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Reagan’s Son: Gingrich Exemplifies My Father’s Conservative Principles Lexi Stemple FNC Blog
GOP eyes new faces as Newt Gingrich stays in front Chris Cassidy Boston Herald
Nancy Reagan 1995: Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt William Jacobson Legal Insurrection
2,000 attend as Gingrich fires up crowd at townhall Don Walker Florida Today
Newt Gingrich Takes Obama to Task over Chavez & Castro Andrew O’Reilly FNC Latino
Poll: Gingrich holds tenuous lead in Minnesota Star Tribune
Conservative North Florida voters: Romney’s too rich John Sepulvado CNN Radio

For those of you who are looking for a compelling story this morning, Sanu Patel-Zellinger’s bio is interesting reading. I’d recommend that everyone become familiar with it.

My name is Sanu Patel-Zellinger. I was born in India and grew up in Kathmandu (Nepal), before coming to the US in 1991. I paid my way through college and earned my degree in Business from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota in 1997.

Shortly after, I received my US citizenship in 1998. I was as proud as could be. I married my husband Fred Zellinger at Grace Church (Eden Prairie) in 2000. Both of Fred’s parents were teachers, and his father taught for over 35 years and currently live in Wisconsin.

That alone made the reading worthwhile. Here’s more information that made it that much more compelling:

My parents are now retired and live in Lakeville, where the whole family enjoys gathering often at their house. My grandparents (now passed away) were active in fighting for India’s freedom in the 1940′s, and my grandfather was also the president of the Bhartiya Janata Party (loose translation is the “People’s Party”, one of the main political parties in India, with values similar Conservative values) during the 1970′s and early 1980′s until he passed away.

Clearly, Ms. Patel-Zellinger and her family values liberty, which is the best starting point for legislation. If legislation doesn’t make us more prosperous, more safe or more free, then it’s legislation that shouldn’t be a high priority. Someone with Ms. Patel-Zellinger’s upbringing is likely to have the right priorities.

Follow this link if you’d like to contribute to Ms. Patel-Zellinger’s victory this November.

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DISCLAIMER: I AM A MEMBER OF TOM EMMER’S STEERING COMMITTEE.

Yesterday was a big day for the Emmer for governor campaign because Tom received the endorsement of sitting Lt. Gov. Molnau and a number of legislators that Tom works with. Here’s the Emmer press release announcing the endorsements:

Saint Paul, MN – Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau endorsed Tom Emmer for Governor today in a press conference at the State Capitol. She was joined in her endorsement by former gubernatorial candidate Senator Mike Jungbauer (R–Ham Lake) and Representatives Matt Dean (R–Dellwood), Joe Hoppe (R–Chaska), and Dean Urdahl (R–Grove City). Today’s endorsements add to the list of elected officials already supporting Emmer which now totals twelve current state legislators and the Lt. Governor.

“I’m supporting Tom Emmer because I know he has the strength to lead our state during these challenging economic times,” said Molnau. “For the past seven years, I’ve seen first hand what it takes to make the tough decisions to get us back on the path to prosperity and Tom definitely has what it takes.”

“Tom is an authentic, effective leader who knows how to rally people to his side,” said Rep. Dean. “When we get to crunch time in the legislative session, Tom’s the one we rely on to set the strategy and carry the debate on the House floor.”

Today’s elected officials join the growing list of Emmer supporters including House members Bruce Anderson, Mark Buesgens, Steve Drazkowski, Tom Hackbarth, Mary Liz Holberg, Tim Sanders, Peggy Scott and Senator Amy Koch.

“It’s great to have the support of Lt. Governor Molnau and my colleagues in the legislature,” said Emmer. “Carol has been part of two successful statewide campaigns so it will be great to have her advice and support.”

This is the latest release from the Emmer campaign as they build momentum toward the precinct caucuses next Tuesday, February 2nd. Last week Emmer released a list of over 100 members of his statewide steering committee.

Lt. Molnau’s endorsement will likely garner alot of media attention. That said, Matt Dean’s statement that the House GOP relies on Tom setting the strategy says alot about Tom’s leadership abilities.

Many is the time that I’ve watched the livestreamed debates from the House floor. During those debates, Tom’s been one of the most effective debaters in exposing the flaws in the DFL’s legislation or in arguing for the effectiveness of conservative GOP principles.

Tom’s debating skills are a big part of why I’m supporting him. Most importantly, I’m supporting Tom for consistently holding to conservatism’s principles and for his leadership abilities.

