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Tuesday night, Speaker Ryan was Bret Baier’s and Martha MacCallum’s guest for a townhall meeting in Herndon, Virginia. Specifically, the subject was the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. It would be fun watching him slice-and-dice Nancy Pelosi on the subject, though I’m certain she’d never participate in such a debate.

Ryan on how the tax cuts would help veterans:

Ryan on small business growth:

(Notice the specificity of his response.)
Ryan on the need to grow the economy:

Thus far, the Democrats’ economic plan is to criticize the Republican plan. That’s the plan offered by Pelosi and Schumer. That’s bad enough. The Bernie/Warren plan is even worse. They want to raise taxes and drive companies overseas.

Do we want a vibrant economy led by robust small business investment or do we want the pathetic economic growth we had during the Obama administration? That’s a pretty easy answer for most people.

This op-ed is a fantastic illustration of what DFL regulatory corruption looks like. Every voter in Minnesota should understand what’s happening by DFL special interest groups in the hope of killing mining.

In the op-ed, Steve Giorgi, the executive director of the Range Association of Municipalities & Schools, aka RAMS, wrote “Commissioner John Linc Stine and his staff at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced this week that they will commence with rulemaking hearings across the state on the new proposed rules for limits on Sulfate standards to protect wild rice.” Later in the op-ed, Giorgi wrote “During the last legislative session, Rep. Rob Ecklund was successful in passing legislation that delayed the implementation of any new wild rice/sulfate standards until January of 2019, allowing the MPCA and all Minnesotans to get the results of a study being conducted on the cost implications of a new standard and enforcement of that standard.”

This is what a corrupt regulatory system looks like. The business getting regulated has no assurance that they’ll get the required permits if they follow the stated procedures. (Whatever happened to Bill Clinton’s saying that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be rewarded with a good life for yourself and a better chance for your children“?) Based on the Dayton administration’s actions, the hard-working people of the Iron Range will get shafted even if they work hard and play by the rules. Then there’s this:

Finding funding for $5 to $10 million dollar treatment plant expansions, along with increased annual operating costs, and then the nightmare of trying to dispose of the brine that is produced by the reverse osmosis treatment, will put most small communities into bankruptcy.

At what point will this DFL administration admit that the regulations they’re thinking about will bankrupt the state? The law was passed and signed into law. PolyMet will be forced by law into playing by the rules. Unless the metro DFL wants to just admit that they want to stop mining altogether, which they’ll deny in public but admit to in private, this regulatory system needs to be scrapped.

I’m not talking about abolishing all regulations. I’m advocating for regulations that protect the water without buying the special interests’ BS. This video is intended to present the MPCA, the regulators on the wild rice standards, as reasonable and business-friendly: That’s intentional. The key difference between the Grede project and the wild rice standards is that the special interests don’t care about Grede. They’re focused on shutting down mining.

It’s indisputable that the metro DFL, especially politicians like John Marty and Al Franken, want to prevent new mining projects from getting permitted. It’s time to throw out the current regulatory system and replace it with a system that’s both business-friendly and that protects the environment. There’s no disputing the fact that the current system is hostile to both businesses and rural Minnesota.

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When I read this story, I was stunned. According to the story, the “Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) awarded Minnesota Halal Meat & Grocery, 205 East St. Germain Street, $15,308.72 through the Good Food Access Program (GFAP). The store’s owner, Badal Aden Ali, says the store plans to install a dairy cooler, walk-in freezer, produce display case, and shelving. Ali says the grant funds will help address the needs of many of St. Cloud’s refugees and immigrants.”

Later in the article, we’re told that a “total of $150,000 in grant funds has been awarded to projects to purchase equipment and make physical improvements, increasing access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods in underserved and low- and moderate-income communities.”

What I’d like to know is how many similar programs exist within the Human Services and Minnesota Department of Agriculture budgets? How much taxpayer money gets spent each biennium to buy votes? This “store” is less than a mile away from my house. It’s a little hell-hole. It’s been that way since I was in grade school. (I started high school in 1970.)

Before anyone accuses me of being biased against refugees, my position is that I’m opposed to each of these grants.

I’m told that the theory behind these grants exist because the businesses can’t afford the loan to buy the equipment they’ll purchase with this grant money. If these businesses are on that shaky of ground, they should be allowed to fail.

