Archive for the ‘Steve Gottwalt’ Category

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Minutes after the legislature recessed, a new progressive organization joined in misleading Minnesotans. The people writing ads for A Better Legislature made it clear that they share ABM’s disdain for telling the whole truth.

If history was written based solely on their first video, you’d think that nothing positive got accomplished during the 2011-12 legislative sessions. ABL didn’t waste time before ignoring the GOP legislature’s positive pro-jobs and pro-taxpayer accomplishments.

If we based our votes on who accomplished and/or proposed positive things this session, the decision would be over within minutes. The DFL refused to propose a budget. The DFL didn’t put a set of redistricting maps together. Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen wanted a government shutdown because they thaught they could force Republicans into a tax increase during a special session.

Another dirty little secret is that the DFL could’ve averted a government shutdown. Gov. Dayton ignored Jon Gunyou’s letter to MnDOT Commissioner Sorel when he vetoed the Transportation Bill. DFL legislators could’ve kept road construction projects going by overriding Gov. Dayton’s veto.

If the DFL had put a high priority on doing the right thing, they would’ve shown genuine political courage. Instead, they chose playing politics over doing the right thing.

According to ABL’s video, the GOP legislature a) was “too extreme” and b)was a “do-nothing legislature” that focused on “the wrong priorities.”

That’s BS.

ABL also blames the GOP for the government shutdown despite the fact that Gov. Dayton could’ve signed the budget proposed on June 30,2011. Instead, state government was shut down for 2 weeks before he signed the budget that was agreed to on June 30.
The GOP legislature was productive. The GOP’s reform agenda improved the permitting process, which is already creating jobs. The GOP reformed the budgeting process when they passed King Banaian’s Sunset Advisory Commission legislation.

The GOP reformed the HHS when they passed Rep. Steve Gottwalt’s HHS reform legislation. As a result of the HHS reform legislation, the HHS budget growth rates have shrunk from 16% increases per biennium to 5% growth rates per biennium going forward.

In fact, the DFL stood in the way of the entire GOP reform agenda.

ABL wants Minnesotans to ignore how much of a positive impact the GOP’s reforms have had on creating job. The GOP legislature worked tirelessly to make it easier for all businesses to create jobs.

The GOP got little help from the DFL in turning a $6,200,000,000 deficit into a $1,200,000,000 surplus. By comparison, when the DFL won majorities in the House and Senate, they first spent the entire $2,200,000,000 surplus, then spent us into the aforementioned $6,200,000,000 deficit.

ABL will undoubtedly get tons of money from Dayton Family Politics, Inc., aka ABM. Alida Messinger promised her support months ago:

She is vowing to do all she can to help the DFL regain control of the Legislature and get President Obama re-elected…Messinger, 62, contends GOP politicians are harming Minnesota. “We are not a quality-of-life state anymore,” she said. “Citizens need to get involved and say we don’t like what you are doing to our state.”

Messinger is entitled to her opinions. It’s just that they’re ridiculous. In November, 2010, Minnesotans spoke with a loud, clear voice in emphatically rejecting the DFL as majority party. That’s when they rejected the DFL supermajority in the House and the veto-proof majority in the Senate. That’s when Minnesotans in all corners of the state hired Republicans to run the legislature.

Doesn’t Messinger think that their voices count? Does she think that only liberal voices count?

The DFL’s thinking is straightforward. When they don’t win, it isn’t that people rejected their ideas. It’s that their message didn’t get out. That’s warped thinking considering the media’s availability to publish the DFL spin thinking without hesitation.

Thus far, ABL hasn’t hesitated in not telling the truth, much less telling the whole truth. If ABL felt a fidelity to the truth, they could honestly say that they disagreed with the things the GOP legislature passed. They didn’t take that approach. Instead, they developed a chanting point about how the GOP legislature was a “do-nothing legislature”.

Here’s some questions that ABL and their DFL allies won’t answer: If the GOP legislature is a do-nothing legislature, how did the budget go from having a $6,200,000,000 deficit when they started to having a $1,200,000,000 surplus? If the GOP legislature is a do-nothing legislature, how is it that jobs are getting created?

The fact that Gov. Dayton signed the GOP budget and that that budget took Minnesota from a $6,200,000,000 deficit to a $1,200,000,000 suplus means that the legislature must’ve gotten things right most of the time.

