Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category
Rep. Franson introduced a letter from the law firm of Seaton, Peters & Revnew. Douglas P. Seaton wrote the letter. Rep. Franson read this section from the letter:
The family child care providers affected by the proposed legislation can only be properly described as private sector under the HLRA and can not be converted to “public employees” simply by saying so. Federal law mandates that it is an unfair labor practice for an employer to “…dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it…” 29 U.S.C. 158 (a)(2) Yet the legislation purports to create a framework to form a union of employers and business owners and as such, is directly contrary to Section 8(a)(2)’s prohibition against employer interference financial contribution to a union. The election called for in the legislation would provide for representation of these employers by unions, giving the employers an impermissable voice in the administration of a union.
It appears as though private employers can’t be converted to being public employees just because the DFL says so.
Throughout the night, childcare providers lobbied legislators when the legislators entered the hallways.
At one point in the debate, Rep. Mike Nelson, DFL- St. Louis Park, spoke on Rep. Ron Kresha’s amendment mandating the print on all unionization drive literature have “at least 14 point font” characters.
Rep. Nelson held up a card that he said the unions were handing out. He said that the card easily passed that test, adding that the amendment was frivolous. Minutes later, Rep. Joyce Peppin returned from talking with the childcare providers still in the Capitol hallway at 4:05 am.
She held up another card that the childcare providers gave her. She then said that much of the print on the card was a small font size.
Time after time during the font size debate, Rep. Nelson said that the BMS, aka the Bureau of Mediation Services, “has been doing these elections for 40 years and they’ve been doing a fine job.”
Finally, Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, asked if the BMS’s work had ever been audited. Rep. Nelson admitted that he didn’t know if they’d been audited, at which point Sarah Anderson asked “Then how do you know that they’ve been doing a fine job?”
The DFL held steady on each of the first five amendments, defeating the GOP amendments with either 69 or 70 votes. (They needed 68 votes to defeat.)
It’s important that I state this about Rep. Peppin’s holding up the union literature with fine print. I don’t think Rep. Nelson is a liar. I think AFSCME gave him the card he held up and told him that’s the size of the font they’d be using. I further think he simply bought their story. Finally, I don’t have any trouble believing that AFSCME wouldn’t hesitate in lying about this. These aren’t nice people. Let’s remember this:
Last month, Dawn Bobo, owner of Village Dollar Store in Union Grove, Wis., was asked to display a pro-union sign in her window. Ms. Bobo, a self- described conservative Republican, refused and received a letter from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees asking her to reconsider.
“Failure to do so will leave us no choice but do [sic] a public boycott of your business,” the letter said.
That’s right. AFSCME threatened to undermine a business owner’s ability to make a living if the owner didn’t support them. AFSCME Council 5 is the Minnesota union pushing childcare unionization.
I’ve been tracking the childcare unionization debate for about an hour. First, it’s important to summarize what’s happened thus far. First, Rep. Kresha submitted an A-39 amendment, requiring a size 14 font. Rep. Nelson, DFL-AFSCME, said that the union’s literature met that standard so the amendment was frivolous. Rep. Nelson then urged a red vote. After a long round of questioning from Rep. Kresha, Rep. Franson and Rep. Peppin.
Rep. Nelson’s standard line was that this was covered by BMS regulations and that “the BMS has been doing this for 40 years and they’ve been doing a fine job.”
Later, Rep. Peppin returned from talking with child care providers outside the House floor. She held up a card that didn’t meet the standard Rep. Nelson said it would meet.
Finally, Rep. Sarah Anderson asked if any audits had been done on the elections. When Rep. Nelson said he wasn’t sure if the BMS had audited these elections, Rep. Anderson then asked how Rep. Nelson knew that they’d been doing a fine job. Rep. Nelson didn’t have an answer for Rep. Anderson’s question.
3:35 — Rep. Peppin: “There’s nothing in the BMS (Bureau of Mediation Services) rules that address font size.” She then asks why Rep. Nelson won’t agree to the amendment.
3:38 — Rep. Franson offers an A-78 amendment. Rep. Franson says that SF778 disenfranchises child care providers if they don’t care for CCAP children.
3:45 — DFL votes to disenfranchise potential childcare voters.
4:30 — Rep. Sarah Anderson just finished giving a stirring speech in which she said Rep. Nelson was “rigging the election to get the result you want.”
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.
