Archive for the ‘Lobbyists’ Category

It’s clear that Gov. Dayton’s Tax-the-Rich promise is history:

Minnesota drivers would pay more at the pump and at the Department of Motor Vehicles under a plan formally rolled out by Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday, but he says the money would provide vitally needed improvements to roads, bridges and mass transit in Minnesota.

In 2010, Gov. Dayton harshly criticized Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner’s cigarette tax, saying that Minnesota needed a more progressive tax system. More importantly, where’s the proof that Minnesota’s transit system has a lengthy list of “vitally needed improvements”? I’ll stipulate that Minnesota’s transit lobbyists have a lengthy wish list of transit projects but I won’t stipulate that there’s a lengthy list of transit needs.

It’s indisputable that roads and bridges need fixing. It’s disputable that we need another DFL middle class tax increase to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. It’s indisputable fact that the DFL raised taxes and fees by $2.4 billion for the biennium that started on July 1, 2013. It’s indisputable that Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the transit lobbyist wing of the DFL want to raise taxes on the middle class by $1.7 billion for the biennium that starts on July 1, 2015.

That’s more than $4,000,000,000 in tax increases that the DFL wants to punish the middle class with in each biennium. The DFL’s thirst for increasing taxes is insatiable.

Think of it this way. Oil companies took advantage of the fracking boom, which led to a dramatic drop in gas prices. Gas is less than $2.00/gallon, compared with $3.50/gallon before the fracking boom. The free market giveth cheap oil prices. DFL politicians want to make gas more expensive.

In addition to DFL politicians like Gov. Dayton wanting to punish middle class car drivers with higher gas prices and higher taxes, these same DFL politicians want to force outstate Minnesotans to pay for a transit system they don’t want and will never use.

I don’t care about expanding Twin Cities transit options. They’re virtually invisible to me. I want the DFL to stop focusing on transit. I’d rather they focused on what’s important, namely fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. The top 3 priorities for Minnesota’s politicians should be a) fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges, b) fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges and c) fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges.

Gov. Dayton’s spin is nauseating:

“It takes some political courage” to approve tax increases, he said, which in this case would not only add a new gas tax but also but also raise vehicle license fees, charge $10 more for car registrations and increase a Twin Cities sales tax. He also pledges to find $600 million from the Minnesota Department of Transportation doing things more efficiently.

That’s stunning. When House Republicans offered their proposal, it included a call for greater efficiencies within MnDOT. At the time, Gov. Dayton insisted that the Republicans’ plans were “pure fantasy.” Now that he’s proposing greater efficiency within MnDOT, he’s dropped the mean-spirited accusations.

Imagine that.

Further, it doesn’t take political courage to raise taxes. If DFL is behind your name, raising taxes is virtually reflexive. It’s like you can raise taxes without blinking an eyelash. If you’re a Republican, raising taxes doesn’t require courage. It requires a brief bout of insanity.

Gov. Dayton’s latest middle class tax increase is his latest attempt to punish the middle class. Gov. Dayton and the DFL should be ashamed of themselves for inflicting this much punishment on the middle class.

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Move MN’s motivation is laid out beautifully on their agenda webpage:

In order to address the challenges in our current transportation system, new funding must:

  1. Be comprehensive to address, roads, bridges, transit, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
  2. Equitably balance the transportation needs of Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area.
  3. Be a long-term, sustainable funding solution that is gimmick-free and dedicated only to fixing transportation.

First, Move MN is part of the DFL. It has an arm’s length relationship from the DFL only because it was first put together by Darin Broton, a DFL activist/operative. This is red flag city:

We are calling on the Minnesota Legislature to pass a comprehensive transportation funding solution in 2015 that requires additional transparency and efficiency for current resources.

Anytime people talk about comprehensive anything, I break into a cold sweat. That’s because comprehensive plans automatically contain things from lobbyists’ wish lists that the public doesn’t care about.

Here’s a radical thought. Let’s focus totally on fixing roads and bridges and expanding highways. As a motorist, that’s all I care about. If the Twin Cities wants trolley cars and light rail corridors, that’s their problem.

