Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Democrats love saying that budgets are moral documents. Democrats then say that budgets reflect our priorities. If that’s true, which I think it kinda is, then Tina Smith’s budget priorities are disgusting. As Minnesota’s junior senator, she’s opposed all projects that would’ve helped the people of northern Minnesota. That isn’t opinion. It’s fact. She’s fought the Line 3 Pipeline. She’s opposed the PolyMet and Twin Metals mining projects.

Just those projects alone would’ve had the opportunity to transform the Iron Range from a region with sky-high poverty rates and a virtually nonexistent middle class into a prospering region of the state. The median household income in Virginia, MN is $36,327, compared with the statewide average of $65,699. The percentage of people living below the Federal Poverty Level in Minnesota is 10.5%, compared with 24% living below the FPL in Virginia, MN.

While visiting southern Minnesota, Sen. Smith said “I think at the end of the day, I’m just thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking about, which is prescription drug costs being too high, how can they get the kind of amazing workforce training that they need to get great jobs like they can get here at Red Wing Shoes, and that’s where I’m going to stay focused as long as I can.”

If Smith was honest, which she isn’t, she’d admit that she’s thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking about as long as they aren’t living in rural Minnesota. That isn’t just true now that she’s a US senator. It was true in her time as Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor. It was true when she was Gov. Dayton’s chief of staff.

Writing off a huge geographical part of the state, including the part that feeds the rest of the state, is disgusting. Still, that’s what Tina Smith is doing. That’s been a staple of her political life for years.

If Smith won’t pay attention to rural Minnesota, she should get fired next November. Tina Smith isn’t about doing the right thing for the entire state. Tina Smith and the DFL is only interested in doing what’s best for the metro DFL. That’s why the DFL has lost the farm vote and the laborer vote. When the Metro DFL unanimously opposes the Line 3 Pipeline, which provides the vast majority of jet fuel for Minneapolis International Airport, they’re saying that serving their special interest masters is more important than doing right by the biggest airport in Minnesota.

How foolish is that? Does that like the decision that a person who is “just thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking?” I’m betting that a significant majority of Minnesotans would disagree with Tina Smith and the Democrats on that issue.

It’s time to fire the DFL, Tina Smith included. The DFL’s priorities, like Tina Smith’s priorities, increasingly aren’t Minnesota’s priorities.

It’s shameful to read an article like this one, then think that it’s called a news article. It reads more like a press release from the Central Minnesota Transportation Authority, the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce or from Dave Kleis’s office.

The article started by saying “The first Northstar commuter train left Big Lake 10 minutes before dawn on Tuesday. St. Cloud commuters who started downtown on the Link bus left at 3:50 a.m. to catch that train. They arrived in Minneapolis before 6 a.m. I took the last Link and the last train on Tuesday morning, and it still felt early. My trip from bus, to train, to light rail, to the Minnesota Capitol in downtown St. Paul took nearly three hours, but it was easy, prompt and clean.

“For a few moments I felt like a traveler in Europe, looking over farm fields and forests from the top deck of a train. I’ve driven between St. Cloud and the Cities along Minnesota Highway 10 hundreds of times. This was more relaxing. After I arrived at the Capitol — I am the government reporter, after all — I wound up walking a few miles for coffee and a meeting off site. My feet got sore.”

It’s good that Ms. Hertel mentioned that she’s the SC Times’ government reporter. If not for that mention, I might’ve thought that she was the PR director for the Chamber of Commerce.

Later in the article, Ms. Hertel wrote this:

Wolgamott commuted to the Capitol on Northstar a couple times this year as he was pushing his colleagues to fund research into a route expansion. He preferred the train to “sitting in traffic, inching down the interstate,” Wolgamott said Tuesday. He brought his daughter Lily on one trip and they met conductor Vincent Roberts, he said. “She thought it was pretty cool to meet the conductor.”

That’s nice. That doesn’t tell the Times’ readers why this is a vital project. It’s just a cute story. On the other hand, this is important information that’s buried deep in the article:

Relph wants to get a sense of who would benefit from the extended route, so participating communities know how much to pitch in to the cost, which won’t be covered solely by ticket sales, he said. “This will be subsidized.”

The article doesn’t say how big the subsidy will be. It just says that there will be a subsidy. Then there’s this:

The cost of a route extension is not clear. A 2017 Legislative fiscal note estimated capital costs around $37 million. As lawmakers consider expansion of Northstar, $4 million is already allocated for facility improvements in Big Lake to maintain the existing fleet for 20 more years.

