Archive for the ‘Steve Gottwalt’ Category
Paul Thissen and the DFL must think the turnout of uninformed voters must be high. That’s the only explanation for Rep. Thissen’s tweet asking “Kurt Daudt in 2014: “We will ensure fair access and affordability in health care.” What happened?”
Simply put, the DFL, ‘led’ by Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton essentially told Minnesotans that the DFL didn’t care about their wallets. Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton and the rest of the DFL essentially said that they’d fight for President Obama, not for their constituents.
Thanks to the DFL’s steadfastness to their leaders, not to their constituents, the DFL has shown where their loyalties lie. While Rep. Thissen’s and Gov. Dayton’s loyalties lie with President Obama’s failed system, Republicans are committed to ideas that’ve worked in the past.
In the past, Republicans supported systems like the ‘skinny Gottwalt’, a system devised by former Rep. Steve Gottwalt. Rep. Gottwalt’s system would’ve guaranteed high rates of people getting insured (when he was in the legislature, 93% of Minnesotans were insured with another 3-4% of people eligible for taxpayer-subsidized insurance. Obamacare doesn’t come close to hitting the 97% mark of people getting insured.
In short, Rep. Thissen, Republicans wanted to implement a superior plan and the DFL wouldn’t let them because the DFL was more beholden to President Obama than they were to doing what’s right for their constituents.
It’s hard to believe but today marks the 10 year blogiversary for LFR. It’s been an incredible experience. The first subject that I sunk my teeth into was the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. These days, there isn’t much in the way of good news coming from across the ocean thanks to our incredibly inept president.
Back when I started, I did lots of writing about world events. After the 2006 election disaster, I started paying attention to state government. In March, 2007, I broke my first news story thanks to a great tip from then-Rep. Steve Gottwalt. It’s still one of my favorite posts:
I just got off the phone with Steve Gottwalt, who had some shocking news from the Capitol. Today, at a committee hearing, Cy Thao told Steve “When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.” This was Thao’s explanation as to how the DFL plans on paying for all the spending increases they promised their special interest friends.
The DFL still has the same mindset today as they did in March, 2007.
Bit by bit, I started doing original reporting thanks in large part to frustrated state legislators who were being ignored by the Star Tribune and the St. Cloud Times. In 2008, I started covering the candidate forums. They were quite memorable. I still remember Rob Jacobs telling 2 major groups that he wasn’t an expert on their issues (transportation that Monday, health care the next day) but that he was a good listener. Despite telling everyone covering the events that he was totally unqualified for the job, the St. Cloud Times endorsed him over Rep. Dan Severson. The good news from that fiasco was that the Times had egg on their face when Rep. Severson beat Jacobs by 10 points.
The last 3 years, I’ve spent lots of time being the taxpayers’ watchdog. I’ve scooped the Times so many times that I’ve lost track of how many times it’s happened. Hopefully, I’ll be around when the mismanagement comes to an end. Hopefully, it’ll happen soon.
If you appreciate the reporting I’ve done, feel free to drop a few coins in the tip jar. Thanks for being incredibly loyal followers to LFR.
This Strib op-ed is about as whiny as I’ve read in recent years. It also isn’t credible. Here’s a sample from the op-ed:
The recent exchange between Gov. Mark Dayton and some community members in a discussion about increases in legislative pay (“Dayton says forum crowd in Shakopee was ‘juvenile,’?” May 1) illustrates a common problem.
In Minnesota and across the United States, government is continuously cited as something terrible, and members of an opposing party are fair game for insults and ridicule.
First, the treatment Gov. Dayton received was mild. I’ve watched the video. The crowd didn’t erupt. They mildly expressed their displeasure with Gov. Dayton’s policies. Second, government is immoral, not evil, when they spend money foolishly. Like when a city spends $50,000 each for 10 artistic drinking fountains, rather than $60,000 total for the drinking fountains. It’s worth noting that, after spending $500,000 on the artistic drinking fountains, R.T. Rybak had to lay off police officers.