Here’s another radical thought. If the Twin Cities or other cities want to build “bike and pedestrian infrastructure”, let them pay for it. I’m betting that building “bike and pedestrian infrastructure” isn’t a priority with people. Cities that want those things can propose tax increases to their citizens to pay for those things.

The we’re-in-this-together sales pitch doesn’t work with me. If Minneapolis wants to spend $500,000 on 10 artistic drinking fountains, that’s their right. It isn’t their right to have taxpayers across the state help pay for those drinking fountains.

Next, let’s stop using inflated numbers to make it look like there’s a funding crisis:

In 2012, the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee projected we needed $250 million a year to “maintain” our state roads and bridges. Today, Gov. Dayton says we need $400 million. In 2012, TFAC projected we needed $210 million a year to build out the Twin Cities transit system. Today, Gov. Dayton says we need $280 million.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a 50% increase in costs over 2 years. Actually, it’s a 47.8% increase but what’s 2.2% amongst friends, right?

Finally, let’s stop with the we-need-sustainable-funding-that’s-dedicated-only-to-fixing-transportation’ gimmick. Let’s start with this thought. Let’s fund only those things that are priorities. Fixing roads and bridges is a priority. Expanding highways is a priority. Building the Southwest Light Rail Transit project isn’t a priority. In fact, raising taxes to fund the building of the SWLRT is theft because it’s embroiled in a major dispute at the moment. The DFL can’t decide on the project’s path. Why should we pay for something that’s a total mess with no solution in sight?

Move MN’s motivation is clear. It’s just the DFL disguising itself while attempting to raise taxes to pay for things we don’t need. Here’s hoping Kurt Daudt and the House Republican majority continue telling the DFL’s lobbyists to take a hike…on their dime.

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The Minnesota legislature is less than a week in and Gov. Dayton is already picking a fight with Republicans. The next time he picks a fight, he should know what he’s talking about. After reading this article, it’s apparent he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to transportation or economics:

Gov. Mark Dayton and transportation funding advocates say Minnesota can raise billions of dollars by adding a new tax to gasoline sales. But that tax could bring in less money than projected if the price at the pump stays at current low levels.

“The number on the revenue side of it does deserve additional scrutiny given the present price of gasoline,” Dayton said Friday. “If it stays at $2.25 a gallon for the next couple years, that revenue is going to be less.”

Minnesota already applies a 28.7-cent tax to every gallon of gasoline sold, a tax that’s the same whether that gallon costs $2, $4 or somewhere in between. But Dayton wants to raise more revenue by also applying a 6.5 percent sales tax to fuel sales. That tax would bring in different money per gallon depending on the price of gasoline: $0.13 per gallon with $2 gas, $0.21 per gallon with $3.25 gas, and $0.26 with $4 gas.

Dayton and advocacy group Move MN say they can raise $5.8 billion over 10 years by applying this sales tax to gasoline and also increasing license tab fees car owners pay every year. But Dayton said Friday that $5.8 billion figure was based on the assumption of $3.25 gasoline. That means the transportation package would bring in less than $5.8 billion if gas remained below $3.25. It could also bring in more than that if gas goes above $3.25.

Theoretically, Gov. Dayton is right. Theoretically, revenues will be greatest when prices are higher. Unfortunately for Gov. Dayton and his special interest allies, revenues aren’t collected in the theoretical realm. They’re collected in reality.

High gas prices mean more tax revenue per gallon sold — but also fewer gallons sold. Low gas prices mean the opposite situation.

Speaker Kurt Daudt put it best:

“We’ve taken money from Minnesotans to pay for those basics, we’ve spent too much of it on extras, and now we’re going to go back to Minnesotans and ask them for more money for basics?” House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Wednesday.

The DFL is famous for spending lots of money on things we don’t need. That’s because the DFL is famous for paying off their special interest allies with the taxpayers’ money. That won’t cut it with this GOP majority.

Republicans and other critics have opposed Dayton’s proposal to raise taxes on gasoline, saying the state should reprioritize spending from mass transit to roads and bridges first.