HISTORICAL UPDATE: When Tim Pawlenty was elected governor, Minnesota faced a $4,200,000,000 deficit. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Jim Knoblach was given the responsibility to figure out what was and what wasn’t needed. Not only did he balance the budget without raising taxes. When Jim retired in 2006, Minnesota had a $2,200,000,000 surplus, which the DFL inherited.

The DFL spent that $2,200,000,000 surplus, then ran the deficits up to $6,200,000,000.

It’s a statement of historical fact that Republicans turned that $6,200,000,000 deficit into a $1,200,000,000 surplus by making wise spending decisions.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday night, the Minnesota legislature adjourned sine die. Now that the 87th Session of the Minnesota Legislature is history, it’s time to take a look back at the highs and lows of this legislative session.

King Banaian’s HF2 legislation will have a substantial impact on the structure of state government. That’s long forgotten because it was passed during the special session that ended the state government shutdown.

Dan Fabian’s HF1 legislation was one of the first bills signed into law in 2011. Its impact will be felt for years to come. In fact, the impact is already being felt.

It’s a shame that this legislative session’s highlights are the historic state government shutdown and passing the Vikings stadium bill. The bill that Gov. Dayton signed into law in mid-July, 2011 was the bill he could’ve agreed to on June 30, 2011.

Minnesota has felt the impact of Steve Gottwalt’s HHS reform bill, which Gov. Dayton could’ve agreed to during the regular session. It’s costing taxpayers less money for state-subsidized health insurance than it did 2 years.

Now that the legislating is done, the campaigns will start in earnest. For bloggers, that means the hectic season just finished. That means the frantic season is beginning.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

According to this article, Anne Nolan has stepped forward to be this year’s sacrificial lamb against Michele Bachmann:

Anne Nolan says she’s looking to unseat 6th Congressional District Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann this fall.

Nolan, who previously ran for the state House against Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, plans to make her plans official at 2 p.m. Friday at the St. Cloud Library, according to her Facebook page.

According to her old campaign website, Nolan works for WFC Resources, which trains employers on how to adopt flexible schedules for their employees. On the website, Nolan also wrote that she is a long-time community activist on workplace and economic development issues.

Nolan says she will abide by the DFL endorsement.

If Anne Nolan is the DFL candidate, this will be a major bloodbath for the DFL. I suspect Ms. Nolan won’t be the DFLer facing Michele in the general election, though I don’t know who will be the sacrificial lamb. Whoever the DFL’s candidate is will get crushed. It isn’t difficult to picture another 15-point defeat for the DFL.

Tarryl got thumped so badly by Michele last time, Tarryl’s GPS was broke to the point that she’s running in the Eighth District.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Here in central Minnesota, Republicans had a decent day. King Banaian, aka Landslide Banaian, must be smiling after learning that Minden Township was added to his district. While Rep. Gottwalt’s district lost a key city in Rockville, his district is still a solid GOP district.

As a result of those shifts, Sen. John Pederson must be smiling, too. He lost Rockville, a strong GOP city, but gained Minden Township, a strong GOP township.

Rep. Gottwalt’s loss, Rockville, is Larry Hosch’s loss, too. Rep. Hosch’s red district just got substantially more red.

A new district was created east of St. Cloud that’s strongly Republican. That district will include the cities of Rice, Foley, Becker, Clear Lake and Clearwater. The candidate there should consistently get 65% of the vote once they get to know it.

I’m told that the new district has two potentially strong candidates ready to run in the district, too.

While it was a good day for the GOP, it would’ve been better had the Special Redistricting Panel done what it said it was going to do in its rulings. Instead, the SRP chose to break up lots of smaller cities than was warranted.

On the House side, the legislative map split 39 cities. The SRP map split up 89 cities. That’s bad news for those cities because they’ve now been handed an expensive bill for holding elections. Instead of being able to order uniform ballots for the entire city as much as possible, these cities will now have to order multiple versions of ballots for the multiple House districts.

In addition to that, they’ll have to find new polling places so ballots from the multiple districts don’t get mixed together.

Most disappointing, though, is the court’s capriciousness in initially stating that they’d abide by the 2002 rulings, then ignoring those principles in putting this map together.

Thanks to their maps, future legislatures can’t count on the courts’ rulings as being a guide for future redistricting cycles. They’ve essentially destabilized the process. They’ve essentially put themselves in charge of the process, too.

They’ve now entered the political realm. That’s dangerous. It’s time for the legislature to write out the courts as much as possible. They should establish clear principles that must be followed consistently.