It isn’t a secret to anyone that knows me that I put a high value on communication skills and the ability to make the most powerful arguments on the biggest issues of the day. Tom surpasses my expectations in terms of explaining why conservatism is the right political philosophy and in terms of his ability to making the best arguments for conservative principles.

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Readers of this blog know that I’ve recently had the privilege of introducing Sen. Coleman at the SD-15 GOP fundraiser. I’ve never made it a secret that, while I disagreed with him on some of his votes, I’ve always considered him a statesman and a gentleman.

Following his announcement that he isn’t running for the endorsement to be the GOP gubernatorial candidate, I can’t help but say that my respect for Sen. Coleman has never been higher. This portion of his announcement is vintage Norm Coleman:

At the moment, I am tremendously energized by the work I am currently involved in to create a positive, center right agenda for this country. Anger on the left and anger on the right will get us nowhere. In Minnesota, we face a jobs deficit, a budget deficit and a bipartisanship deficit.

We must all put aside the bitterness and sniping and remember that behind every job loss and every home foreclosure is a Minnesota family losing hope and confidence.
I think I can be part of recreating a more civil and respectful politics, a politics that better expresses the will of the vast majority of people. I will continue my efforts to work with Republicans, Independents and moderate, common sense Democrats across the country to advance the values of fiscal responsibility, entrepreneurship, effective government change, national security and respect for life.

To those of us who’ve known Norm, that’s typical Norm. First and foremost, Norm’s a gentleman and a statesman. Almost as importantly, Norm’s an optimist who genuinely thinks that America is a center-right nation.

The Norm I talked with a week ago was appalled with the extremist policies of this admininstration. Norm also seemed appreciative of the TEA Party movement. If Norm starts speaking out on those issues during this campaign cycle on behalf of local and statewide candidates, he’ll be a powerful advocate for entrepreneuriship and center-right policies.

I won’t pretend to know Norm well because I haven’t been an activist as long as some. Still, I got to know Norm a little during the 2008 campaign. A staple of his stump speeches was a story about a woman showing up at a politician’s funeral. A reporter approaches the woman and asks whether she knew the politician. The woman replied that she didn’t know the politician “but he sure knew me.” Norm was fond of saying that he loved being know as a politician who knew his constituents.

Anyone who’s ever known Norm knows that he is a man of the people. Most importantly, he’s the definition of statesman.

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Margaret Anderson-Kelliher and the DFL are getting fined for essentially trying to skirt Minnesota’s campaign finance laws:

A state oversight committee fined House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s gubernatorial campaign $9,000 and the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor committee $15,000 over a campaign finance deal that had Democrats and Republicans alike crying foul.

Under the arrangement, several Kelliher donors were directed to the DFL party to pay for an expensive voter database after Kelliher had reached a fundraising cap set in state law. The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board today found probable cause that the campaign and the party violated separate state election laws, both gross misdemeanors, and issued the fines.

At least one Democratic candidate issued a swift condemnation following the board’s decision.

“What we have seen in the DFL’s behavior amounts to an ‘inside job’ that’s unfair to all the other campaigns that played by the rules,” said Bridget Cusick, spokeswoman for former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza. Entenza is seeking the DFL endorsement, but has said he will run in a state primary election whether or not he gets it.

I don’t often agree with Matt Entenza but his campaign has it exactly right. This wasn’t the DFL and the Kelliher campaign playing on the up and up. MNGOP Chairman Tony Sutton put things in perfect perspective:

Sutton used as simple an analogy as he could to clarify the cash/services issue.

“If I give you $500 for your campaign for governor,” he said, “I can’t then turn around and give you $500 worth of copy paper.”

“These people have been around,” said Sutton. “They know the rules. It’s so basic. When you file to become a candidate, you get a book: Here’s the rules, follow them. It’s not that hard.”

Chairman Sutton is exactly right. This isn’t that complicated. The DFL should be experts at this stuff. Ditto with Speaker Kelliher. Though the contributions made to the DFL at Speaker Kelliher’s request aren’t considered an in-kind campaign contribution, it’s similar in that a person can’t max out their cash contribution to a candidate, then give that candidate another thing of value. Clearly, that’s what happened in this instance.

I can’t imagine other candidates like Tom Bakk or Matt Entenza not having private conversation with Brian Melendez. I’m betting that those conversations wouldn’t be exchanges of pleasantries. I’m betting that they’d be rather heated.