It’s no longer debatable whether the DFL hates business. They certainly hate entrepreneurs. Rep. Ryan Winkler’s minimum wage legislation is the ultimate combination of nanny-statism and heavyhanded government:
The Minnesota House likely will approve a minimum wage increase later this week, after a committee Monday expanded the bill’s reach by doubling state-required parental leave for a new child.
Under the amended measure by Rep Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, employers would be required to grant 12-week leaves after a birth or adoption.
The House Ways and Means Committee tacked the provision onto Winkler’s bill that aims to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in 2015 from today’s $6.15. Then the wage would automatically increase.
Why would employers do business in a state that requires 12 weeks of maternity leave? For an employer, that means an extra 6 weeks of doing without an employee. That’s almost a fourth of the year without an employee. This is nanny-statism that’d make Michael Bloomberg proud.
That’s before talking about raising the minimum wage by almost 50% in 3 years. To cover the cost of higher wages, they’ll hire fewer people. Rep. Winkler should rename his legislation the ‘Growing the Nanny State and Killing Jobs bill’ because that’s what this bill will do.
A few weeks ago, Rep. Winkler tried spinning his legislation by saying that raising the minimum wage doesn’t hurt employment. At the time, I argued that that isn’t accurate. It’s true that raising the minimum wage doesn’t always hurt employment. It’s equally true that there are times, like during a weak economy, when raising the minimum wage kills jobs.
Businesses that are having trouble making money simply won’t hire people if the cost of wages increases. When the increased minimum wage is increased dramatically, like what’s being done in Rep. Winkler’s legislation the hiring freeze is that much more dramatic.
Further, employers seeking to expand will cross Minnesota off their list of destinations when they see this level of regulation and overbearing government. Business starts will shrink. Mitch’s post shows that people are already leaving Minnesota:
Though data can deliver mixed messages, data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) point to one clear and worrisome fact: Minnesotans and their wealth are moving to Southern and Western states. Between 1995 and 2010, an average of $340 million in income—based on 2010 dollars—moved each year from Minnesota to other states—a movement totaling more than $5 billion over 15 years. The states that on net receive the most Minnesota income tend to be low tax states such as Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington.
It pains me to say this but it’s got to be said: Minnesota isn’t special anymore. The lakes are still beautiful. The woods are still picturesque. The regulatory burden is excessive. Do-gooder organizations like Conservation Minnesota are attempting to kill industry in northern Minnesota. Tax rates are confiscatory. The special interests, aka AFSCME, MAPE and ABM, run the DFL. They say jump. The DFL asks ‘off what’?
Sacred cows abound within the budget. Bills pass through this legislature because we have to ‘invest in higher education’ or all-day Pre-K or whatever else the special interests demand of the DFL.
It’s time for the DFL to wake up to the fact that they’ve reached a breaking point on excessive taxation, irresponsible spending and overregulation. These statistics prove that people are voting with their mortgages (and their feet) on what’s excessive.
These paragraphs are a stinging indictment of Rep. Winkler’s bill:
Republicans and business leaders generally said the higher wage would hurt Minnesota firms. “There is no capacity on Main Street to absorb any more expense,” Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said.
Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, said he talked to a restaurateur who makes $60,000 profit a year. The new minimum wage requirement would cost him $60,000, Nornes said. “Why should he stay in business?” Nornes asked. “We’re going to lose some.”
As damning as that information is, and it’s plenty damning, it’s nothing compared with this admission:
However, Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, added: “It is a small number of businesses that will be hurt.”
Isn’t that reassuring. It’s only a few businesses that will get hurt. I’m sure that’ll ease those businesses’ minds.
The DFL can argue all it wants but capital flight from Minnesota exists. It’s just that the delusional idiots running the DFL think it doesn’t exist. In the end, reality trumps theory.
This statement on Workday Minnesota’s website is spin. Take this statement:
MAPE, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, and AFSCME Council 5 denounced the corporate-backed “United for Jobs” initiative as a misleading and deceptive paid advertising campaign. The ads target Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to raise more revenue for public services by raising taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.
“While the TV and radio ads are designed to make the audience believe that ‘United for Jobs’ wants to safeguard Minnesota families and small businesses, in reality, ‘United for Jobs’ is funded by corporate advocacy groups that want to protect the pocket books of their multi-millionaire members,” the unions said.