The more I learn about this project, the more it sounds like a total boondoggle.

There’s an old saying about boats. It says “A boat is a hole in the water surrounded by wood into which one pours money.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? There’s another saying that dovetails with the first saying. It says “the 2 best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.”

With Northstar, unfortunately, there won’t be a day we sell it. The subsidies will never end. They’ll only get more expensive. The replacement costs for the train will be forever. Like the subsidies, those costs will only go up.

Just for comparison, there are more cars that use I-94 in a single day than there are riders on Northstar in a year. What’s more, I-94 pays for itself. Plus, it’s capable of transporting goods to markets. Northstar can’t do that if its life depended on it. At best, Northstar is a niche produce. At worst, which I suspect is likely, it’s a boondoggle.

This article highlights how Dan Wolgamott, Tama Theis and Jerry Relph are totally owned by Theresa Bohnen and the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Last Friday, Wolgamott insisted on this funding, saying that it would create jobs. (That’s what the DFL always says about pork-barrel projects. It’s always hogwash.)

Rep. Nick Zerwas, who represents Big Lake, told the legislature that the average ticket gets subsidized $54. That’s an average subsidy of $14,000 per year per ticket. That’s money that’s wasted that could’ve been used to lower taxes and prevent foolish spending. Any person voting for this foolishness should be primaried and run out of politics.

Further, getting the Chamber’s endorsement should be seen as a negative. They’re moderates at best. They’re also crony capitalists. I can’t remember the last time they fought for pro-growth capitalist policies.

This should frighten people:

Wolgamott says he will be enthusiastically voting for the transportation budget, and will continue to be a tireless advocate to bring Northstar to St. Cloud. Other things included in the transportation bill include an additional $275 million over the current budget for statewide road construction, delivery, and maintenance.

How could this be? Gov. Walz didn’t get his outrageous gas tax increase. We were told that we needed that tax increase to fix roads and bridges. St. Cloud voters better remember that Rep. Wolgamott voted for all of Gov. Walz’s and the DFL’s tax increases.

Saying that the DFL won’t use dirty tricks to win this year’s budget negotiations is like saying that a Doberman won’t attack a man holding a steak if he’s hungry. Of course, the DFL will resort to their oversized bag of dirty tricks. Actually, this statement is kinda mild compared to some of the BS that Chairman Martin has thrown out in the past:

Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement in response to the latest budgetary stunt pulled by Minnesota Senate Republicans:

Senate Republicans just made reaching a budget agreement much harder. When Senate Republicans passed their entire wish list as an “insurance measure” in case negotiations fail, they gave themselves every incentive to sabotage those negotiations. This is a political stunt, not serious governing. “Minnesotans overwhelmingly voted for DFLers last November. It’s time for Republicans to accept that, drop their gimmicks, and work with DFLers for the good of Minnesotans everywhere.”

Minnesotans didn’t vote overwhelmingly to raise taxes by $12,000,000,000 over the next 4 years. Show me the debate or campaign appearance when Gov. Walz or DFL candidate pledged to raise taxes by $12,000,000,000. Show me the debate or campaign stop where Gov. Walz or DFL legislative candidate pledged to raise the gas tax by 70%.

The DFL won’t produce that video because it doesn’t exist. Period. Further, Gov. Walz and the DFL seem intent on raising taxes at a time when President Trump’s economic policies are producing record revenues across the nation, including Minnesota. Check out this chart:

That’s a chart that the DFL doesn’t want anyone to see. That’s because it shows how much money the DFL has to work with for crafting a new budget. Right now, this year’s budget surplus was $1,052,000,000. Since then, Minnesota took in $489,000,000 more dollars in April than was forecast. In fact, the year-to-date revenue total is $571,000,000 ahead of forecast. Who knows how much next November’s forecast will change for the positive? I’m betting it’ll change significantly.

If that’s the case, why is the DFL still insisting on raising people’s taxes by $12,000,000,000? That’s economic foolishness. But that isn’t the end to the DFL’s foolishness. According the Gov. Walz’s Department of Revenue, Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund is the biggest it’s been in history at $2,523,000,000.

According to Kurt Daudt, “the DFL could raise spending by 7.3% this biennium without raising taxes.” Apparently, the dishonest DFL thinks that raising spending by 7% isn’t an adequate ‘investment’ in the DFL government’s special interests.