Chairman Tony Sutton and Deputy Chairman Michael Brodkorb issued this statement following the CFB’s ruling:

“Today’s ruling vindicates our belief that Margaret Anderson Kelliher deliberately circumvented Minnesota’s campaign finance laws to benefit her campaign for governor. Along with R.T. Rybak, Kelliher is now the second DFL gubernatorial candidate to have been involved in a scheme to get around Minnesota’s campaign finance laws. Kelliher and other Democrats are wrong to think they don’t have to play by the rules. These sort of schemes demonstrate Kelliher does not have the judgment to lead our great state.”

Initially, the DFL and the Kelliher tried passing this off as a mistake. Chairman Sutton quickly exposed that with the quote I posted above.

The DFL can’t plausibly argue that they don’t have a culture of corruption problem to fix. Neither can Speaker Kelliher or Mayor Rybak. Speaker Kelliher and Mayor Rybak are veteran politicians who’ve supposedly read Minnesota’s campaign finance laws. It isn’t plausible that their campaign finance problems are a simple mistake.

This shouldn’t be the defining issue of the campaign but it certainly should be remembered by voters when they study the candidates and determine whether they’ll do what they’re promising to do.

It’s worth remembering that Matt Entenza has truth-telling issues, too. It’s worth remembering the different stories he told in 2006:

Entenza first downplayed his investigation into Hatch. He says in March of last year, he asked for basic public information that any citizen could get, and his campaign manager released the result to the press, a box of routine public documents on the attorney general’s office.

Two hours later, Entenza said he had just discovered that Chicago-based Gragert Research also asked a local sheriff about Hatch’s past parking record.

“I was just looking to get some basic public documents…They decided that they would get these extra public documents. And it is deeply embarrassing to me, and I take responsibility for the fact that it happened,” said Entenza.

Putting it politely, Entenza’s story isn’t credible. You don’t hire a high-powered, and high priced, oppo research company to get “basic public information that any citizen could get.” You can hire someone to google that sort of stuff.

It’s time we got rid of the DFL’s culture of corruption. More importantly, it’s time we got rid of their anti-prosperity policies, especially their tax increases.

Rybak, Kelliher and Entenza: Putting a high priority on raising taxes. Putting no priority on integrity.

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There’ve been a alot of articles written speculating whether Norm would run. My friend Andy Aplikowski wrote a great post this morning on whether Norm should run. First, let me say up front that I love Norm dearly. I think he’s a great statesman. Second, it’s important that I announce that I’ve been asked to be part of Tom Emmer’s steering committee and that I’ve accepted that position.

Now that that’s been dispensed with, let’s cut to the decision facing Republicans. On one hand, you’ve got Tom Emmer, who has built a great organization and who gained alot of delegates yesterday when Pat Anderson dropped out of the gubernatorial race. Most of Tom’s delegates are willing to run through the wall for him. Because of that, I can confidently say that Tom’s on the right side of the enthusiasm gap.

Anyone who’s paid attention to the last 2 election cycles knows how important that it, don’t we? Last year, the Democrats had a huge enthusiasm gap advantage. Now they’ve got the White House and supermajorities in the House and Senate.

Having talked with Tom about his vision for Minnesota, I’m confident that he can build a vibrant GOP majority. I’ve witnessed how well his message is selling with Minnesotans. Most importantly, Tom’s message doesn’t just resonate with rock-ribbed conservatives like Andy and myself. Tom’s message connects with independents who are energized about politics for the first time in their life, too. BTW, many of those independents who are energized about politics for the first time in their life are part of the TEA Party movement. I’m confident that history will record the TEA Party movement as the dominant force in American politics this cycle.

That’s how winning coalitions are built.

The argument against Tom is feeble. The argument is that he doesn’t have high name recognition and his fundraising abilities aren’t as good as his opponent. It’s worth remembering that that’s what the NRSC said about Marco Rubio in Florida.

The argument was that Charlie Crist had the fundraising ability and the 100 percent name recognition, which made him an ideal candidate. Today, Rubio’s campaign is gaining momentum. Crist’s campaign is in shambles. The army of Rubio supporters is growing and enthusiastic. His message is resonating with the same types of people that Tom’s message is reaching. It isn’t coincidence that Marco Rubio’s message is experiencing the same success that Tom’s message is experiencing.

