Archive for the ‘Lobbyists’ Category
Wherever Vin Weber goes, the kiss of death comes with him. This Washington Post article says that Weber has signed onto Jeb Bush’s “all-but-certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination”:
Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and top policy adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, is assisting Jeb Bush’s all-but-certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination, adding yet another high-powered strategist to the former Florida governor’s political circle. Weber confirmed his move Tuesday, as did a Bush aide, after several GOP officials said Weber was working behind the scenes to win Bush support among influential donors and conservative intellectuals.
“My message to conservatives has been: this is the conservative Bush,” Weber said in a phone interview. “I remember when his brother first ran, and he was a fine president. But at the time, most conservatives around the country said it’s too bad because Jeb is the real conservative in the family. I’m reminding my friends about those conversations.”
Jeb might be the most conservative of the Bushes. As Florida’s governor, he implemented some genuinely conservative reforms. Since going national, however, Jeb’s taken on a leftist tilt, starting with his support for Common Core, which most movement conservatives consider the ultimate deal-breaker for GOP presidential candidates.
In recent weeks, Weber said he and other Bush allies have been informally meeting with skeptical leaders on the right to talk through Bush’s gubernatorial record, touting his work on “educational choice and taxes and spending.” Their goal is to scrape away the notion that Bush is a political moderate, a notion that has become a barnacle on his potential candidacy.
Vin Weber knows that Jeb Bush’s chances at being the nominee shrink rapidly if he’s tagged with the moderate label. Bush’s stand on Common Core is close to a deal-breaker. Bush’s position on immigration isn’t noticeably different from John McCain’s or Lindsey ‘Gramnesty’ Graham’s position on amnesty. Bush’s statement at a CEO conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal that Republicans have to be willing to “lose the primary to win the general election” turned lots of people off. John McCain threw conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, under the bus in 2008. His defeat was the worst defeat a Republican presidential nominee has suffered since Barry Goldwater’s defeat at the hands of LBJ in 1964.
Jeb Bush’s disastrous statement won’t help his cause. Frankly, it’s a miscalculation. You can’t tell conservatives they’re wrong, then expect them to support you in the general election.
During Romney’s campaigns for the White House in 2008 and 2012, Weber served as a senior policy hand, organizing meetings with think-tank specialists on foreign and domestic issues, and keeping tabs on conservative concerns.
There’s the proof that Weber is the GOP’s kiss of death, the GOP’s equivalent of Bob Shrum or Bob Beckel.
Terry Stone’s LTE highlights what’s wrong with how transportation issues get settled. Here’s what happens that inevitably leads to chaos:
Currently, state transportation planning is done by various counties, cities and the Met Council. Then the Metropolitan Airport Commission, the Port of Duluth, the Port of St. Paul and a slug of lobbying groups chime in. Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota have their own ideas and the Legislature has theirs. The federal government uses money to push its own agenda. Intelligent planning for efficient pipelines and safe, efficient railroad infrastructure are largely left to the private sector.
When the transportation suggestions from this gaggle of transportation planners hit the Legislature, the lobbyists descend upon St. Paul like a hungry horde of locusts. Frequently, the special interests with the most effective lobbyists end up with the transportation projects they want.
What could possibly go wrong with so many people wanting their slice of the transportation pie? This isn’t a failure of too few dollars to meet Minnesota’s transportation needs. It’s that there’s too few dollars to fund the special interests’ wish list items and too little time spent prioritizing Minnesota’s transportation needs.
Why isn’t the DFL putting the highest priority on fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges? Why is the DFL paying any attention to increasing transit funding? What proof do we have that transit ridership is increasing dramatically?
The DFL had complete control of Minnesota government in 2013 and 2014. They could have created a state planning agency to develop a plan for building and funding transportation intelligently. Instead, they chose the politically expedient status quo. Now we are being herded and asked to believe that only massive tax increases can allow Minnesota to perform a core function of government; building and maintaining roads and bridges.
I’ll just add that we’re being railroaded into thinking that our transportation needs have dramatically increased since the DFL held total control of government in 2013-2014. In 2008, Steve Murphy pushed through a massive tax increase that was supposed to solve this problem. At the time, Sen. Murphy bragged that he wasn’t “hiding anything. There’s lots of taxes” in his bill.