For instance, the DFL insists that Republicans’ Transportation budget will:

  1. underfund road repair
  2. underfund infrastructure in Greater Minnesota
  3. no aid for local governments
  4. no drivers licenses for all..

I didn’t realize that supplying drivers licenses for all illegal immigrants was a high priority for Minnesota taxpayers. Further, I didn’t think that a 7.3% increase in road and bridge repair equals underfunding road and bridge repairs. I didn’t know that raising spending overall by 7.3% was hurting so many people.

Frankly, I don’t think the Republicans’ budget will hurt Minnesotans. Rather, I think the DFL is that far out of touch with Minnesota. Further, I think that 2018 was the aberration, not the truth. I suspect that 2020 will show a significant re-shifting back to what we had prior to 2018.

If the DFL legislature, from both the House and Senate, want to run on raising taxes by $12,000,000,000 at a time when there’s a huge surplus and revenues streaming in well ahead of forecast, God bless them for gift-wrapping huge GOP gains in the House and Senate.

We’re finally in the last part of the Legislature’s regular session. Apparently, we’re steaming towards the biennial stalemate otherwise known as the budget special session. Unlike other years, this isn’t just about budget numbers. This time, it’s about the direction of the state of Minnesota, both economically and politically. It’s about whether Minnesotans side with the DFL and financial unsustainability or with the MNGOP and financial stability.

The DFL, led by Gov. Walz, has picked historic tax increases (again) and unsustainable spending. If Walz and the DFL get their way, the state will spend $83,000,000,000 for all revenues spending this biennium, with $51,000,000,000 in general revenue spending. Special thanks go to Harold Hamilton and the Minnesota Watchdog for highlighting the fact that “As recently as 2001, the state spent $37 billion in that biennium. This biennium will see all funds spending of $83 billion.”

That’s far beyond ridiculous. That’s irresponsible in the extreme on the part of the DFL. Mr. Hamilton highlights this important fact:

Capital is Mobile – And it Will Flee.
When taxes are too high, taxpayers will flee to lower taxed jurisdictions. This is especially true for higher net worth taxpayers, who generally have the resources and sophistication to engage in careful tax planning. High tax states are falling into a fiscal death spiral as they raise taxes to cover more and more spending while at the same time fewer and fewer taxpayers remain to shoulder the burden.

Isn’t it interesting that Gov. Walz’s Department of Revenue did their tax incident report, which showed that the lowest income people will get hit hardest by Gov. Walz’s and the DFL’s $12,000,000,000 tax increase over the next 4 years? That’s just starting the bad news. Hamilton continues:

Every reputable organization that analyzes tax burdens ranks Minnesota among the least tax-friendly states in the nation. With respect to overall tax burden, Minnesota is in the top 5 of every reputable ranking, including being the dubious distinction of #1 overall in Kiplinger’s rankings.

No matter the metric, Minnesota punishes its taxpayers. Kiplinger’s also ranked Minnesota as the least friendly state in the nation for retiree income. For example, it’s one of the few states in the nation to tax Social Security income. Add to that high estate taxes, and retirees have little reason to live here, other than the magnificent weather. The North Star state also has a nasty reputation for punitive taxes on the working poor through high regressive taxes.

Here’s the latest on negotiations:

Just before 7 p.m., the Democrats and Republicans met with the Governor. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half. Two major budget sticking points concern Gov. Walz’s proposed 20-cent gas tax and the already in place 2% medical provider tax, which sets aside money for low-income Minnesotans for health care.

Gov. Walz said they made a budget offer last Wednesday, even cutting $400 million in spending and revenue over the next two years, but he says Republicans won’t meet them in the middle. The Governor is confident a compromise will happen soon, but he says his patience is being tested.

“It doesn’t matter if there’s a big story in southern Minnesota telling us that our transportation’s at a tipping point and every single county commissioner and city manager and civil engineer was interviewed for it and said, ‘Yeah, we got to do something or this can be catastrophic,’ and yet we’re still hearing no,” Gov. Walz said. “So yeah, my frustration level is growing.”

First, there’s virtually no support for the gas tax increase. I mean, less than 20% of Minnesotans support a gas tax increase. Further, we learned this week that revenue collection for April was almost $500,000,000 over expectations, meaning we’d have a surplus for this biennium of over $1,500,000,000. If you add into that the fact that there’s over $2,500,000,000 in Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund, there’s really no reason for any tax increases.