In announcing her candidacy for the State Auditor’s position, Pat Anderson paid Tom a great compliment:

Even when she still was in the race, Anderson acknowledged that it has been Emmer who has done the best job of igniting the passions of the forum crowds. “He’s a great speaker, very passionate, and the activists feel he has a better [legislative] voting record than Marty [Seifert].”

Pat’s compliment goes to the heart of why Tom should be our next governor. Tom’s willing to fight for his vision of limited government, common sense reforms and restoring prosperity to Minnesota.

Tom’s appealing vision for Minnesota will help grow the Republican Party, too. In short, Tom’s vision is connecting with Minnesotans, which is why his coalition is so formidable.

Which brings me to Norm. Norm’s name recognition is great and his fundraising ability isn’t in dispute. With all due respect to Norm, though, those aren’t as important as they once were. You needn’t look further than Ron Paul’s fundraising last year.

he isn’t in the U.S. Senate because he didn’t run a great campaign. It wasn’t that people didn’t like him. They did. They just weren’t inspired by him.

The biggest question facing Norm is what his message will be. Will he be a fiscal conservative? Nothing in his record says he is. Will he be a reformer? Again, I don’t know. Will he fight for Minnesota’s taxpayers? I don’t know. There’s no question whether Tom will fight for Minnesota’s taxpayers.

The question that I can’t answer is why Norm is the right choice for being the next governor. The question I can answer quickly is why Tom Emmer should be our next governor.

At the end of the day, that’s the only thing that matters.

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House GOP Leader Kurt Zellers issued the following statement on the DFL and unallotment:

ST. PAUL, December 31, 2009 – ST. PAUL, December 31, 2009 – Minnesota
House Republican Minority Leader Kurt Zellers (Maple Grove) said today Judge Gearin’s initial ruling on the unallotment lawsuit will force Minnesota Democrats to get serious in 2010 about the responsibilities they ignored in 2009. He also said that this political dispute deserves a solution from the legislative chambers and the Governor, not espoused from an activist judge making law and ‘practice-budgeting’ from the bench.

“We are in this position because of failed leadership by the DFL in the 2009 Legislative Session and their inability to produce a fiscally responsible budget. We should be using the 2010 session to improve Minnesota’s job climate and expand economic opportunity, but now it appears we will still have to deal with the budget problems Democrats were unwilling and unable to address last session,” said Zellers.

We applaud Governor Pawlenty’s leadership and his dedication to fiscal responsibility. Looking forward, the House Republican Caucus is committed to a budget that is balanced and sustainable and does no harm to the Minnesota economy,” said Zellers. “Our New Year’s Resolution is to end the pandemic of uncertainty about tax increases and new government regulations that is preventing economic recovery. We will continue to offer ways to improve the economy and put job creators and families in the best position for prosperity in 2010 and beyond.”

The DFL’s budget was so haphazard that they didn’t even get unanimous DFL support for their tax increases. Had anyone told me before the session that DFL legislators would refuse to walk Speaker Kelliher’s plank on the DFL’s tax increases, I would’ve taken that bet without hesitation. In contrast, in 2007, support for the DFL’s main tax increase proposals was unanimous.

There’s a key point that’s screaming to be made here, which is that the DFL constantly worries about funding government. Meanwhile, the GOP is focused on building the next great economy.

I can’t emphasize this enough: If you build a structurally sound economy, funding government gets easier.

That doesn’t mean that the government will fund everything on the liberals’ wish lists. It just means that we wouldn’t have to constantly worry about funding Minnesota’s highest priorities. It’s important that we accept that not every societal ill has a legislative fix.

The DFL’s mismanagement during the 2009 legislative session is proof that they tried to do “many good things.” The DFL didn’t focus on building a 21st Century economy. The DFL only focused on funding a 20th Century government.

Until the DFL stops that type of thinking, they’ll forever be the status quo party. Being status quo advocates is how a majority party (for now) doubles as an obstructionist party.

Finally, it’s important to note that the only thing where the DFL shows modernity in governance is that it’s forever thinking of new ways to spend your money. It’s time that the DFL learned the definition of these words: priority, NO and fiscal responsibility.

If the DFL doesn’t learn and practice those words, they’ll soon be replaced by the political party that knows the definitions of those words and who actually votes according to the taxpayers’ priorities.

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QUESTION: What’s the difference between Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar?
ANSWER: Sen. Franken doesn’t pretend to be a centrist.