Let’s be blunt about this. Minnesota is spending too much money on transit, trolley cars and light rail. Minnesota isn’t spending enough on roads and bridges. Further, I’m highly skeptical of the experts’ prediction that we’ll need between $2,000,000,000 and $6,000,000,000 to fix roads and bridges in the next decade.

I want a detailed list of all the bridges 30 years or older that need repair in the next decade. Then I want a list of trunk highways that are old that’ll need repair in the next decade. Further, each of those lists should be prioritized based on the amount of traffic that they’re currently experiencing and based on the projected amount of traffic they’ll experience based on population growth.

It isn’t good enough to say ‘this bridge is old. Let’s fix it.’ If traffic is light, then it isn’t as high of a priority as if it’s a high traffic bridge. Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the transportation lobbyists need to learn that taxpayers aren’t their political ATMs. They can’t subject taxpayers to one tax increase after another.

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This DFL ad attacks Jeff Johnson because the DFL doesn’t want parents to know that Gov. Dayton supports Education Minnesota more than he supports students:

Here’s the transcript from the DFL’s mean-spirited ad:

I think a lot of Minnesotans don’t know what Jeff Johnson stands for. It seems like schools are not Jeff Johnson’s priority. Jeff Johnson cut early childhood spending. That really bothers me. Any cuts to that would be devastating for our family. Our kids are our future so how could you do that? I would hate to see Minnesota take a step backwards in education. Students in the state of Minnesota deserve far better than that. I trust Mark Dayton. We think Gov. Dayton is the right choice for moving Minnesota’s schools forward.

That’s what I’d expect from the DFL and Education Minnesota. Everything in the DFL’s ad is about spending. There’s nothing in it about teacher quality.

That’s because Education Minnesota won’t let the DFL talk about teacher quality. In 2011, the Republican legislature passed a bill that required high school math teachers to pass a basic skills test. A year later, 4 high school math teachers for the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district got waivers from the Dayton administration’s Education Department because they couldn’t pass the basic skills test.

The DFL and Education Minnesota have always been about spending. They’ve never focused on teacher quality. There’s proof of that in what the all-DFL government (House, Senate and Gov. Dayton) did the minute they took control. At the request of Education Minnesota, the all-DFL government repealed the Dayton-signed basic skills test for teachers. That required Gov. Dayton’s signature.

That’s proof that Gov. Dayton was for teacher accountability before Education Minnesota told him he was against teacher accountability. This isn’t news. I first highlighted Education Minnesota’s domination of the DFL in this post from 2010.

The DFL’s ad could’ve been written by Education Minnesota. The DFL is the puppet. EdMinn is the DFL’s puppetmaster. That the DFL would regurgitate EdMinn’s chanting points is both predictable and disgusting.

Finally, the DFL’s ad is BS. Jeff Johnson didn’t cut K-12 spending. He just didn’t increase it as much as EdMinn wanted it increased. Jeff Johnson is committed to shrinking Minnesota’s achievement gap, something that Gov. Dayton and EdMinn have utterly failed at.

Parents want improving results. EdMinn wants more money. Thus far, EdMinn has gotten their money. Thanks to EdMinn’s efforts to stop teacher accountability, parents haven’t seen improving results.

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Apparently, Charlie Weaver’s principles are negotiable. His statements, which I wrote about here, indicate that Mr. Weaver isn’t prone to taking principled stands on important issues. If he’s going to continue undercutting Jeff Johnson’s campaign, he should announce that he’s stabbing Jeff Johnson’s campaign in the back.

When Weaver said that “the economy is pretty strong” and that Gov. Dayton’s GOP opponent “will be forced to find other issues as contrasts with Democrats”, Weaver ignored the truth about the Dayton/DFL economy. The question is why Weaver didn’t pay attention to this year’s jobs reports.

The truth is that the Dayton/DFL economy stinks. This year, Minnesota’s economy has created 2,900 jobs in the first 7 months. That’s pathetic. Weaver’s ‘pretty strong economy’ statement was made before the July jobs report showed that Minnesota’s economy shed 4,200 jobs in July.