Here’s the TV ad that’s been running for about a week:
Here’s the transcript of the ad:
NARRATOR: Minnesotans pay some of the highest taxes in America. Now some Minnesota politicians want you to pay even more. They’d raise the income tax to be the second highest in the country to fuel a nearly $2 billion spending increase. There’s a more responsible way. Go line-by-line. Cut the waste. Do your jobs. Make government more efficient and effective. Be accountable for every taxpayer dollar you spend. Tell Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators they don’t need more of your money. They need to spend it better.
While it’s true that the ad highlights the DFL’s proposed income tax increase, it’s misleading and deceptive to say that the ad “targets Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal to raise more revenue for public services by raising taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.”
First, the ad highlights the need for politicians to “go line-by-line” through the budget and to “cut the waste” from the budget. In that context, the focus is on the legislature to do its job of spending the taxpayers’ money wisely.
Second, the ad points the spotlight at “Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators,” not just Gov. Dayton. That’s perfectly appropriate because it highlights the fact that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen are threatening to raise the rates on regressive taxes as well as raising the top income tax rate. Then there’s this statement:
The unions said the ads also mislead the audience into believing that the Governor’s tax proposal for the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans will raise taxes on “hard-working Minnesotans” – insinuating that all Minnesotans will get a tax increase. This is not true. The Governor’s proposal is a targeted tax increase to have the wealthiest pay their fair share, the unions said.
The unions’ statements are intentionally misleading. Their leadership knows that the DFL’s tax bills propose raising the tax on cigarettes by $1.60 per pack and the liquor excise tax from $4.60 a barrel on beer to $27.75 per barrel.
Sin taxes are necessarily regressive. They hit people who aren’t “the wealthiest Minnesotans” because they’re paid by everyone regardless of income. I’d love hearing Eliot Seide explain how AFSCME’s statement is accurate. In fact, I’d sell tickets to that event. I’d sell popcorn at that event, too. It’d be fun watching Seide slip and slither, twist and turn while doing his best to not answer my questions.
Seide, Gov. Dayton, Speaker Thissen, Sen. Bakk and their allies know this ad hits them hard. That’s why they’re responding with this dishonest counterattack.
Seide and company better be prepared to spend tons of money on their advertising campaign because the DFL has given these pro-business groups tons upon tons of ammunition with their tax bills. They’d better pack a lunch for this fight because AFSCME and MAPE will be fighting this fight for quite awhile.
Tags: Tax Increases, Cigarette Tax, Income Tax, Special Interests, Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5, MAPE, Middle Class Tax Increase, Tax The Rich, Mark Dayton, Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, DFL, United For Jobs, Capitalism, MNGOP
Rep. Pat Garofalo ripped the DFL as out of control during this speech during the DFL tax increase debate:
There were 2 highlights during the speech. Both related to the silica sand tax included in the House DFL tax increase bill.
Here’s what Rep. Garofalo said about that tax:
You’re gonna actually tax an industry out of existence with a tax on silica mining. I actually had a liberal activist say to me they thought that by raising taxes on silica mining, they would somehow impact the fracking in North Dakota. (Laughter in background) Spoiler alert. They’re gonna get the sand from other states. Doesn’t matter. It’s gonna have no impact whatsoever on other states’ ability to do fracking of natural gas and oil but it will kill jobs here. And it’s not business groups saying that. It’s not small businesses saying it.
We’ve heard from the local 49ers. We’ve heard from the local unions. In fact, members, this is how totally delusional this tax increase is: Mark Dayton actually labeled the House DFL silica sand tax “ridiculous.” So when a tax increase is so high that Gov. Dayton labels it ridiculous, you know you’re checked out for lunch.
That’s stunning. A DFL activist thinks that killing jobs in Minnesota will shut down the Bakken. That isn’t stupid. That’s beyond frightening. And that isn’t the most frightening part of this.
The truly frightening part of this is that Gov. Dayton, the man whose every thought is to raise taxes, thinks the silica sand tax is “ridiculous.” When a taxaholic like Gov. Dayton thinks that a tax increase goes too far, red flags should go off immediately.
I wrote here about the differing DFL tax bills, characterizing them as disastrous and counterproductive. Little did I know just how disastrous and counterproductive the DFL tax bills were. This is downright frightening.
Tags: Tax Increases, Silica Sand Tax, Paul Thissen, Unemployment, Cigarette Tax, Environmentalists, Mark Dayton, Tom Bakk, Sales Tax, DFL, Unions, 49ers, Fracking, Bakken Oil Field, Natural Gas, Pat Garofalo, MNGOP, Election 2014
True to their waste-aholic history, the DFL legislature voted against government accountability:
A commission designed to judge whether state agencies, councils or boards have outlived their usefulness may itself cease to exist.