The reality is that Amy Klobuchar, for all her rhetoric, isn’t a centrist. Remember the 2006 campaign? In one of Ms. Klobuchar’s shining moments, Ms. Klobuchar said this about the Iraq war:

Since April, I have been asking the President to give the nation a clear plan to bring our troops home safely. As with any effective plan, there should be a realistic time-frame based on specific milestones and benchmarks, with honest and current information from the administration about the status of our efforts, the training of the Iraqi forces, and the restoration of basic services to Iraq. In fact, the leaders of Iraq’s otherwise sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis agreed that there should be a time frame for the drawdown of American troops. If the president is unwilling to provide a plan, Congress should call upon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to do so. By establishing such a plan and setting a time frame for a drawdown of forces, we send an important signal to the people of Iraq that we do not intend to stay indefinitely and that we expect them to take on the responsibility of governing and securing their own nation. That is why I oppose establishing permanent military bases in Iraq.

What an idiot. Congress can’t compel the Pentagon to draw up plans for anything. Congress doesn’t have that authority over the Pentagon.

The reason I mention this is that Sen. Klobuchar’s respect for the Constitution still doesn’t exist. Thursday morning, Sen. Klobuchar voted for Harry Reid’s health care bill knowing that it contained an individual mandate that is unconstitutional. It also contained some tax provisions in it that aren’t constitutional either. You can’t tax insurance companies, then exempt the Michigan Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the Nebraska Blue Cross-Blue Shield companies from that tax. That violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protections Clause:

The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that “no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.

Sen. Klobuchar should stop pretending that she’s a moderate. Senators take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Thus far, she’s failed miserably in defending the Constitution. Frankly, I haven’t seen proof that she even thinks about the Constitution.

Here’s Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton’s statement on Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voting for Sen. Reid’s health care legislation:

After weeks of shady backroom payoffs, unseemly sweetheart deals and Enron style accounting, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar sold out Minnesota today by voting for a reckless nearly trillion dollar spending bill that increases premiums, raises taxes by $500 billion, cuts Medicare by over $470 billion and mandates that taxpayers fund abortion on demand. Candidate Obama promised America an open legislative process played out on C-SPAN. Instead, we saw a sleazy, secretive power play where Harry Reid bought off senators to get to 60 votes. In 2010, Democrats will pay a steep political price for their decision to ram this unpopular bill down the throats of the American people.

The only correction that I’d make to Chairman Sutton’s statement is that it costs $2,500,000,000,000 when all the provisions are fully implemented. The “nearly trillion dollar spending bill” is the CBO’s number that they arrived at only because the Democrats’ bill taxes us starting immediately but doesn’t start spending until 2014.

Another indication that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar vote the same way is that their votes would’ve been the same on President Obama’s failed stimulus bill, just like their votes have been the same on President Obama’s omnibus spending bill this year. (NOTE: Sen. Franken was still locked in his recount fight when the stimulus bill was voted on. However, he’s quoted as saying he would’ve voted for the pork-filled, less-than-stimuluating bill.)

Sen. Klobuchar isn’t the only so-called moderate whose reputation got disintegrated during the health care debate. Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Mark Pryor and Evan Bayh all saw their reputation as fiscal conservatives disintegrated by voting for this job-killing, tax-increasing monument to fiscal insanity. Instead of putting the nation first, they put their ideological priorities first.

Rest assured that voters, especially independents, will remember that the next time they’re up for re-election. They’ll remember because they will have been paying the taxes and they will have dealt with the individual health insurance mandate.

Contrary to Sen. Schumer’s bald-faced lie, this legislation’s popularity has hit its peak. Here’s Sen. Schumer’s lie:

“This is a happy day. (Senate Republican Leader) Mitch McConnell said on the floor that we’re going to go home and hear our constituents rail against this bill. I don’t believe that. I believe that the negativity that Leader McConnell and others have continually displayed on the floor has peaked, and now when people learn what’s actually in the bill, and all the good it does, it is going to become more and more popular because it is good for America, good for the American people, and a true symbol of what we can do if we all pull together,” said Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.

When the bill gets published and dissected, people will learn about the CLASS Act, which is the start of another entitlement. People will get hit with the legislation’s tax increases and fines for not doing what the politicians have told them to do.