It’s time for Gov. Walz and the DFL to fold their tent and return to Realityville. God only knows where they’re at right now. I’m betting the DFL is inhabiting another solar system.

Northstar Departing for Insanity
John W. Palmer, Ph.D.

Last Friday I waited three hours to have 3 minutes to address the Minnesota House of Representative’s Committee on Transportation Finance about the possible extension by rail the NorthStar Commuter Rail line. During my three hour wait, I heard many people express their opinions and desires to spend other peoples money on a project they want.

When my chance to speak came I focused on the economics of commuter rail (nowhere in the USA do the fares cover the cost of operation and the average public subsidy is 47% of operating costs). Then I reminded the committee of the widely known definition of insanity (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and again and expecting a different outcome).

A brief review using a case study approach covering the last 100 years of commuter rail in the USA helps explain why spending taxpayer dollars on an extension of the NorthStar Commuter Rail fits the definition of insanity. The interurban, early commuter rail, was of great importance to the eastern half of the United States from about 1890 to 1925. Interurbans provided passengers service between cities and towns. Interurbans were a cross between a tram and a conventional train. In 1915, there were 15,500 miles of interurban rail in the US. http://chicagocityofbigshoulders.blogspot.com/2013/05/electricinterurbans.html

My home town (Kenosha, WI) was served by one of these rail lines. The Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad (The North Shore Line) is representative of commuter rail’s history. The North Shore Line was one of the most successful interurban systems ever put together. The history of the company dates to the 1890s and in terms of the passenger traffic it carried during its peak years of operations was the second busiest interurban in history. Unfortunately, the company’s downfall was the plight of nearly all interurbans, the heavy reliance of passenger traffic could not sustain it forever and bankruptcy finally came after a long legal battle in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The North Shore once stretched from downtown Chicago to Milwaukee. Today only one segment, the Skokie Swift, remains in use for Chicago commuter service. Given the fact that the company operated high-speed service and was located in a highly populated region it weathered the 1920s downfall of the interurban and initially did fine after the Great Depression hit.

World War II brought back traffic level comparable to that of the great years of the 1920s. Total passenger traffic climbed from barely ten million revenue passengers in 1940 to almost twenty-eight million by 1945. By November of 1946 after nearly fourteen years of bankruptcy, the North Shore came back. But, trouble and crisis returned swiftly at the War’s end.

Passenger traffic dropped and kept on declining. In 1948, a prolonged strike lasting more than three months, shut down the system; only a better than 40 percent commuter fare increase enabled the company to meet the resultant wage increases and resume operations. In June, 1958, the North Shore asked for permission to abandon all operations. Five years later (1963) The North Shore ended service thus leaving only one passenger provider (the Chicago and Northwestern) serving Chicago’s north shore communities. http://www.tmer.org/Section/History/ Chicago_North_Shore_and_Milwaukee/index.html

Prior to 1970 most railroads providing commuter service to Chicago were financially stable due to the benefits of increased traffic during the war years, expansion of suburbia and modernization of their fleets. By 1970 costs were rising and revenues were declining and in1974 the Chicago Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was formed and commuter rail service became publicly funded and government operated. By 1983 after recurring financial difficulties RTA was reorganized shifting commuter rail to a subdivision called METRA.

Today the old Chicago and Northwestern commuter rail service along the north shore of Lake Michigan is operated by METRA. The similarities of METRA’s service from
Chicago to Kenosha, WI and the NorthStar are striking. METRA’s service to Kenosha covers 51 miles and the current rail based Northstar is 40 miles. Both services us main line rails of private railroads. The similarity ends when covering cost with fares is examined. Fares collected on METRA cover 55% of the cost of operation. Northstar’s fares covered only 20%. METRA’s service had about 1.8 million riders in 2017 compared to 737,000 on the Northstar service.

The difference in population density along the two routes probably accounts for the large difference in cost recovery since ridership and population density are highly correlated. The rail line from Kenosha to Chicago traverses some of the USA’s most densely populated corridors. The Northstar corridor has many miles of undeveloped land.

With commuter rail’s long history of decline that lead to unprofitability and now government subsidy to cover shortfalls in revenue and with clear evidence that ridership and fares are not going to cover the cost of operation, investing money in commuter rail clearly meets the definition of insanity. With the brief history of Northstar showing an inability to even come close to covering operating cost at the fare box, spending more money on the failing experiment with Minnesota commuter rail is crazy.