In short, elected officials will get respected when they don’t spend the taxpayers’ money foolishly or make decisions that are counterproductive.
This won’t happen:
So disrespect of government officials seems to be at an all-time high. Perhaps it is time to lower the level of our rhetoric and raise the level of respect for our democratic government by acknowledging that those elected to office were supported by a majority of voters.
If this were put into practice, union stewards’ heads would explode. Their thugs’ tactics would have to stop. In 2011, I covered several townhall meetings hosted by Sen. John Pederson, Reps. King Banaian and Steve Gottwalt, including one at the Haven Township town hall. Public employee union member after public union member berated these elected officials. They were treated like human piñatas. In my opinion, Sen. Pederson, Rep. Banaian and Rep. Gottwalt had earned the right to respond in kind. They didn’t.
A month later, prior to the shutdown but after the session, Sen. Pederson and Rep. Banaian were invited to a union event to explain their votes on the budget. It’s important to note that the unions contacted them the afternoon of the event. It’s important to note that neither legislator attended the ambush (my words). It’s noteworthy that the unions had 2 empty chairs on the stage of the Atwood Theater. The event organizers then told the audience (the theater was less than one-third full) that Sen. Pederson and Rep. Banaian couldn’t be bothered to attend, omitting the part about them not getting the invitation to the event until that afternoon.
It’s getting tiresome to have people who want to grow the private sector economy while limiting government to the things it’s supposed to do per the Constitution are vilified while people who want government to do everything are applauded for their compassion.
Gov. Dayton, the DFL legislature and the DFL’s special interest allies haven’t hesitated in vilifying conservatives at every opportunity. They’ve gotten personal, too. They’ve accused Republicans of being racists because Republicans disagreed with President Obama’s policies.
Suggesting that conservatives hate government and think it’s evil is spin. It’s also highly inaccurate. Conservatives just want government to live within its means. Conservatives want to know that the taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely. They don’t want to hear about drinking fountains that cost $50,000 each. They don’t want to hear about universities spending taxpayers’ money on events that teach women how to have better orgasms.
The people attending the Shakopee town hall are tired of DFL politicians taking their taxes for granted. They expressed that frustration loudly because their other attempts went unnoticed. If politicians ignore the people, it’s only natural that the people will use whatever way works to get heard.
When Republicans took control of the Minnesota legislature, Minnesota had a $6,000,000,000 deficit. Thanks in large part to GOP reforms, Minnesota was able to erase that deficit without raising taxes. This morning, the final budget forecast was released. Here’s what it said:
For the coming fiscal cycle, which begins in July and lasts through 2015, the state’s deficit will be $627 million. Both are improvements over estimates from late last year. In November, economists predicted the state would have to grapple with a $1.1 billion deficit over the next two years.
That’s the headline information. Here’s the important information found further down in the article:
it also shows slight dips in projected spending, with the biggest savings coming from health and human services spending. “Savings from negotiated reductions in managed care rates for elderly and disabled basic care, adults without children, and families with children, as well as an increase in pharmacy rebates in (fiscal year) 2014-15 contributed to the reductions,” it says.
That’s another way of saying that the reforms authored by former Rep. Steve Gottwalt saved Minnesota taxpayers a significant chunk of money. The question no longer is whether Republican reforms worked. The question now shifts to being whether Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature will significantly depart from the GOP budget blueprint. Based on Gov. Dayton’s budget and the bills getting committee hearings thus far, the answer to that question is apparently yes.
If passed as is, Gov. Dayton’s tax increase proposals will significantly hurt economic growth:
Dayton has proposed the most extensive rewriting of the state’s tax code in a generation. It would increase state taxes by $2.1 billion over the next two years, with top earners and businesses paying the brunt of the costs.