It’s time to establish some stability in our redistricting process. The legislative and executive branches need it. Finally, it’s time for the judicial branch to stay out redistricting as much as possible.

When John Pederson, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian scheduled Friday night’s town hall meeting at St. Cloud’s Public Library, they had no way of knowing that public employee unions were planning on disrupting it. Things didn’t get ugly immediately but it didn’t take long before things got out of control.

The first question of the night was directed at Dr. Banaian, the economist, not Rep. Banaian, the Minnesota House member. Here’s the statement and question: “Study after study has shown that right-to-work lowers wages for all workers. Is this true?” Banaian said that there are many studies on the subject but no conclusive evidence in either direction, in the minds of labor economists.

After that, the meeting went downhill fast. When Rep. Gottwalt attempted to respond to a different question posed by a union member, a different union member interrupted, asking “Are you wearing your legislator’s hat or your Coborn’s hat”? When Rep. Gottwalt replied that he’s no longer employed by Coborn’s, the man who interrupted quickly apologized.

That was the first time union members in the audience interrupted. It certainly wasn’t the last time. In fact, union members in the audience made interrupting the rule, not the exception.

In fact, the most confrontational moment came when Rep. Banaian was answering another right-to-work question. Jerry Albertine interrupted, saying “Don’t sit there with your hairspray and your tie, you’ve never worked labor, and say you know what the unions are about.”

That was a statement Rep. Banaian forcefully responded to, saying that he’s a college professor who’s paid union dues to the IFO for over a quarter century.

There were approximately 100 people in the room, with approximately 60-70 of those people union members. AFSCME had a strong presence at the meeting. AFSCME was clearly visible in their bright colored logo on the back of their windbreakers.

Several times, Rep. Gottwalt mentioned how union members, many of whom are nurses, have told him that they want the choice of whether to be in a union or not. At one point, a person in the audience suggested that Rep. Gottwalt was lying, saying that it was convenient that these union members didn’t have names and that they wouldn’t come forward.

Rep. Gottwalt said that Friday night’s union antics are why they haven’t come forward, saying that they don’t want to deal with the unions’ retribution to those ‘wandering from the faith’.

The meeting lasted a little over an hour. During that time, 2 questions were asked about Photo ID, another question asking for a law requiring a legislative panel review whether legislation was constitutional and one question about the closing of the Aviation Program at St. Cloud State.

Another gentleman asked about the the possibility of a constitutional amendment ballot question for an Initiative and Referendum system and about Sunday licquor sales. All other questions were about a potential right-to-work constitutional amendment.

If not for the presence of St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, the meeting could’ve taken a nasty turn. That’s attributable to the unions’ disruptive, disrespectful behavior.

The unions quickly turned the event into an us vs. them confrontation. They quickly turned it inot a 1 percent vs. the 99 percent confrontation. They came armed with their predictable chanting points. They came intent on citing each of those chanting points. They didn’t come to discuss. They came to start a full-fledged confrontation.

They succeeded in that last point, though it’s safe to say that they didn’t change anyone’s mind on the issues they cared most about.

BTW, about the townhall meeting I mentioned in the title: it never had a chance. This was a union pep fest, pure and simple.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been months since I’d heard anything from Paul Thissen. Thanks to this op-ed, I’m reminded that Thissen is loved by progressives but disliked by thoughtful people. Thissen went from zero to annoying in less than 2 paragraphs:

Most Minnesotans would agree that we still have a long way to go on the road to economic recovery. The same is true when it comes to addressing our state’s budget issues. But if you listen to Republican legislators lately, you are hearing a different story.

Across the state Republicans are trying to take credit for a short-term projected budget “surplus,” claiming that it resulted from the budget they passed after taking our state to a 20-day state shutdown. Speaker Kurt Zellers praised their “fiscal restraint.” Rep. Steve Drazkowski called it “smarter spending.” Rep. Carolyn McElfatrick said it was “prudent reform.” Rep. Mark Murdock said it was due to “fiscal responsibility.”

When you look at the facts, their self-congratulating rhetoric does not hold up. The temporary surplus, which actually turns into billions of dollars in red ink a year from now, is not the result of the GOP budget passed last summer. In fact, the majority of the temporary surplus is the result of events that occurred in 2010, before the Republicans took over the legislature and a new budget was even passed.

The reality is the Republican budget didn’t solve problems; it only created problems for middle class families while racking up irresponsible debt.