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A Taxing Thought on the Minimum Wage
By Speed Gibson
July 14, 2017

You may remember how a Stillwater restaurant added a “minimum wage fee” to their tabs in 2014, in response to a 75 cent increase in the Minnesota minimum wage. Liberals, amazed that the owners didn’t just draw on their assumed millions stashed under the floorboards, said they should just raise prices if need be, not play politics. Conservatives like me cheered for a business willing to push back with what liberals hate most: the truth. And then I realized that there was a greater point being made here, intended or not. As an added, involuntary, cost to a business, the requirement to pay above market minimum wages is a tax.

Albert Einstein’s two great theories largely sprang from his ideas of equivalence. An astronaut in a rocket accelerating at 1 G in free space experiences the same effects as another still sitting on the launch pad on Earth. Gravity, he thought, must also be some form of acceleration, hence his General Theory of Relativity.

So, is there an equivalent tax to mandated minimum wages? Let’s take some full-time employees making $10 an hour. Assuming none are subsequently laid off, the new law takes effect and now they make $15 an hour. Each makes an additional $200 a week, or equivalently $200 a week now leaves the owner’s cash register. No additional work was performed. The money simply moved from the owner to the employee.

But a tax law could equivalently demand that the $200 “shortfall” be sent to St. Paul, then distributed to the employee via a refundable income tax credit based on the $400 paid and reported. Either way, the owner, employee and State checking account balances all read the same afterward.

I therefore conclude, if the minimum wage looks like a tax and acts like a tax and is compulsory like a tax – it’s a tax, with one remaining difference to now resolve: display that tax on the receipt like the courageous Stillwater restaurant owners did.

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This article is filled with proof that socialism doesn’t work. Further, it demolishes a key part of the Democrats’ economic message. It says “New research, conducted by economists at the University of Washington, shows that the $13 minimum wage has led to “steep declines in employment for low-wage workers and a drop in hours for those who kept their jobs. Crucially, the negative impact of lost jobs and hours more than offset the benefits of higher wages; on average, low-wage workers earned $125 per month less because of the higher wage.”

This isn’t surprising. Artificially inflating wages hurts people because businesses have to make a profit. When the government makes it more difficult through higher taxes or higher wages, businesses will adapt. The easiest way to do that is employ fewer people.

Later, it’s reported that “The Minneapolis city council will vote on Friday, June 30th at 9:30 am to increase the city’s minimum wage to $10.00 starting on July 1, 2018. By July 1, 2022, every worker in Minneapolis will be paid at least $15 per hour as voted on by the current Minneapolis City Council. One of their stated reasons for doing so is to help Minneapolis employees deal with “rising inflation” which, had any of them bothered to look, has been at 1.2% in 2016 and 0% in 2015. It is also important to note that every person who works at least two hours in any workweek while in the city of Minneapolis will be considered a Minneapolis employee and subject to these ever-increasing minimum wages.”

Why would companies start businesses in Minneapolis? They’d be foolish to. I suspect that companies that are part of the hospitality industry won’t start up there unless they get special concessions.

When I spotted this article announcing the passing of Dick Bernick, it made me sad. It isn’t because I knew him for a long time, though I wish I had known Dick’s family longer.

When famous people pass away, it’s often said that they were pillars of their community. Dick Bernick wasn’t just a pillar of this community. It’s that, if you looked in a dictionary for the definition of the term ‘good corporate citizen’, it would’ve been entirely fitting to find Dick’s picture there instead of words.

In the article, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said “He was very upbeat. He just had all this energy and just always had a smile. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to Dick where he wasn’t smiling a big smile.” I can vouch for that. Though I didn’t know Dick that long compared with others, the times I did interact with him, he was constantly smiling. This picture was typical:

The thing that should be known about the Bernick family business is that they, like Coborn’s Supermarkets, as they were called at the time, gave many young people their first jobs in St. Cloud. Bernick’s helped teach a generation of St. Cloud youth the importance of a strong work ethic and reliability. It isn’t overstatement to say that Bernick’s taught them the tools to prosper.

It isn’t overstatement to say that Dick was a force for good in St. Cloud. The company that he took over in the 1950s is now in the steady hands of his family.