His budget would increase state spending from $35.2 billion in the current two-year cycle to $37.8 billion in the 2014-15 biennium. That’s a 7.6 percent increase.
The governor has said the state needs the extra money to erase a budget deficit, provide more money for education and property tax relief and stabilize future state budgets.
The biggest change he called for would broaden the sales tax base to include haircuts, car repairs, expensive clothes and, stirring the most controversy, business-to-business services, such as advertising, accounting and legal work that are not taxed now. In exchange, he would lower the sales tax rate from 6.875 percent to 5.5 percent.
Missing from that final paragraph is the fact that smaller cities, especially those that don’t get LGA, will get hit hardest by Gov. Dayton’s sales tax increase. Cities like Sauk Rapids and Sartell have attorneys from local law first on retainer, not on staff. The Dayton/Lenczewski/DFL tax increase bill, in its current form, would devastate smaller cities like Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Foley, St. Joe and Cold Spring.
It’s time to tell DFL legislators representing DFL legislators that it isn’t ok to vote for higher property taxes for small cities in rural Minnesota.
Tagsmaller Minnesota cities that they’ll lose their jobs if they vote for this sales tax increase. It’s time to tell these s: Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Sales Taxes, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Cold Spring, Foley, Property Taxes, Deficits, DFL, Steve Gottwalt, HHS Reform, Spending Restraint, MNGOP
The sun rising in the east. Bill Gates making money. The government collecting taxes. These are among the most predictable things in the news. It’s time to add another thing to that list: the DFL sending out a misleading mailer the last Friday before an election.
This time, DFL candidate Joanne Dorsher is featured on mailer with a firefighter. The implication is that she’s been endorsed by the firefighters’ union. According to a firefighter to received the mailer, they haven’t endorsed anyone in the special election for HD-14A to replace Steve Gottwalt in the state legislature.
A quick review of history shows that the DFL is famous for these types of last-minute stunts. I wrote about their dirty tricks in this post. In 2010, the DFL sent out a mailer with a picture of King Banaian with a picture of him that made him look like a Middle East terrorist. The front of the mailer said “King Banaian: More Interested in Egypt and Macedonia than St. Cloud”; the back of the mailer said “St. Cloud needs a leader, not a King. King Banaian certainly has a resume- jetting across the globe to consult the governments of Egypt, Macedonia, Armenia, Ukraine and Indonesia.” In another mailer that the DFL sent out, it said that pro-choice DFL candidate Carol Lewis was the “true pro-life candidate” in the race.
It’s up to the citizens of HD-14A to punish Joanne Dorsher and the DFL for their last minute dirty tricks. The only way to do that is by voting for Tama Theis this Tuesday. If they don’t do that, the DFL and Dorsher will be rewarded for their dirty tricks.
One of the nicknames that the St. Cloud Times has acquired throughout the years is the St. Cloud SomeTimes. After reading this Our View op-ed in the SC Times, it appears they need a new nickname. I propose that new nickname be the ‘Behind the Times’ for obvious reasons. Here’s part of the Times’ hatchet piece:
St. Cloud-area Rep. Steve Gottwalt is under some scrutiny in the wake of a Minnesota Public Radio news report last week that highlighted the reasonable public perception of a potential conflict of interest involving his private business dealings and his powerful legislative role in reforming health care coverage.
The Dec. 10 report stated shortly after Gottwalt, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee, championed reforms to a state-run health care program, he became a licensed insurance broker, allowing for the possibility of selling products to those purged from that program.
The District 14A Republican also entered into a business partnership with another broker who had lobbied for Gottwalt’s reforms. And to further compound matters, Gottwalt hasn’t done a thorough job of explaining all this to constituents.
This is ancient news. Long before he was elected to represent HD-15A, Steve Gottwalt worked in the health insurance industry, though not as an insurance agent. As a freshman legislator in 2007, Steve became one of the experts in the House GOP Caucus on HHS issues because of Steve’s experience in the health insurance industry.