That, by itself, will doom the Democrats’ election chances for the next decade. In my opinion, Sen. Schumer’s statements are said to tell his colleagues that the protesters at their townhalls aren’t real, that they’re just astroturfed supporters of the evil insurance companies and the evil pharmaceutical companies. (Isn’t it ironic that Sen. Schumer is attempting to villify the insurance companies that he voted to a huge windfall profit to?)

Sen. Schumer shouldn’t worry about townhalls, though, because neither Sen. Franken nor Sen. Klobuchar have the fortitude to subject themselves to open events. They’ll only enter the event if it’s a totally controlled environment.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that America has a strong libertarian streak in them. Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar stand opposed to most of what the libertarian movement believes in. Sen. Klobuchar should worry about this because she’ll have to deal with a revitalized libertarian movement in 2012.

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Two weeks ago, Sen. Pogemiller and Speaker Kelliher convened a Leadership Summit involving past governors, House Speakers and finance commissioners to talk about the budgetary difficulties that Minnesota is facing. That’s the wrong approach. Getting people together to discuss whether budget deficits should be eliminated by cutting spending by three percent or by raising taxes by five percent or a combination of spending cuts and tax increases is missing it. BADLY!!!

The right approach would’ve been to call a series of meetings, starting with business leaders. The right approach would’ve meant talking with these leaders to get their opinions on regulatory reform, tax reform and health care reform. Another hearing should’ve been held with mayors, city councils and county commissioners to hear what specific unfunded mandates needed to be eliminated.

The reason these meetings would’ve been important to Minnesota’s future success is because business leaders know what things should be given high priority in creating a business-friendly climate, which would lead to sustained economic growth and sustained prosperity.

Another meeting with county commissioners should be convened to talk about how Green Acres reform is a necessity if we want farmers to succeed. It’s that simple.

The DFL’s summit is the backwards approach because it doesn’t address anything other than government’s needs. It doesn’t address how we move forward in rebuilding Minnesota’s economy. More than anything else, we’re facing an economic problem. That and the fact that past legislatures haven’t consistently set the right priorities.

Alot of the budget’s structural problems are solved by simply reorienting the economy to be growth oriented rather than make-the-rich-pay-their-fair-share oriented. Frankly, I don’t care whether “the rich” are “paying their fair share” as long as they’re investing their money and creating and sustaining jobs.

The biggest difference between the DFL and the GOP is this: the DFL is worried about making sure government gets what it ‘needs’ whereas the GOP is worried that Minnesota’s families get what they need. What the DFL fails to comprehend is that the needs of the government are frequently at odds with the needs of the people.

There’s another thing that’s apparent from their approaches. The GOP is frequently interested in what’s important for the future whereas the DFL is interested in reliving the supposed glory days of the past. Why else would the DFL invite a bunch of former somebodies to this summit?

Phil Krinkie put together a sarcasm-laced list of recommendations from these leaders from the past. Here’s that list:

In the end, the list of revelations was mind numbing. Here is a sampling of some of the keen observations that were brought forth:

  • Minnesota is in a really bad recession.
  • Economic recovery is going to be slower than previous recessions.
  • Minnesota is facing significant long term budget problems.
  • Minnesota has an aging population and aging workforce.
  • The legislature has used all the short term budget solutions.
  • Fundamental changes are necessary.
  • Revenue growth will be slow.
  • Spending pressures for health care and education will continue.
  • Health care costs more as the population ages.

How useful is it to hear this bunch of has beens put together this list? From my perspective, if that’s the snarky version of the list, then it’s worthless. Sen. Pogemiller and Speaker Kelliher need to know that they’ll be harshly scrutinized until they work with people to make Minnesota prosperous.

If they don’t do that this session, then they’lljust have to suffer the electoral consequences for their arrogance.

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After 99 days of doing nothing to solve Minnesota’s budget deficit, Democrats have announced that (shock, surprise, amazement) they’re planning massive tax increases. Here’s the summary information from Mary Lahammer’s post:

Highlights of the 2009 Tax Bill

REFORM

  • Proposes the most significant tax reform in over 20 years.
  • Eliminates dozens of business subsidies and tax expenditures that are outdated, ineffective, regressive or that we simply cannot afford.
  • Gives counties a new option that protects property taxpayers, saves jobs, provides essential services, and strengthens the state and local relationship.
  • Increases accountability, value and efficiency to property taxpayers.
  • Simplifies the tax system so that it is easier to understand, comply with, and administer.