Thanks to Dan Fabian and House Republicans, militant environmentalists like Paul Aasen will find it more difficult to use the courts to limit economic growth. That’s a fact and Thissen can’t spin it. In fact, Thissen voted against Rep. Fabian’s bill.

As for the line that the “temporary surplus” will “turn into billions of dollars in red ink a year from now:, that’s typical Thissen drama queen stuff. It’s important to remember that Rep. Thissen, along with Sen. Bakk, sabotaged the agreement between GOP leadership and Gov. Dayton:

Pg. 2 of this document tells quite a story. What it represents is an offer by Gov. Dayton, aka MBD, that doesn’t include a tax increase.

It includes a shift in K-12 school payments, a $50 per pupil increase in overall spending and a restoration of funding to the Department of Human Rights, Trade Office.

According to Gov. Dayton’s own document, this would’ve saved the state “$1.34 Billion.”

Also, Gov. Dayton’s proposal included a “signed agreement that tonight’s special session of the legislature would be confined to passing a “Lights On” extension of funding for all current operations and obligations of state government until 11:59 of July 11, 2011.”

Gov. Dayton rejected the GOP’s counterproposal, saying “However, I can not agree to both a tobacco bond issuance and a school shift, neither of which are permanent revenues.”

There were no additional revenues in Gov. Dayton’s initial proposal. That means someone, possibly Sen. Bakk or Rep. Thissen, got to him.

What type of person sabotages an agreement that would’ve prevented the needless layoff of 22,000 state employees? That isn’t a portrait of a man of integrity. It’s the portrait of a man who’s owned lock, stock and barrel by Alida Messinger and her special interest allies.

First, the Republican budget borrowed a record amount, more than $2 billion, from Minnesota schools, effectively reducing school funding this budget cycle alone by just over $1,000 per pupil. This excessive borrowing has forced schools to take out loans to cover their own costs, which hurts students by taking valuable resources out of the classroom.

Rep. Thissen is spinning his way past reality. The reality is that school districts are spending lots of money on things they don’t need. Matt Dean is still trying to get the documents that explain this scandal:

House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) is doing his own inquiry into how the Minneapolis Public Schools spends it money after reading this Star Tribune report. The story revealed Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s decision to award $270,000 in retroactive raises to central office administrators at the same time the district cut more than 100 jobs including 52 teaching positions.

I’d love hearing Rep. Thissen explain how schools are underfunded when school boards are giving $270,000 in retroactive pay raises to “central office administrators.” Rep. Thissen, might schools not be underfunded if school boards didn’t waste so much money on administrators?

This is just another example of the DFL’s assinine priorities. In Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak cut police officers while keeping the bike trail coordinator on the city’s payroll.

Second, Republicans engaged in Washington-style deficit spending, borrowing from the future by selling the projected dollars from the state tobacco lawsuit for one-time cash. As a result, the state will get $650 million worth of spending today at the price of $1 billion in lost future revenue. Paying $1.67 tomorrow in order to get $1 today isn’t just fiscally irresponsible; it’s a bad deal with real costs to Minnesota’s future.

The thing that Thissen isn’t talking about is that this money was used to implement Steve Gottwalt’s health care reform, which will have a profound impact on future budgets by reining in health care spending.

I’d love hearing Rep. Thissen explain why passing long-term reforms that’ll save Minnesota taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade is a bad thing. The truth is that he can’t explain it. The best he can do is spin it.

The Republicans’ stubborn insistence on protecting the very wealthiest does nothing to move our economy forward. The recipe for Minnesota’s success and prosperity is to build a broad and prosperous middle class, where everyone plays by the same rules and has a fair opportunity to succeed. The Republican budget did the opposite, holding a select few harmless while raising taxes on the vast majority of Minnesotans.

The DFL’s steadfast insistence on looking out for the unions (think DFL opposition to Keith Downey’s 15 by 15 legislation) will add tens of millions of dollars of obligations for Minnesota’s taxpayers to pay. The DFL’s steadfast insistence on protecting their big government parasite special interest allies (think MnSCU university presidents and their bonuses) will add more tens of millions of dollars worth of obligations for Minnesota’s taxpayers to pay.

Rep. Thissen can’t explain why the DFL keeps supporting their entrenched political allies at the taxpayers’ expense. Thissen sabotaged the budget agreement that GOP leadership had hammered out with Gov. Dayton.

There’s nothing about Rep. Thissen that’s honorable or hints at integrity.