The Democratic-controlled House and Senate have voted to abolish the Sunset Advisory Commission, a 12-member commission championed by Republicans as offering greater accountability and efficiency in state government.
“I think they’re (Democrats) scared,” Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, said of taking tough votes on the commission.
A product of 2011 legislation, the Sunset Advisory Commission is patterned after a 30-year-old commission in Texas, one billed as having saved the Lone Star State almost $1 billion at a cost of about $33 million.
Minnesota’s Sunset Commission reviews state agencies and recommends whether a given agency should continue to exist.
Rep. Peppin is right. DFL legislators don’t want to vote on wasteful spending. DFL legislators don’t want to admit that their pet agencies, councils and panels are actually patronage positions.
The DFL is spinning their vote:
The idea of duplication was voiced by another commission member, Rep. Michael Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park. “One of the tasks of the sunset commission is to get rid of duplicative government functions,” he said. There’s already the Office of the Legislative Auditor.
Why have both? Nelson asks.
Rep. Nelson, we need both because it’s apparent that there’s a ton of bloat in state government, things that the OLA hasn’t discussed.
As for Rep. Nelson’s assertion of duplication, I’d love hearing his explanation on what it’s duplicating. I’d love hearing him cite the times when the OLA has recommended the sunsetting of a commission, panel or council.
Sen. Bonoff’s statement needs ridiculing:
Bonoff, like other Democrats, argues the commission is itself duplicative. “If committee chairs are doing their jobs, they should be doing this kind of detailed oversight,” she said.
There’s a simple explanation for Sen. Bonoff: the chairs have never gotten into this type of detailed oversight. The Sunset Advisory Commission would’ve been a great tool that forced the legislature to deal with commissions, councils and panels that outlived their usefulness.
Furthermore, does any thinking person think that the DFL would investigate the importance or relevance of these hideouts for their political cronies? Let’s get serious. When Keith Downey proposed reducing the state workforce by 15% by not replacing retiring workers, Eliot Seide accused him of waging war “against working families.” What DFL legislator will vote for sunsetting these commissions, councils or panels knowing that they’ll get primaried by an AFSCME-endorsed candidate?
That’s why the Commission is essential.
Finally, this DFL legislature has repeatedly proven that they oppose accountability. The GOP legislature passed a bill that required teachers to pass a basic skills test, which Gov. Dayton signed. The DFL wants to repeal that law. The GOP legislature passed the Sunset Advisory Commission, which Gov. Dayton signed. The DFL legislature just voted to repeal that essential accountability legislation. Will Gov. Dayton reverse himself & say no to government accountability? If he does, he should prepare for getting labeled as a) a hypocrite, b) a cheap politician who does what’s popular, not what’s right and c) the unions’ puppet, not the public’s servant leader.
This week, the DFL legislature voted for higher pay for themselves, higher taxes on the middle class and less accountability within government. I don’t think that’s the bumper sticker they’ll want to deal with in 2014.
Tags: Terry Bonoff, Mike Nelson, Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5, Public Employee Unions, Cronyism, DFL, Sunset Advisory Commission, Accountability, Government Oversight, Reforms, MNGOP
Last week, the pension bailout was big news. After complaints boke out about the DFL bailout, pension fund bailout activists quickly started a counterspin campaign:
The casual reader may be taken aback by the $36 million figure, only $13 million of which is taxpayer money. The balance is fees tacked on to homeowner and auto insurance policies to bolster police and firefighter retirement funds. The $26 million is a significant difference.
First, someone should instruct Mr. Leathers that $13 million + $23 million doesn’t equal $36 million. Mr. Leathers’ math difficulties notwithstanding, he seems to think that $13 million of taxpayer money is incidental. It isn’t. It’s money out of hardworking families’ wallets at a time when incomes are stagnant. That’s before talking about the fact that the surcharge on homeowner and auto insurance policies, which, again, is money taken from hardworking families’ wallets.
Unfortunately, the spin gets worse after that:
What is also significant is that Minnesota public sector pensions are extremely modest. They account for 1.6 percent of the state budget, compared with the national average of 2.9 percent. While some states’ pension funds are facing bankruptcy, Minnesota’s funds are in “decent if not perfect” shape, as the story puts it. When asked about the management of public pensions in the state, Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement chair Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, stated, “We are responsible.”