FAIRNESS

  • Increases the progressivity of the tax system by replacing tax subsidies that disproportionately benefit upper-income earners and creates a new fourth-tier income tax rate of 9% on married joint filers making over $300,000.
  • Eliminates corporate loopholes and business subsidies that currently create winners and losers in Minnesota.

JOBS

  • Keeps and grows jobs in Minnesota.
  • Helps small businesses and farms through Section 179 tax cuts.
  • Gives Minnesota companies a competitive advantage by eliminating the job tax that accelerates single sales apportionment to tax year 2009.
  • Doubles the Research and Development Credit on the first $2 million of R&D expenditures and makes S-corporations and partnerships eligible for the credit.
  • Conforms to many newly passed federal provisions to make tax filing easier for businesses and individuals.
  • Protects community jobs by preserving Local Government Aid to cities.

RECOUPING GOVERNMENT COSTS

  • Increases the cigarette tax by 54 cents a pack to the same level as Wisconsin to recoup associated health care costs. Research shows that smoking-related health care costs actually equal $10.28/ pack.
  • Increases total alcohol taxes for the first time in over 20 years by 3 to 5 cents per drink to recoup associated alcohol abuse costs. Research shows that the economic costs associated with alcohol abuse amount to $4.5 billion a year or $900 for every person in the state of Minnesota.

Among other things, I’m questioning whether the DFL’s Tax Bill will create jobs. I’ll bet that it’ll drive jobs from the state rather than creating jobs here in Minnesota. For all of the DFL’s talk about needing a progressive tax, the DFL is proposing a tax increase on some regressive taxes.

Here’s some information from Rep. Steve Gottwalt’s e-letter update breaking down what’s in the Omnibus Tax Bill as proposed:

  • It adds a new fourth tier for income tax, giving Minnesota one of the
    nation’s highest income tax rates: 9 percent.
  • * Cigarette taxes go up 54 cents a pack, one of the most regressive taxes in Minnesota. The total cigarette tax would increase to $1.77 per pack. The liquor tax also would increase by 3-5 cents per drink.
  • It eliminates JOB-Z business development support which has helped our area retain and create hundreds of good paying jobs over the last several years. At a time when retaining and creating jobs is our top priority, this cut makes no sense.
  • It repeals tax credits for K-12 education, long-term care and
    employee health insurance. This is money that we leave with taxpayers to help meet education, long-term care and health care needs.
  • It contains several other corporate tax changes that will place more burden on our job creators at a time when we need more jobs.
  • The home mortgage tax deduction would be eliminated, replaced with a tax credit which is not linked to income.
  • The new income tax bracket would kick in at $300,000 of adjusted gross income for joint filers, $169,700 for single filers and $255,000 for heads of household.

Steve makes this astute observation in his e-letter:

One problem is the United States Census Bureau shows Minnesota has 94,000 companies with fewer than 10 employees and another 188,000 self-employed people. A majority of them report business income as personal income, so raising the top bracket would hurt small businesses and their employees by siphoning operating funds, profits and long-term investment capital. By the way, it’s these kinds of increases that result in more of those dollars moving to Florida, Arizona, etc.

As expected, the DFL’s tax bill is hostile towards most small businesses. It’s noteworthy that it includes a number of regressive taxes, too. (Isn’t the DFL always railing about the need for a more progressive taxation system? Why don’t they practice what they preach?)

Rep. Gottwalt gets this right in a big way:

This is a time when we need to grow jobs to rise above this recession and revive state revenues. Adding to Minnesota’s already heavy tax burden will only put us in a deeper hole. I will continue to support fiscal restraint and living within our means instead of raising taxes.

Finally, it’s important to factor in this information:

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranks Minnesota 49th nationally in terms of business taxes. Only New Jersey and the District of Columbia fared worse in the ranking. The American Legislative Exchange Council ranks Minnesota 40th in its 2009 state economic outlook rankings. All of Minnesota’s neighboring states are ranked higher, including No. 5 South Dakota.

If people thought that the DFL majority would get a clue and stop proposing oppressive taxation policies, I wasn’t on the same page as those people. Thinking that the DFL won’t reflexively increase taxes is like believing that making sudden movements towards a cobra won’t get you bit:

That said, does anyone in their right mind think that Democrats won’t raise taxes? I’ll believe that the day I get photos of a leopard rearranging the spots on his fur. Believing that a Democrat won’t raise taxes instinctively is like believing that making sudden movements towards a cobra won’t get you bit. You can believe it all you want but reality is reality.

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