That’s anything but strong.

The disgusting part is that, with Weaver’s help, Gov. Dayton and the DFL pundits that litter the Twin Cities political landscape will be able to quote Weaver as ‘proof’ that the Dayton/DFL economyy is working.

The truth, though, is that the Dayton/DFL economy stinks. In addition to Minnesota’s economy losing 4,200 jobs in July, revenues for July fell 6.6% short of projections. That’s proof that the Dayton/DFL economy is a disaster.

In the last 12 months, Minnesota’s economy created 68,344 jobs. What’s sad is that 21,523 of those jobs are government jobs. Almost one-third of the jobs created by the Dayton/DFL economy are government jobs.

Does Mr. Weaver think that creating tens of thousands of goverment jobs in 2013 and creating dozens of private sector jobs in 2014 is proof of a “pretty strong economy”? Or is he just peddling a pile of manure about the Dayton/DFL economy because his job requires it?

It’s time for Charlie Weaver to exit stage left and collect his thirty pieces of silver from the Dayton campaign. It’s only appropriate that Weaver exit to the left since he’s selling Republicans out for personal gain.

Here’s hoping that contributors to Republican campaigns ostracize Weaver for his dishonesty and stabbing Jeff Johnson’s campaign in the back. Better yet, Weaver should host a major fundraiser that raises several hundred thousand dollars for Jeff’s campaign.

It won’t make Weaver more trustworthy. It’ll just make up a little bit for his stabbing the GOP in the back.

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It’s amazing that Charlie Weaver has any Republican friends left. I wouldn’t show my face for a month if I’d said this BS about the Dayton/DFL economy:

“The economy is pretty strong,” said Charlie Weaver, a veteran of state Republican politics and executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, which represents the state’s largest corporations. “We have a low unemployment rate — one of the lowest in the country,” he said.

A former top aide under Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Weaver predicted that Republican candidates, particularly Dayton’s challenger, will be forced to find other issues as contrasts with Democrats.

Far too often, this is what happens when a Republican gives up his principles to become a lobbyist. What happened here is Charlie Weaver, lobbyist, said something Charlie Weaver, conservative, wouldn’t get caught dead saying.

Weaver’s statement is a combination of fiction and professional self-preservation. It’s impossible for an honest person to look at the July jobs report and conclude the economy is strong. July’s jobs report just confirmed the fact that Minnesota’s economy sucks:

Minnesota lost 4,200 jobs in July, disappointing news in a year so far of tepid job growth for the state. The unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The U.S. unemployment rate in July was 6.2 percent.

June’s job gains were also revised downward by 3,600, driving home the point that over the first seven months of the year Minnesota’s job market has been stuck in neutral. After adding 41,900 positions from August to December 2013, the state has added only 2,900 jobs since January. Some 133,000 Minnesotans are officially unemployed, and thousands more are working part-time jobs when they would rather work full time.

Isn’t Mr. Weaver troubled by the fact that one-third of the jobs created in the past year are government jobs? If he isn’t, why isn’t he? Certainly, Mr. Weaver is smart enough to know that government confiscates people’s money. Certainly, he knows that government doesn’t create wealth.

Over the last 6 months, revenues have fallen significantly short of projections. In July, it fell short of projections by 6.6%. This constitutes a trend. That isn’t a one-time blip.

What’s particularly disgusting is that Charlie Weaver is hurting Jeff Johnson’s campaign whenever he lies about the strength of the Dayton/DFL economy. Months of terrible jobs reports, combined with revenues consistently falling short of projections, aren’t the statistics that you get from a booming economy. Yes, 2,900 jobs created in 7 months is pathetic. By comparison, St. Cloud created 2,894 jobs in 12 months.

Over the past 12 months, 68,344 jobs were created in Minnesota. A total of 46,339 jobs were created in Minneapolis-St. Paul, followed by St. Cloud with 2,894, Mankato with 1,236, Duluth-Superior with 1,145 jobs followed by Rochester with 1,054 jobs. That’s a total of 52,668 jobs created in those cities.