Dick Bernick is survived by Lila, his wife of 67 years, “five children and 11 grandchildren.” Here’s hoping that they’re feeling the impact of the prayers and well wishes of their many friends.

One of the major highlights of CNN’s townhall meeting with Speaker Ryan at George Washington University came during the question of the night. That’s when Speaker Ryan announced that the House would repeal the ACA and pass the Republican replacement “at the same time, and in some cases in the same bill.” Speaker Ryan continued, saying “So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time.”

The first person to ask a question of Speaker Ryan was a small business owner named Jeff Jeans, who identified himself as a former Republican and a cancer survivor. Jeans told Speaker Ryan “Just like you, I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I’d comply with this law. Then, at 49, I was given 6 weeks to live and with a very curable type of cancer. We offered 3 times the cost of my treatments, which was rejected. They required an insurance card. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here alive. Being both a small business person and a person with pre-existing conditions, I rely on the Affordable Care Act to purchase my own insurance. Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?”

Ryan replied “We wouldn’t do that. We want to replace it with something better. … We believe that state high risk pools are a smarter way of guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. We had a really good one in Wisconsin. Utah had a really great one. I was talking with a congresswoman from Washington today who was telling me how good their high risk pool is. What I mean when I say this is that about 8% of all the people less than 65 years of age have that type of pre-existing condition. … We don’t want people to go poor or go bankrupt because this thing happens to them so we obviously want a system where they can get affordable coverage without going bankrupt when they get sick. But we can do that without destroying the rest of the health care system for everybody else. That’s the point I’m trying to make. What we should have done is fix what was broken in health care without breaking what was working with health care and that’s what Obamacare unfortunately did.”

Here’s the video of that exchange:

It’s worth noting that Minnesota had a high risk pool, too, which was also working well until the ACA destroyed it. In 2007, before then-Sen. Obama was elected president, Minnesota boasted that 92.8% of its citizens were insured. Of those that didn’t have health insurance, more than half were eligible for some sort of taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. Had those people gotten signed up, Minnesota’s insured rate would’ve exceeded 97%, which would’ve been better than anything that the ACA could ever hope to accomplish.

What’s particularly insulting and infuriating is the fact that Democrats know the Republicans’ plans. It’s infuriating because Ryan’s plan has been out there for months. If there’s anything certain about Speaker Ryan, it’s that he’s a policy junkie in the best sense of the word. He lives to write great legislation.

Speaker Ryan said that he didn’t have a specific date that he’d put on repealing and replacing the ACA, though he told Jake Tapper that he thinks it will happen in President Trump’s first 100 days.

If that happens, you’ll see the economy take off because Obamacare is sucking the incentive out of growing small businesses. Watch the entire video. It’s educational and enlightening.

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In mid-June, Gov. Dayton pocket vetoed a tax relief bill that would’ve provided tax relief to lots of middle-class people, which I wrote about here. The editorial I quoted got it right when it said “when Gov. Mark Dayton pocket vetoed HF 848 which would’ve provided significant tax relief to the citizens of Minnesota, it sort of felt like something major was lost. Gone was tax relief for veterans, gone was tax relief for small business owners, gone was a tax break for farmers, gone was a tax break for the residents of Houston County who live in Minnesota but work in Wisconsin, gone was the forgiveness of interest paid on debt on the new school building.”

Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate in vetoing this tax relief for farmers, veterans, small businesses and students. There’s something else that Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate in doing. Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate in paying his political appointees huge severance packages. Republicans are demanding that Gov. Dayton rescind those severance packages. Gov. Dayton, through his mouthpiece, has refused:

State law explicitly authorizes severance of up to six months’ salary for senior-level state employees, who make more than 60 percent of the governor’s salary, when they leave state service. We offered severances of up to three months’ salary to three agency heads, as the law expressly permits. The governor made those decisions, and in his judgement the circumstances justified those severances. Gov. Pawlenty used the same statute to authorize severance payments of $73,552 for two senior-level state employees. House Republicans are desperately trying to place a fig leaf over their failure last session to pass the bills that Minnesotans really need: a correctly-written tax bill, statewide building projects, and improved highways, roads, bridges and public transit.

WCCO’s Pat Kessler highlights this important difference:

MMB documents show Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty paid out $75,552 in severance checks to two state workers in 2005 who were not political appointees. One former employee, an administrative law judge, got $26,478. Another, a legislative audit manager, got $47,097.