The DFL commissioners in charge of fixing MNLARS are really dancing on the head of a pin in their attempt to justify more money to fix MNLARS. Wait times have improved but they’re still unacceptable. Commissioners testifying this week said that “the workload for vehicle titles was at an all-time high at the beginning of 2018, taking the department about 90 days to turn around a title application. They say they are now able to get most titles issued in 40 days or less. As for driver’s licenses, they’re still working within a 120-day window.”

At this week’s hearing, the IT commissioner said “To say that it isn’t working is not correct. It does have problems but it is producing revenue for our state.” If that’s the commissioner’s definition of working, it isn’t a definition shared by people using MNLARS.

If the DFL thinks that MNLARS is working, the first question that needs to be asked is whether the people who’ve dealt with MNLARS are satisfied with MNLARS’ proficiency. I’m betting the vast majority of people would say no. In the people’s minds, the only metric that matters is whether MNLARS is quickly creates new drivers licenses with the smart chip and whether MNLARS quickly processes title transfers.

If the DFL can’t proficiently process drivers licenses and title transfers, then they should be fired ASAP. Further, if this problem isn’t fixed before the end of the budget session, then the DFL, including Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan and Speaker Hortman, should resign.

Check this out:

The system needs more money to bring on employees to fill holes in service, Dohman said. Part-time employees were brought on to help, but shortages still exist. It remains a question whether lawmakers will be willing to appropriate more funding to MNLARS, especially after footing the initial $93 million bill in 2017 and an additional $9 million in May.

In the private sector, this project would’ve been finished a year ago and under budget. In government, they’re over their originally-anticipated budget by $100,000,000 and off on the start-up date by 14 months. Why should I think that the DFL is capable of efficiently running government?

Anyone that thinks that government is efficient at delivering important services are either lying to themselves or lying to us. Predictably, neither the DFL nor the Dayton administration still hasn’t gotten MNLARS running.

Now, problems are being addressed, Minnesota IT Services Commissioner Johanna Clyborne told the MNLARS Steering Committee, but progress has been slow-moving.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Clyborne said.

MNLARS employees have received more than 32,000 applications for Real IDs this year and have mailed out just over a third, said Dawn Olson, Driver and Vehicle Services Director. Olson said she hopes the remainder will be mailed out by the first week in January.

I’m hoping to win the lottery before the new year starts, too. Based on past history, I’m betting there’s an equal chance of me winning that lottery and DVS getting the remainder out on time. And I’m not betting on winning the lottery in the next 3 weeks.

The commissioners admitted that it’s still taking more than 40 days to get drivers licenses out. Why doesn’t the state turn to a real IT company to fix the problem? At this point, the frustration level from the public is high. If the DFL doesn’t fix their MNLARS problem ASAP, there will be a political backlash. This project has already cost taxpayers $100,000,000.

Here’s something else worth considering: The DFL wanted Republicans to appropriate enough money to complete the project. Republicans refused, saying they wanted to have some control over the project. That’s why Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill and the DFL voted to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto. This MNLARS project is 100% around the DFL’s necks.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Ramona Dohman said MNLARS employees were stretched thin as they were forced to switch from one role to another to cover phones or emails or license and title applications. “Driver and Vehicle Services is able to triage to bring down turnaround times momentarily, but we just can’t get ahead,” Dohman said.

In other words, DPS and DVS is no closer to fixing the problem today than they were last spring. It’s indisputable that this is a leadership failure. The only thing that’s in question is how to fix this. That’s something Democrats are terrible at.

They’re great at proposing new things. Unfortunately, Democrats run into all kinds of problems in the implementation phase. Think back to MNsure and Healthcare.gov. Those were total failures, too.

It isn’t surprising that people don’t trust government. A quick check of the history of government, whether it’s local, state or federal, shows how inept government is. That’s why it’s essential to elect solutions-oriented people in 2020. That’s who President Trump is. That’s the opposite of what Gov. Dayton or soon-to-be-Speaker Pelosi are. Unfortunately, I suspect that Gov.-Elect Walz will be just as inept.

That’s why I’m not expecting MNLARS to get fixed anytime soon.

According to this article, MN.IT is almost out of the $10,000,000 appropriated in late March. I’d argue that Ms. Clyborne is spending money like a drunken sailor but I think drunken sailors have more restraint.