Noticeably missing from the list are Moorhead, Brainerd, Monticello, Hutchinson, Willmar and any Iron Range cities. Mr. Weaver, isn’t it important to creat jobs in those cities, too? Apparently, Gov. Dayton doesn’t think so. Apparently, Gov. Dayton and Mr. Weaver think it isn’t important to create jobs in northern Minnesota cities not named Duluth.

I’m pretty certain that people in Forest Lake, Grand Rapids, Alexandria, Pierz and Little Falls think it’s important to create jobs in their towns. I’m pretty certain that they’d love seeing new businesses starting up in their cities.

Here’s the dirty little secret Charlie Weaver doesn’t want anyone to know. He isn’t looking out for Main Street Minnesota. He’s looking out for big corporations. This isn’t a criticism of big corporations. I appreciate any company that employs lots of people. It’s merely highlighting the fact that big corporations have the resources to comply with Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s regulations and tax code.

Small businesses, the kind found throughout the 6th, 7th and 8th districts, find it difficult to create wealth and expand their companies. If you only care about the Twin Cities, which Mr. Weaver apparently does, then Minnesota’s economy might look ok.

If you care about statewide prosperity, though, which Jeff Johnson does, then Minnesota’s economy isn’t doing well.

If Mr. Weaver wants to peddle Gov. Dayton’s BS that Minnesota’s economy is “pretty strong”, then he’d better expect me to highlight the truth about Minnesota’s job creation statistics. He’d better be prepared to be called out for his BS.

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This video shows how the DFL is attempting to distract attention from the pothole crisis by claiming the problem is part of a bigger spending problem:

Here’s the stunt that the DFL is playing:

“It’s a result of our road system in this state is more than 50 years old. More than half of our roads are crumbling as we drive over them every day,” said Darin Broton, campaign manager for Move MN. “It’s not until we get a broken axle or bent rim that people understand we have a bigger transportation problem we need to solve.”

The problem is that the DFL didn’t deliver on its promise of fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges after they increased transportation taxes by $6.6 billion in 2008. They complained about Minnesota’s roads and bridges, then raised the gas tax by a nickel a gallon but raised taxes for transit by huge amounts.

The day after the tax increase went into effect, I predicted that the DFL would return soon to raise taxes again. Here’s what Move MN identifies as their mission:

The Move MN coalition consists of a large, diverse group of advocates that knows that funding for transportation is critical to growing jobs, economic competitiveness and quality of life, and it directly impacts the missions of the diverse organizations and people we each serve. We believe it is crucial that the Minnesota Legislature pass a comprehensive transportation funding package in 2014 that requires additional transparency and efficiency for current resources and provides long-term sustainable funding for roads, bridges, transit, and bike and walk connections.

Here’s my simple response to that BS: First, prioritize fixing potholes in the short-term. They’re a crisis that needs fixing ASAP. People are getting injured because roads are in such disrepair. Second, it’s time to stop directing existing taxes to transit. Fixing Minnesota’s bridges is infinitely more important than spending money on another ribbon-cutting ceremony for another light rail project.

Third, Minnesota needs a comprehensive transportation strategy that sets new priorities based on a comprehensive plan. Putting a plan together that deals with issues on an ad hoc basis isn’t what’s needed. In fact, that’s a major part of the problem.

This comprehensive transportation strategy must prioritize which projects are worthy of funding. That means telling the choo-choo activists that their priorities are lowest on the list. That means telling MnDOT that repairing our bridges is their highest priority starting ASAP. It means putting a higher priority on adding lanes to highways than on extending Northstar from Big Lake to St. Cloud.

This comprehensive transportation strategy must also include making better use of Minnesota’s riverways and airports, too. In short, it must be a strategy that’s driven by people’s needs, not lobbyists’ wish lists. It’s time that people’s needs are met. That’s infinitely more important than fulfilling transportation lobbyists’ wish lists.

Until the DFL gets serious about doing the people’s business with transportation, they should be removed from that part of the decisionmaking process.

