame. It’s something I wrote about here. Eliot Seide made this assinine comment:

This is not necessary. We have a revenue problem, not a spending problem.

Mitch thinks we need to make a T-shirt out of those quotes. I heartily concur with that opinion. I’ll get things started by suggesting that the T-shirt should have Thao’s quote on the front, Seide’ quote on the back. What’s your opinion? Vote in the comments section. Feel free to make your own suggestions too. At LFR, we’re all about empowering people.

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I just wrote that Gov. Dayton isn’t dealing with budget realities. It appears as though the DFL’s grip on reality is slipping. This time, it appears as though Ember Reichgott-Junge is suffering from Dayton Deficit Delusion Disorder.

Appearing on @Issue With Tom Hauser, Reichgott-Junge said that, in years past, “the legislature passed budgets that were at least close to the governor’s budget.” That isn’t attached to reality in any meaningful way. It simply isn’t.

First, the DFL supermajorities didn’t pass budget targets in 2007 or 2009. It didn’t happen. I recall one of Gov. Pawlenty’s veto notes in 2007 to Speaker Kelliher and Sen. Pogemiller saying that he wouldn’t sign budget bills until the DFL said how much the DFL wanted to spend that biennium.

I recall that the first set of DFL omnibus spending bills in 2007 would’ve increased general fund spending by 17+ percent. The final omnibus spending bills increased spending by 9.3%. That’s a $2,500,000,000 difference.

I’d love hearing Sen. Reichgott-Junge explain that a $2,500,000,000 spending difference is “at least close to the governor’s budget.”

The reality is that there isn’t a huge difference between the GOP legislature and where the DFL is really if the DFL isn’t willing to raise taxes. The gap is less than $500,000,000.

Gov. Dayton’s budget proposes to spend $37,000,000,000. Since the DFL won’t vote for Gov. Dayton’s tax-the-rich scheme, that requires removing another $2,700,000,000 in spending because the revenue isn’t there. In practical terms, that puts the DFL budget at $34,300,000,000. The GOP budget calls for spending $34,000,000,000 during the 2012-2013 biennium.

That isn’t a big gap. It’s anything but insurmountable.

The only way it doesn’t get closed on time is if Gov. Dayton insists that his tax-the-rich scheme be part of the final solution. If he insists on that, he’ll isolate himself from the DFL and reality. Good luck with that.

Let’s be clear about something else. The DFL isn’t being honest with Minnesota. Their chanting points include complaining that the GOP won’t raise taxes. The DFL’s dishonesty is exposed by the fact that the DFL won’t vote for Gov. Dayton’s tax-the-rich scheme. They’ll just criticize the GOP for not breaking the promise that they made with Minnesota voters.

The DFL must decide in the next 2 weeks whether they’ll follow their failed leader off the proverbial cliff or whether they’ll put a serious budget together.

With Gov. Dayton’s budget so unrealistic, the DFL is faced with a put up or shut up moment. The DFL’s options are to follow Gov. Dayton into oblivion or vote for the GOP budget.

The GOP knows the DFL’s game. Just this once, the DFL says, we must raise taxes. What they’re really saying is that they want a free pass this time and they’ll think of another excuse the next time they want to spend recklessly.

The GOP is right in saying ‘No Thank You’ to Gov. Dayton’s tax increases. I hope the GOP just closes up the conference committees and passes the omnibus bills. Further, I hope they force an override vote on the tax bill because I’d love putting the DFL on the spot of either supporting Gov. Dayton’s job-killing tax increases or supporting the GOP’s tax sanity plan.

I’m fed up with the DFL’s tricks and gamesmanship. They’re acting like it’s just a big game aimed at winning back seats. Gamesmanship isn’t what’s needed. Statesmanship is required.

Unfortunately, statesmanship in the DFL died years ago. I haven’t found and DFL legislators that’s classify as a statesman. I’m not holding my breath on it either.

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Gov. Dayton has built a reputation of throwing temper tantrums. Now he’s building a reputation of throwing hand grenades while he’s throwing his temper tantrums. Yesterday, he threw another hand grenade:

Gov. Mark Dayton rolled a political hand grenade into Republican leaders’ piecemeal budget solution Monday, informing them he will reject all bills until they present a complete, balanced financial package.

Dayton issued a sternly worded, three-page letter hours before the GOP-controlled House passed a tax bill that would gut aid for the state’s largest cities, a signature Republican initiative designed to kick off a week’s worth of votes on budget bills that cut most state agencies.

GOP reaction to Gov. Dayton’s ultimatum wasn’t positive:

The letter “was probably a step backward,” House Majority Leader Matt Dean said Monday.

Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina, took more pointed aim at the governor. “Leadership is not writing letters,” he said. “Leadership is not drawing lines in the sand.”

Gov. Temper Tantrum can veto the GOP’s budget bills if he likes. It’s important that he understands that his veto, and the DFL legislature’s sustaining them, will come with a political price in 2012. I’d love watching the DFL campaign on being the party that wanted to raise taxes and spending more. That didn’t work in 2010. It’ll fail in 2012, too.

Dayton also wants the GOP to do what other Legislatures have done, abide by Revenue Department estimates for what each proposal will save or cost the state. He said he won’t negotiate with them until they do so. Republicans last week revealed that they were basing their estimates on numbers from private business and other states.

If Gov. Temper Tantrum wants to stomp his feet or hold his breath till his face turns blue, that’s his right. The only thing that John Q. Public cares about is whether MMB says that the GOP’s budget balances. When John Q. Public finds out that it balances without raising taxes, Main Street Minnesota will side with the GOP. PERIOD.

If Gov. Dayton refuses to negotiate with the MNGOP after they’ve balanced the budget, Main Street Minnesota will demand Gov. Dayton provide a better explanation than what he’s offered thus far.

It’s important that we’re clear about something else, namely that the DFL, whether we’re talking about Gov. Dayton or the DFL legislature of the past 4 years, doesn’t have credibility on putting balanced budgets together.

Then-Candidate Dayton put forth a supposedly detailed balanced budget proposal early in the election cycle. The cornerstone of the budget was a $4,000,000,000 tax-the-rich increase.

Then it met reality.

MMB said that his tax-the-rich scheme would only generate $1,900,000,000, meaning his supposedly detailed budget still had a $2,000,000,000 deficit.

Dayton 2.0 didn’t turn out substantially better, finishing with a $1,000,000,000 deficit.

Dayton 3.0 dropped his promise of raising education funding every year without exceptions, without excuses and added more taxes. Finally, it balanced.

Then there’s the 2009 budget session. That’s the year when DFL legislative leadership didn’t offer their own budget. That’s the year they tried raising taxes only to see its members reject the DFL’s tax increase proposals. That’s the year when the only balanced budget proposal was their final proposal. That’s the budget that passed the House with 9 minutes left in the session. Even then, that ‘budget’ had a paltry $36,000 estimated surplus at the end of the 2010-11 biennium.

That surplus disappeared before Labor Day, 2009.

Throughout all their machinations, the DFL hasn’t put together a reform-minded, pro-growth budget in ages. That they’re afforded any credibility on budgetary issues is astonishing.

They’ve been abetted by their media allies who’ve covered ‘reported’ about the DFL’s witnesses rather than seriously questioning the DFL’s policies.

Does anyone with real gravitas think that Gov. Dayton, Rep. Thissen and the DFL will produce a real balanced budget that appeals to Main Street Minnesotans? I’m betting against it.

Today’s DFL is expert at appealing to their special interest puppeteers. They’re substantially less than expert at putting together a reform-minded, pro-growth budget that leads Minnesota into the state’s next generation of sustained prosperity.

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