At the time, the DFL, with Sen. Murphy leading the way, told Minnesota that our roads and bridges were crumbling and only a massive tax increase could fix the situation. It’s 6 years later and the DFL is telling us that our roads and bridges are crumbling and only a massive tax increase will fill the potholes and fix Minnesota’s bridges.
When I went back to my original post about Sen. Murphy’s quote, I noticed something that I’d forgotten. Sen. Murphy wanted the gas tax increased, then indexing the gas tax with the CPI. Before another step is taken, the first thing that needs to happen is determine what Minnesota’s transportation needs are. I’m totally disinterested in what’s included in the lobbyists’ wish lists. I’m just interested Minnesota’s roads being in good repair and Minnesota’s bridges being safe.
This is great advice:
It’s time to think twice before buying into this transportation panic scenario. The Minnesota House has a thoughtful, calm plan to fund roads and bridges without raising a dime of new taxes. The plan deserves our careful consideration.
The DFL’s manufactured transportation crisis should be ignored. The DFL had the opportunity to fix Minnesota’s highways and bridges last spring when they controlled all of the levers of political power. They didn’t get it done. In fact, they adjourned several days before the constitutional deadline.
It’s time to focus solely on roads and bridges. Everything else is a nicety.
A ton of research highlighted Charting the Future’s deceptions. CtF isn’t Chancellor Rosenstone’s vision for MnSCU. It’s a collaboration of major corporations through the Minnesota Business Partnership, a powerful trade organization (MHTA), a Minnesota-based consulting firm (McKinsey & Co.) and a well-connected former Minnesota politician (Margaret Anderson-Kelliher). Mostly, it’s the work of McKinsey & Company under the title of the Itasca Project.
First, McKinsey & Company isn’t “New York-based” like Chancellor Rosenstone described them as. Here’s the truth:
Based on this map, McKinsey & Co. is a Minneapolis-based consulting firm. Further, MHTA is tied into CtF. Here’s a little information on MHTA:
The group identified a four-part strategy:
- Align academic offerings with workforce needs
- Foster an ecosystem of research and innovation
- Form new collaborations across higher education to optimize system-wide intellectual assets and efficiency
- Graduate more students with the foundational and technical skills needed to drive Minnesota’s prosperity
First, government bureaucracies don’t “form new collaborations” to “optimize system-wide intellectual assets and efficiency.” It’d be great if they did but bureaucracies don’t do those things unless they’re forced by the changing of state statutes.
That raises red flags. If CtF’s goal isn’t to make MnSCU more efficient, what is CtF’s goal? Is there an ulterior motive behind CtF? If there is an ulterior motive driving CtF, what is it? According to IFO’s letter to Dr. Rosenstone, the savings from CtF are imaginary:
In the past decade, MnSCU has spent money by the tens of millions on IT consultants that claimed they would create efficiencies that would result in efficiencies for students — student tuitions still continued to skyrocket. The only savings we have seen for students in recent years came from the legislative buy down of tuition rates.
When lobbyists, corporations and consultants put a plan together, nothing good will come of it.
According to this webpage, Margaret Anderson Kelliher is the president & CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association, aka the MHTA. She’s also the vice-chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees Executive Committee.
In other words, McKinsey wasn’t hired by MnSCU to implement CtF. They were hired by MnSCU to create, then implement, CtF. That’s definitely a significant deception.
I didn’t have high hopes for CtF prior to this research. I have less faith in it after doing the research.
Technorati: Steve Rosenstone, MnSCU, McKinsey and Company, Charting the Future, Minnesota High Tech Association, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, Lobbyists, Minnesota Business Partnership, Inter Faculty Organization
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.
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.
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:
- Be comprehensive to address, roads, bridges, transit, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
- Equitably balance the transportation needs of Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area.
- 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.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Bike Trails, Transit, Pedestrian Infrastructure, Darin Broton, Transportation, Move MN, Artistic Drinking Fountains, Trolleys, Lobbyists, DFL, Kurt Daudt, Roads and Bridges, MNGOP
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.