As for the Times’ cheapshot that Rep. Gottwalt “hasn’t done a thorough job of explaining all this to constituents”, that’s BS. The vast majority of the people that contributed to Steve’s campaign knew about Steve’s history within the health insurance industry.
After leaving his job with a local company, Steve opted to get his license to sell health insurance. That was well after Gov. Dayton signed Steve’s HHS reform plan into law. That’s a natural thing for him to do.
The Times admits that “Gottwalt’s actions don’t merit an ethics probe”, which is like admitting that they didn’t have much for the editorial page so they created this non-story.
With all their resources, you’d think the Times could find time to write something about the SCSU administration doctoring students’ transcripts. That’s something worthy of an editorial. This garbage isn’t. The question now is why the Times isn’t devoting any ink on a real scandal. Is it that they’re protecting this administration?
It’s time for the Times to come clean if that’s what they’re doing.
I didn’t see this coming. I’m totally surprised that the St. Cloud Times endorsed all 3 GOP legislators from SD-14:
Three-term Republican Rep. Steve Gottwalt is the best fit for this solid conservative district.
In his six years in the House, Gottwalt has developed a keen grasp of the state’s health and human services programs, which is why he chairs the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee. He has helped lead substantial reforms despite his penchant for divisive rhetoric. His social conservatism also fits the district well.
District 14B is likely a toss-up as evidenced by incumbent GOP Rep. King Banaian’s 10-vote victory over DFLer Carol Lewis in 2010.
Given an effective first term, Banaian deserves re-election. He authored the Sunset Commission law and helped college students with textbook prices. His expertise in economics also is a strength.
Voters have a tough choice between incumbent Republican Sen. John Pederson and DFL challenger Jerry McCarter. Both are well-intended but both are too tightly bound to partisan ideologies in an obviously moderate district.
Pederson, an ardent voice for business, developed a reputation as a good listener and advocate for regional trails in his first term so he gets a very slight edge.
It isn’t that I disagree with the Times’ endorsement of John, Steve and King. It’s that I didn’t see this coming.
It’s worth pointing out that John Pederson, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian have lengthy lists of accomplishments. They accomplished these things without sacrificing their conservative principles.
The bigger point to these endorsements and the endorsement of the GOP candidates in SD-13, is that the GOP is well-positioned to win all 6 seats. Couple that with a likely sweep of seats in SD-15 and Central Minnesota is well-positioned to look dramatically different than it did going into the 2010 election.
Back then, Michele Fischbach, Dan Severson, Steve Gottwalt and Mary Kiffmeyer were the Republicans representing SD-14, SD-15 and SD-16. DFL legislators representing those districts were Larry Hosch, Tarryl Clark, Larry Haws, Lisa Fobbe and Gail Kulick-Jackson.
If the dust settles the way I think it will, Michelle Fischbach, Jerry O’Driscoll and Jeff Howe will represent SD-13, John Pederson, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian will represent SD-14 and Dave Brown, Sondra Erickson and Jim Newberger will represent SD-15.
That’s quite a dramatic change from 4 years ago.
10. Alternative teacher licensure.
9. Keeping no new taxes promise to constituents.
8. Downsizing government, Part I Keith Downey’s 15 X 15 legislation.
7. Downsizing government, Part II King Banaian’s Sunset Advisory Commission.
6. Balancing budget without increasing taxes.
5. Creating surplus without raising taxes.
4. Passing real health care reform.
3. Passing budget reform.
2. Passing permitting reforms.
1. Creating jobs with the right policies and right priorities.
Earlier this week, Gov. Dayton joined DFL lawmakers in Duluth to pretend that building a new Vikings stadium was all that was needed for a great Minnesota economy:
“Thousands of people are going to be working on that stadium, and on the transit center in Duluth. Those aren’t just words, those are real jobs,” Dayton said, referring to $6 million included in the state bonding construction bill for the $27 million downtown transit hub supporters say will link bus, taxi and train passengers with hikers and bikers.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Republicans seemed content the past two years with passing little or no legislation to create jobs or move the state forward.