TRANSLATION: We’re in great shape compared with California, New Jersey and Illinois. That’s hardly proof that Minnesota’s pensions are in “decent, if not perfect” shape. It’s just proof that they aren’t on the verge of being totally insolvent.
The St. Paul and Duluth teacher funds are unique, and currently both are freestanding. Each has more than 100 years of responsible operation and a detailed plan to become solvent. Dave Anderson, who represents the Duluth Retired Teacher Association, commented at a recent hearing on what he would do to put his district’s pension plan on sound footing: “We will do whatever is good for our members and also what is good for the state of Minnesota.”
The St. Paul and Duluth funds aren’t “freestanding” because of the bailouts they’ve received. Furthermore, Duluth’s pension fund is only 63% funded. That’s pathetic in any situation. It’s especially pathetic at a time when the stock market is sitting at its highest mark ever. If they aren’t fully funded when the stock market is going gangbusters, why should we think that they’ll ever be close to solvent?
As for Mr. Anderson’s statement that the Duluth Retired Teacher Association would “do whatever is good for our members and also do what is good for the state of Minnesota”, I’d believe that they’ll do what’s best for their members. I’m certain they won’t do what’s best for Minnesota.
Each week, different proof appears that the DFL is intent on eliminating the GOP’s reforms. Months ago, I wrote about the DFL’s attack on teacher accountability, aka HF0171. HF0171 would repeal the basic skills test for teachers that Gov. Dayton signed last year. This week, I wrote about the DFL’s attempt to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission.
If the DFL would put forward a good faith effort on reforming government, the Commission would be a great tool for increasing government accountability. In some instances, the Commission would force agencies to justify their existence. In other cases, it would force the agency to justify their staffing and funding levels.
First, why won’t the DFL explain who wrote the bill that would eliminate the basic skills test for teachers? Requiring teachers and applicants to pass such a test isn’t revolutionary. It’s sensible. Why, then, did the DFL write legislation that would eliminate that requirement? They aren’t doing it “for the children” because they’re the first people it’d shortchange. Their parents and other taxpayers are the next people this legislation would shortchange.
It isn’t a stretch to think that EdMinn wrote this legislation because it’s their job to protect union members. If EdMinn wrote that legislation, why isn’t Rep. Ward representing his constituents, not EdMinn? Perhaps Rep. Ward thinks that EdMinn is his constituent and that he doesn’t have to represent the people living in his district.
Second, why is the DFL insisting on eliminating a great tool for increasing government accountability and transparency? Without the Sunset Commission, government oversight doesn’t exist. As recently as last year, the DFL threw a hissy fit when Republicans sought to make government more efficient. They accused the GOP of “waging war against working families.” Eliot Seide held a press availability in which he got exceptionally agitated.
He talked about how Republicans hated “working families” because they questioned whether state agencies, commissions, councils and panels had outlived their usefulness or had expanded themselves beyond their original charter. The Commission’s purpose was to examine these entities, then tell the legislature whether they were still doing what they were created to do and whether that mission was still important.
We know that the DFL doesn’t believe in oversight because they rejected that notion in 2007. That’s when they insisted that spending should be adjusted for inflation. In the DFL’s thinking, once an appropriation is made, it should increase by the rate of inflation in the future.
Another GOP reform required the Minnesota Department of Revenue to factor federal taxes into their annual tax incidence report. Minnesota is one of a tiny handful of states that didn’t do that. Gov. Dayton signed that legislation into law. Now he’s signed it out of existence after the DFL legislature voted to repeal that requirement.
This year’s report had been prepared but it hadn’t been released. That report included federal taxes. The DFL moved quickly, eliminating the federal taxes requirement. The new tax incidence report doesn’t include federal taxes. First, the new report doesn’t give an accurate picture of Minnesota’s taxes. Second, it means that all the time that went into preparing the first report was for nothing.
Is that the type of government efficiency Minnesotans deserve? I’d argue it isn’t. I’d argue that that’s the type of waste that must be eliminated.
While we’re on the subject of taxes, let’s talk about the fact that the DFL isn’t committed to a progressive tax system. I’ll stipulate that they’re great advocates of progressive taxation during campaigns. That’s as far as it goes, though. Then-Candidate Dayton argued passionately for a more progressive taxation system during his campaign. In 2010, he criticized Tom Horner for supporting increases to the alcohol and cigarette taxes:
you’re in favor of raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, another regressive tax. So the difference between us is I want to raise taxes on the rich, and you want to raise taxes on sportsmen and women and and middle income working families.