The problem isn’t that Minnesotans aren’t taxed enough for transportation. It’s that Minnesotans are getting ripped off because the DFL’s priorities are totally screwed up.

The key to getting Minnesota’s transportation priorities right is figuring out what will help grow Minnesota commerce through roads, bridges, waterways and airports. Transportation strategies that focus primarily on social engineering are doomed to failure.

It’s vitally important to get roads and bridges right because that’s the heart of Minnesota’s transportation system. That won’t happen with the DFL in charge. The proof of that is in Minnesota’s potholes.

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The last time Ken Martin and Keith Downey faced off on Almanac, Martin said Republicans didn’t offer solutions to Minnesota’s problems. At the time, I said that Martin was lying through his teeth because, as a legislator, Keith Downey was a one-man ideas factory according to his colleagues.

Since then, the Republican Party of Minnesota, aka the RPM, has started accepting solutions to Minnesota’s problems through their solutions website. One of the biggest problems facing Minnesotans is the deteriorating road conditions in the state. On the GOP’s solutions website, the GOP turned to Rep. Mike Beard to talk about transportation issues. Here’s what Rep. Beard said:

“Transportation is the foundation of commerce in our state,” said State Representative Michael Beard (R-Shakopee). Beard served as the chair of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee during the 2011-2012 biennium.

“Driving to work each morning should not be like driving through a war zone of potholes,” said Beard. “We should not have to be concerned that our bridges are unstable. Our outstate roads should not be allowed to fall into disrepair and should be sufficient for transporting harvest and livestock.”

If you talked with the DFL legislators who’ve served with Rep. Beard over the last 12 years, the most likely statement they’d make is that he’s one of the most thoughtful legislators that they’ve ever worked with. They’d also likely say that he isn’t prone to making incendiary comments. If Rep. Beard talks about “driving through a war zone of potholes”, rest assured that those statements aren’t hyperbole.

Rep. Beard’s statement also brings up another point that hasn’t gotten highlighted enough. Specifically, we haven’t paid enough attention to the state of disrepair of our bridges. This session, the House and Senate Transportation committees devoted lots of attention to the Southwest Light Rail project. The bonding bill calls for $750,000,000 worth of projects but only $25,000,000 worth of “local road improvements.”

Here’s the GOP solution to this depressing situation:

While Democrats call for the usual tax increases to satisfy metro-area public transit and other special interest groups, Republicans will focus on prioritizing road and bridge projects in both the budget and in bonding. They will seek to make the Department of Transportation more efficient, reduce overlapping state and local functions and direct money toward the top values of safety, maintenance and congestion-relief on Minnesota roads.

The Southwest Light Rail project is a priority with transportation lobbyists and environmental activists. It isn’t a priority with Minnesotans using their cities’ streets, the interstate system and Minnesota’s trunk highways. Those people want their potholes filled so they don’t hit a pothole and snap an axel or get a concussion when their airbag deploys.

When Steve Murphy and the DFL raised the gas tax in 2008, Minnesotans expected that money to be used to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. It’s apparent that that didn’t happened. Now that there’s a DFL governor, a DFL legislature and pothole problems aplenty, Minnesotans expect these problems to get fixed.

Debating whether they should spend $1,700,000,000 on the Southwest Light Rail project or spending $1,200,000,000 for bonding projects might satisfy the lobbyists but it won’t satisfy the people using Minnesota’s potholed roads and bridges.

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Last week, the DFL Senate’s spin about passing ‘tax relief’ was that the DFL added money to Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund while providing tax relief to the people:

Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

This puts the DFL in a difficult position. When they talk about a bonding bill, their predictable mantra is that spending x amount of dollars in a bonding bill creates thousands of jobs. When they’re talking about tax relief, though, taking $800,000,000 out of the private sector’s hands, the DFL’s argument essentially is that this doesn’t hurt job creation.

Having some money in the Rainy Day Fund is appropriate but having almost $1,000,000,000 in the Rainy Day Fund is criminal because it’s taking money that should be used for creating jobs and putting it away to maintain government spending longer than government spending should be maintained.