“We saved the Republicans from what would have been the largest do-nothing session in state history,” Bakk said, noting DFLers in the minority put up more votes than Republicans to get the Vikings’ stadium bill passed, 22 compared to 16 for Republicans who hold a 37-30 majority in the Senate.
Notice how the DFL was quick to tout the need to go into debt to create jobs that won’t help the Iron Range? Apparently, the Executive Council isn’t interested in creating good-paying jobs on the range. Prof. Kent Kaiser criticized the State Executive Council for not creating jobs on the Iron Range:
This month, Minnesota’s State Executive Council, which includes the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor, voted to delay 77 leases to explore for copper and nickel on private lands in northern Minnesota.
This short-sighted action was initiated by Gov. Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. It was unfortunate for the job situation in the Northland, and I know many Minnesotans are terribly disappointed.
After all, the people of Minnesota own the rights to minerals in the state, including those under private land. Anyone from Northeastern Minnesota knows this; I remember learning this fact in elementary school.
Dayton and Ritchie said they were responding to the complaints of a handful of Isabella-area landowners who supposedly didn’t know about the state’s century-old mineral laws. Yet most of the people testifying against the leases actually live in the Twin Cities area or are only transplants to the Northland. I think most Northlanders would agree: It’s inconceivable that someone from the Twin Cities or elsewhere would buy property in Northeastern Minnesota without being astute enough to learn the laws relevant to that land. If they didn’t: well, tough.
Gov. Dayton and the other DFL politicians on the Council caved to the militant environmentalists rather than doing what’s right for the mining families that live on the Iron Range.
That’s becoming typical thinking for anti-industry progressives. Think President Obama shafting the construction unions in not approving the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
In fact, it’s becoming apparent that the GOP cares more about getting construction workers employed than does the DFL, the party that continuously talks about putting construction workers to work.
Prior to his becoming the Senate Minority Leader, I thought that Sen. Bakk was a semi-intelligent man. I even held out hope he might resemble a capitalist. Now that he’s in a position of leadership, his true colors shine through. He’s just like the other DFL politicians who think that jobs come from creating debt.
When HF1 was signed into law, it streamlined the permitting process, which made it easier to expand businesses and create jobs. Apparently, Sen. Bakk doesn’t think that making it easier to expand companies creates jobs.
When Rep. Abeler, Rep. Gottwalt and Sen. Hann reformed HHS, they shrunk the HHS per biennium spending increases from 16% to a mere 5%. That’s a per biennium savings of $1,100,000,000.
That politicians think of saving the taxpayers $1,100,000,000 per biennium as not being a major accomplishment is stunning. That the DFL didn’t figure out how to save the taxpayers $1.1 billion per biennium should be enough to seal their fate of being the minority party for the next decade.
Bakk noted that the governor was sent only 245 bills over the two years of the biennial legislative session, the fewest of any Minnesota Legislature since 1869 when lawmakers met only every other year.
“They just didn’t think anything was important. They didn’t care if they passed any bills,” Bakk said of Republicans who control the state House as well as the Senate.
The first thing that came to mind when I read that was that Sen. Bakk said he didn’t see the need for the DFL to propose a budget. Let’s remember that the DFL didn’t put a set of redistricting maps together, either.
Think about that because it’s stunning. Redistricting is a once-in-a-decade responsibility. Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen thought it was so unimportant that they didn’t put a set of redistricting maps together even though it’s required by law to do so.
Think about the DFL hiring some redistricting specialists at the cost of $66,000 per specialist, then not putting a set of redistricting maps together.
If that’s got you furious, think about this: One of the people that the DFL hired was Jaime Tincher. If Ms. Tincher’s name rings a bell, it’s possible you remember that she ran then-Speaker Kelliher’s gubernatorial campaign.