This year, Gov. Dayton’s objections to increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes disappeared, most likely because he needs the revenues to increase the size and intrusiveness of state government.
Tags: Mark Dayton, Tax Incidence Report, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Tax Increases, Cigarette Tax, Liquor Tax, Tom Horner, K-12 Education, John Ward, Education Minnesota, DFL, Sunset Advisory Commission, King Banaian, Keith Downey, Pat Garofalo, Accountability, Reforms, MNGOP
It isn’t shocking to think that DFL politicians love overbloated government. Annually, they reflexively propose raising taxes. They love spending the taxpayers’ money on their political allies, too. Protecting union employees is one of their specialties. Two years ago, Gov. Dayton and the DFL threw a collective hissy fit when Keith Downey introduced his 15 by 2015 legislation. From that point forward, every union official seemingly started their sentences with “the Republicans’ war on working families.”
The first bill King Banaian submitted as a legislator was a bill that created the Sunset Advisory Commission. A miracle happened when Phyllis Kahn announced her support for King’s bill. After ending the government shutdown he created, Gov. Dayton signed King’s bill into law.
With the DFL back controlling the legislature and with Gov. Dayton still in office, they’re thinking about eliminating the Sunset Advisory Commission:
A budget bill in the Democratic-led House would get rid of the Minnesota Sunset Advisory Commission. The panel was created two years ago when Republicans were in charge. They touted it as a way to weed out government offices some people deem ineffective.
The commission met about a dozen times over the last couple of years and didn’t recommend cutting any government entities altogether. It did press for further reviews of some boards, including one that regulates combative sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.
The push to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission is in a broad budget bill that funds core government agencies.
It isn’t irony. It’s predictable. The DFL legislature, both Sen. Bakk and then-Minority Leader Thissen, used their picks to load up the panel with politicians like Matt Entenza. In short, their picks were people who wanted to undermine the law rather than work in good faith on protecting Minnesota’s taxpayers.
Here’s language from King’s bill:
Sunset Commission. Provides that the Sunset Commission consists of 12 members appointed as follows:
(1) four senators appointed according to the rules of the senate, with no more than three senators from the majority caucus;
(2) four members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, with no more than three of the house members from the majority caucus;
(3) four members appointed by the governor.
All members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. With respect to governor appointees, provides two-year terms expiring in January of each odd-numbered year. Provides term limits for service on the commission.
Staff. Requires the Legislative Coordinating Commission to provide staff and administrative services for the commission.
Rules. Authorizes the commission to adopt rules to carry out this chapter.
Agency report to commission. Provides that before September 1 of the odd-numbered year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the agency commissioner shall report specified information to the commission. The September 1 deadline does not apply in 2011.
Commission duties. Requires that before January 1 of the year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must review the agency based on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Public hearings. Requires that before February 1 of the year an agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must conduct public hearings regarding the agency, including the criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Commission report. Requires that by February 1 of each even-numbered year, the commission shall report on agencies subject to review, including findings on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Criteria for review. Specifies criteria for the commission to consider in determining whether a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency or for performance of the agency’s functions.
Recommendations. Requires the commission’s report to make recommendations on the abolition, continuation, or reorganization of agencies, on the need for performance of the functions of the agency; on consolidation, transfer, or reorganization of programs within agencies not under review when programs duplicate functions of agencies under review; and for improvement of operations.
Requires the commission to submit draft legislation to carry out its recommendations, including legislation necessary to continue the existence of agencies that would otherwise sunset, if the commission recommends continuation of an agency.
Simply put, the bill requires the Commission to review whether the agency is performing an essential function, whether it’s doing what it was originally created to do or whether it’s ‘evolved’ into just another bloated part of state government.
The DFL’s disgust with governmental accountability is showing its ugly face. Taxpayers should be outraged that the DFL is thinking about eliminating a tool that’s designed to increase governmental accountability. If the DFL eliminates this commission, Republicans should make this one of their campaign themes in 2014. Hold every DFL legislator’s feet to the fire for voting against governmental accountability and thriftiness.
If they’re eliminating sensible laws like this, then they’re undoubtedly voting for creating more unaccountable agencies, boards, commissions and panels.