They weren’t political appointees. They were public employees with lots of time on the job. Speaking of which, “Republicans say the law allows severance only under strict conditions, one of which is 10 years of service before becoming eligible. Republicans say the law allows severance only under strict conditions, one of which is 10 years of service before becoming eligible.”

The moral of this is that Gov. Dayton killed tax relief to farmers, veterans, students buried with student loan debt and small businesses without hesitation. By comparison, he’s fighting hard for illegal severance packages for his political appointees. It’s apparent that Gov. Dayton’s priorities aren’t Minnesota’s priorities.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the DFL legislative leaders, who spout off about all kinds of silly subjects, are silent about this. It’s just more proof that the DFL isn’t the party of the little guy … unless they’re government employees.

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The DFL has insisted from the start of this election cycle that Angie Craig was competitive in CD-2, especially once John Kline announced his retirement. When the first fundraising report came out, the DFL’s cries got louder that Angie Craig would flip that seat.

I’ve been skeptical of the DFL’s claims from the start because Angie Craig, like Tarryl Clark in CD-6 in 2010, isn’t a good fit for CD-2. A loyal reader of LFR said that there are lots of entrepreneurs in CD-2. While Craig can appeal to those voters to a certain extent, she might have difficulty appealing to them because Bernie Sanders’ policies are definitely anti-small business. Sen. Sanders wants tons of regulations and higher top tax rates. Those definitely aren’t small business friendly policies.

The reason I mention Bernie Sanders is because an organization called Our Revolution has endorsed Angie Craig, Rick Nolan and Keith Ellison for congress from Minnesota. Here’s a little information on that organization:

Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of progressive causes.

Let’s rewrite that sentence to make it accurate. It would say “Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of socialist causes.” Small business entrepreneurship and socialism fit together like oil and water. In other words, they don’t fit together.

There’s nothing in Angie Craig’s history that suggests she’s truly pro-small business. These endorsements indicate that she’s a Sanders lefty:

Lori Swanson and Sandy Pappas are definitely 2 of the more far left lefties in Minnesota, with bigtime climate change credentials. The League of Conservation Voters is definitely anti-development and anti-small business.

So much for Angie Craig being pro-small business.

If you want to help get Jason Lewis elected, please consider contributing to his campaign. Also, if you want to get the word out on the real Angie Craig, please consider contributing to LFR by clicking on the “Donate” button in the top right corner of the page. You know that the MSM won’t tell Craig’s story. I will.

One of the things we learn about Zach Dorholt is that he’s proud of his being a small business owner. One of the things highlighted on Dorholt’s Meet Zach Dorholt page is this paragraph, which reads “Following his entrepreneurial instincts, Zach co-founded The Old Capital Tavern in Sauk Rapids with like-minded friends in 2012. The venture was a first step in building unique businesses that support local economics and highlight Central Minnesota culture.”

It’s understatement to say that the people LFR has talked with from central Minnesota are skeptical of Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm. The biggest reason they question Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial expertise is because he voted for a ton of tax increases that hit small businesses directly, then voted the next spring to repeal the tax increases he’d voted for in 2013.

Those don’t sound like the actions a pro-entrepreneurial politician would make. They sound like the actions of a pro-high taxes politician would make after he’s revealed his political leanings and he knows he’s gone too far to get re-elected.

As for being a small business person, apparently Mr. Dorholt thinks health regulations are optional:

MN Rule 4626.0225 Use spatulas, tongs, deli tissue or other dispensing equipment to limit direct hand contact with food or ice.
Cook was observed dispensing buns, French fries and other condiments with his bare hands.

The reason for these regulations is so that people don’t get sick. A true businessman pays attention to details like that. That wasn’t the only violation. Here’s another:

MN Rule 4626.0070 Food employees must wash their hands at the hand wash sink in the food preparation area by vigorously rubbing together their soap lathered hands and arms for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing underneath the fingernails with a fingernail brush, and rinsing with clean water.
Cook was observed working with raw fish and rinsing his hands in the sink for approximately 5 seconds.

I’m betting that Dorholt invested a little money in the business so he could say he’s a small businessman but doesn’t pay attention to things. Then again, I might be wrong. He might be a hands-on owner who thinks regulations are suggestions.