Not only did the DFL think putting a set of redistricting maps wasn’t important. Not only didn’t they think it was important to not piss away $188,000 of the taxpayers’ money. No, it’s that the DFL pissed away that amount of money one political cronies that didn’t do a damn thing.
And Sen. Bakk has the chutzpah to say the GOP didn’t think anything was important? Sen. Bakk is a joke. To put it politely, he’s full of the stuff that makes plants grow.
Tags: Minnesota Executive Council, Mark Ritchie, Lori Swanson, Rebecca Otto, Mark Dayton, Tom Bakk, President Obama, Keystone XL Pipeline, Mining, Stimulus, Debt, DFL, Steve Gottwalt, Jim Abeler, David Hann, HHS, Unions, MNGOP, Election 2012
One of the few things that I’ve ever agreed with Chris Matthews about was his questioning GOP presidential candidates in 2000 what type of America they wanted to live in. It’s a great question which is scalable to state and local levels, too.
The DFL’s special interest allies started their barrage of lies against the GOP legislature by accusing the GOP legislature of being a do-nothing legislature. Those attacks took another hit thanks to Mark Sommerhauser’s article:
Rep. King Banaian, R-St. Cloud, sponsored a provision included in a broader colleges and universities act, which he says should help students shop for textbooks. The provision requires the price of textbooks and other key information be posted online with a college or university course schedule, and requires that information be available to students longer before the start of an academic term.
This is a great first step in reducing costs for students. This legislation alone won’t reduce book prices but it’ll make it impossible for professors to hide the cost of books.
This legislation will be popular on Minnesota’s campuses, though not necessarily with all of the professors.
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, took a lead role, along with Rep. Jim Abeler and Sen. David Hann, in crafting an omnibus health and human services act described by Gov. Mark Dayton’s office as “a remarkable example of bipartisan negotiation.”
Thanks to the work of these gentlemen, the rate of increase in the HHS budget went from 16% per biennium during the DFL’s control of the legislature to 5% per biennium with a GOP legislature. When you’re dealing with a budget pushing $10,000,000,000, that’s a $1,100,000,000 per biennium savings.
Of all the budget items from the 2011 budget session, that’s the biggest costsaver by far. The HHS savings either shrink the 2014-15 deficit by $1,100,000,000 or add $1,100,000,000 to the surplus. Thanks to the reforms included in other GOP HHS bills, these are genuine cost savings, not cuts to programs.
By comparison, Gov. Dayton proposed spending $37,000,000,000, which is $3,000,000,000 more than the budget he signed into law. Gov. Dayton’s budget, which the DFL enthusiastically supported, didn’t cut costs. It didn’t impose fiscal discipline on state or local government. It would’ve raised taxes without requiring government to rethink their priorities and spending habits.
The question facing Minnesotans this election cycle is straightforward. Do Minnesotans want a legislature that’s in love with their special interest allies? Or would they prefer a legislature that insists on accountability, fiscal responsibility and that’ll listen to all of their constituents?
Right now, the DFL is the party that’s all about listening to special interest organizations that want government to do more and more and more. The GOP is the part whose young leaders want government to do the basics well but that don’t want government to do everything on lobbyists’ wish lists.
The bottom line is that the GOP legislature passed lots of reforms since taking over control of the legislature, reforms that Gov. Dayton vetoed because he owed the special interests too many favors.
If people want government of, by and for the public employee unions, then they’ll vote for DFL legislators. If they want a legislature that’ll limit the influence of government out of people’s lives, they’ll vote for GOP legislators.
Tags: Higher Education, King Banaian, Steve Gottwalt, HHS, David Hann, Jim Abeler, Surpluses, Accountability, Fiscal Restraint, Accountability, Reform 2.0, Fiscal Restraint, MNGOP, Special Interests, Mark Dayton, Unions, DFL, Election 2012