Clyborne has had the $10,000,000 for 82 days! How can you spend that much money in that short of time? Spending at that rate would cause MNLARS to spend almost $50,000,000 in a year. MNLARS is attempting to pass the blame. According to the article, “Minnesota IT Services and the Department of Public Safety updated state legislators this week in a required quarterly progress report on ongoing efforts to fix MNLARS gaps and defects. Agency officials noted some improvements since their initial report was delivered in late April. But they also highlighted the looming financial problem. Another ramp-down of the repair work is coming, Minnesota IT Service Commissioner Johanna Clyborne said in an interview. She’s just not sure when. ‘We’re going to do as much as we can with the funding that we have and we’re going to have to make some tough decisions,’ Clyborne said.”

This is what utter incompetence looks like:

Discussions continue this week with deputy registrars, auto dealers and other MNLARS users to rank the repairs and improvements they want in the system, Clyborne said. She said the timing of the ramp-down will become clearer once the list of priorities is set. “The question is whether I ramp down in August or whether I ramp down in October or somewhere in between,” she said.

That’s a 2+ month difference in “ramp-down” time estimates. If you’re spending money and that’s the best you can do in terms of pinpointing spending, then you should be fired immediately for incompetence.

Saying that Gov. Dayton failed deputy registrars is extreme understatement. Nonetheless, he’s already started blaming Republican politicians for his failures. Dave Orrick’s reporting lays things out nicely by saying “It’s all the result of the faulty launch of MNLARS, a new computer system launched over the summer to handle vehicle title and tab transactions. It was a mess and largely still is, say deputy registrars, as well as car dealers, insurance agents and untold numbers of regular folks who waited in long lines or ran up against any number of roadblocks in their attempts to transfer a title or some other previously routine transaction.”

Don Davis’s article highlighted how the DFL abandoned the registrars:

The Minnesota House has failed to override Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of funding to reimburse local offices who struggled with the state’s new driver registration system.

It’s just the second attempted override in Dayton’s tenure. With just 79 House members voting to override Dayton on Sunday, it fell short of the required 90-vote margin. Most Democrats voted against overriding Dayton’s veto.
Dayton struck down the bill Saturday, saying lawmakers should have paired it with funding to fix MNLARS. That money is in a separate bill passed by the Legislature. MNLARS was plagued by problems since its summer launch. GOP Rep. Dave Baker says lawmakers owe it to deputy registrars to reimburse them for their extra costs due to problems with the system.

DFL members who voted for the bill initially voted to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto. That means that they put Gov. Dayton’s vanity ahead of the registrar’s financial needs. Saying that Speaker Daudt was upset with Gov. Dayton is understatement. Watch Speaker Daudt’s body language during this press availability:

About 12:25 into the press availability, Speaker Daudt spoke to the registrars bill, saying “Well, the deputy registrar bill, we are extremely disappointed that the Governor vetoed that bill. Even in his veto letter, he said that “I support this money for the deputy registrars. Confusing. Again, he keeps saying ‘send me a bill — an individual bill all by itself — a standalone bill’ and he vetoes it anyway. In reality, this bill had 101 votes going out of the House. I think we’re going to find out tonight if Democrats stand behind making these deputy registrars whole for the losses that have been incurred by the disaster called MNLARS and I hope that Democrats will stand with Republicans tonight behind these deputy registrars instead of standing behind this governor who has literally gone back on his word to these people.”

In his own press availability, Gov. Dayton said that he’d only sign the deputy registrars’ bill if it included ‘the other $33,000,000’ needed to fix MNLARS. Republicans told him consistently that they weren’t willing to write him a blank check, then hope that his IT team would fix MNLARS over the summer. Writing this incompetent governor a blank check with the belief that he’d fix that system isn’t just insane. It’s stupid. Why trust a governor with Gov. Dayton’s legacy of mishaps and mistakes and who can’t be held accountable now that he’s officially a lame duck?

When some of these deputy registrars go out of business or lose their homes, I hope they remember who stood with them and who abandoned them. Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill but DFL legislators abandoned them. DFL legislators supported their governor rather than supporting their constituents.

I hope these deputy registrars and their families remember that the DFL preached that they’re for the little guy — until their governor needs their votes. When they walk into the voting booth, I hope they feel like this:

Then I hope they vote for the people who will support them when it matters. They’re known as Republicans.