The other thing that the DFL has to be exposed on is the myth that the surplus is proof that Minnesota’s economy is booming. That’s BS. The government is wealthier than it was with the GOP legislature but that’s it. The surplus is proof that the DFL’s tax increase is stealing too much money from families and small businesses.

The DFL is ok with that because the DFL has sworn its allegiance to growing government to the point that it’s intruding in people’s lives too much. The DFL objected to PolyMet until recently. They’re still objecting to the silica sand mining in southern Minnesota. They’re objecting while chanting ‘the environment’. Nowhere in their chanting points is there a mention about families needing the high-paying jobs that silica sand mining and PolyMet would provide.

The DFL’s Rainy Day rip-off is proof that the DFL’s highest priorities are feeding government while appeasing militant environmentalists. Those aren’t the average Minnesotan’s priorities. They want policies that create jobs that don’t require raising taxes to create. At this point, the DFL doesn’t champion policies like that.

The DFL’s policies promote intrusive, expensive and inefficient government. How many people know that taxpayers’ money is being used to lobby the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money? The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities spent $840,000 lobbying for the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money. While they’re the biggest in that classification, they weren’t the only organization doing that. The League of Minnesota Cities spent $628,945 lobbying the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money on cities.

The definition of corruption is using the taxpayers’ money to convince legislators that they aren’t spending enough of the taxpayers’ money. In that scenario, the taxpayers are getting shafted twice. How isn’t that corrupt?

That’s before talking about the millions of dollars being paid to legislative liaisons. Legislative liaisons is government-speak for taxpayer-funded lobbyists. State agencies are littered with legislative liaisons. If that position was eliminated from state government, government spending would drop dramatically.

It isn’t that legislative liaisons get expensive salaries. It’s that they convince DFL legislators to spend tons of money they don’t need to spend.

If Minnesotans want a real economy, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesotans want money spent efficiently, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesota families want government dictating to them what they can and can’t do, then the DFL is the right choice. If Minnesota families want government ripping them off and putting productive money into a dead fund, then the DFL is the only choice.

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If people are interested in facts, this article should suffice in putting to rest the notion of expanding the Northstar Rail:

Last month, in an effort to tamp down customers’ anger, Metro Transit launched its new alert service that allows passengers to get notices by e-mail or text message. Callie Bird is one of 975 people who have signed up for the free service, a small number of users on a line that averages 2,783 boardings each weekday.

I’d love hearing a transportation lobbyist explain how spending millions of dollars on something that’s used by 2,800 people per week is spending money wisely. Simply put, there’s no justification for expanding it.

What’s worse is that it isn’t running on time lately. That’s why they’ve created this “alert service.”

Riders have had lots to say about the frequent delays that have occurred on the Northstar Commuter line over the past two months. Their latest beef is about the agency’s electronic alerts, which they say are as unreliable as the trains.

Imagine that. The government takes tens of millions of dollars to build a train that only activists want. Then they build the train that nobody except activists want. Then the people who didn’t want the train in the first place don’t use the train they didn’t want.

That’s terrible. Unfortunately, that’s just part of this story of ineptitude. Now the train nobody except activists wanted isn’t running on time with any regularity.

How much ineptitude do people have to experience before people tell the politicians to stop spending their money on things we don’t need or want? Apparently, it’s too much to ask the government to be competent with the things it runs:

“After standing at a train station for 10 to 15 minutes, alerts may arrive. They may arrive 20 to 30 minutes into the ‘situation,’ or they do not alert at all,” she said. “I like that Metro has the text alert system and I am receiving such messages. However, the alerts are usually so much after the fact that I find myself shaking my head and feeling somewhat embarrassed for Metro Transit’s late alerts.”

At this rate, Northstar’s reputation will soon be in the same range as the IRS or NSA.

Hopefully, Minnesotans will step forward and tell the activists and politicians that Northstar isn’t transportation, that only roads and bridges and urban transit systems constitute transportation systems. Northstar and other similar projects are just politicians’ boondoggles aimed at securing campaign contributions from lobbyists.

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