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

What are the odds that the St. Cloud Times would publish an anti-GOP screed that makes many of the same accusations as this hysterical STrib LTE? Here’s part of the Strib’s LTE:

At a news conference organized by AFSCME, one of the unions trying to organize in-home providers, Clarissa Johnston of Mounds View and Robert Ellis of St. Paul said letters from Republican opponents to providers have misstated the union effort.

“These politicians, I think, deserve a time out,” said Johnston, speaking at the home where she cares for eight children aged 4 and under.

She and the union cited a letter from Rep. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, that a provider in his district received. He said while only some providers would get to vote whether to join a union, all would eventually be forced to pay dues and would be subject to “additional regulation.”

Johnston and the union said Gov. Mark Dayton’s executive order authorizing the union election clearly states that “nothing in this order shall be construed to require participation, or the involuntary payment of dues by any family child care provider.”

“Republican legislators are spreading lies to scare and bully us not to vote for a union,” said Johnston. At the same time, she said, they have cut child-care subsidy programs and grants for improving care.

Let’s first deal with Gov. Dayton’s executive order. It’s a PR ploy, nothing more. Executive orders can’t supercede Minnesota state statutes. PERIOD. Minnesota is a Fair Share state. In this situation, that means that the child care providers that didn’t get to cast a vote would be forced to pay “Fair Share fees” to the organizing union in their part of the state.

Second, don’t think for a second that unions wouldn’t lobby this governor to make life difficult for child care providers that are openly critical of unions. They certainly would because AFSCME and SEIU are morally bankrupt and utterly corrupt.

Let’s remember that union organizers used disgusting tactics during their unionization drive:

Swanson said SEIU and AFSCME organizers operating under the names, “Kids First,” and “Child Care Providers Together” obfuscated the purpose of union authorization cards presented to childcare providers. “If unionization would really be such an advantage for us small business owners, then why did union organizers approach providers during the day, when we were busy caring for children, and try to trick us, telling us the cards were just requests for more information?”

Notice how Karen Cyson’s op-ed mimics the STrib storylines:

Imagine my surprise when local state Reps. King Banaian and Steve Gottwalt sent me a series of letters in an attempt to sway my vote on the day care providers union issue. These two prophets of doom attempted to get me to vote against a provider union by skewing data and misrepresenting facts.

In their letters they wrote that in other states, where a union was ratified, the “results are alarming.” Child care rates went up as much as 35 percent, and the number of providers dropped.

At first glance, I thought this scare tactic was just plain funny. Were they suggesting that I should be worried about being paid more and having less competition?

Let’s be blunt about this. What Ms. Cyson, a longtime DFL activist, said and what the STrib op-ed had in common was the use of the provocative term “scare tactic.” That’s understandable since Judge Lindman shot down Gov. Dayton’s EO. Judge Lindman said that opening a new category of people eligible to be defined as government employees requires legislative action, that it can’t be done via executive fiat.

Since they lost the war in the courts, SEIU, AFSCME and other DFL activists are attempting to turn legislators like Torrey Westrom, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian into the DFL’s boogeymen.

This fits the DFL’s pattern of villainizing anyone that doesn’t agree with them. Serious opposition to their agenda is subjected to a withering media campaign of villainization, especially if it involves unions.

It isn’t surprising that the SEIU, AFSCME and the DFL are singing in harmony in this fight to undermine small business sovereignty. Progressives are control freaks. Villainizing their opposition is what they do because they can’t win on the battlefield of ideas.

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

Before going to bed each night, I check the SCTimes editorial page. Tonight’s trip brought me to this offensive LTE from Rep. Mindy Greiling.

What Rep. Greiling doesn’t want people to know is that Gov. Dayton’s compromise called for a 50-50 split instead of the GOP’s 60-40 split. Another thing that Rep. Greiling doesn’t want people to find out about is how school districts waste money.

Unfortunately, Matt Dean’s already found some questionable decisionmaking:

House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) is doing his own inquiry into how the Minneapolis Public Schools spends it money after reading this Star Tribune report. The story revealed Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s decision to award $270,000 in retroactive raises to central office administrators at the same time the district cut more than 100 jobs including 52 teaching positions.

Firing 52 teachers is bad enough. Giving administrators a $270,000 retroactive pay raise after firing 52 teachers is unforgivable. The taxpayers’ money is getting wasted.

But Rep. Greiling is more interested in adding money to the formula than she’s interested in investigating this incident. The Minneapolis Public Schools aren’t the only school administration that’s squandering the taxpayers’ money. More to come on that in the days to come.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,