Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

When Gov. Walz initially issued his shelter-in-place order, he made a big deal of the model, aka science, he was using. It was apparent that he’d gotten trapped in Greg Gutfeld’s “prison of 2 ideas.” That’s since been confirmed because, apparently, there are only 2 options. In Gov. Walz’s thinking, one option is shutting Minnesota’s economy down except for groceries and medical prescriptions. The other is no mitigation whatsoever.

Why hasn’t Gov. Walz selected another option? Is he aware that other options exist? Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota implemented the CDC’s mitigation standards without shutting down any businesses. Then again, I’d expect more from her. She’s a Republican. Walz is a Democrat.

The model that Minnesota is using is essentially worthless. Last week, Gov. Walz said that it wasn’t being used much for its accuracy as it’s being used for giving him direction. That’s word salad on steroids. If the model is off by orders of magnitude, how can you trust that it’s pointing you in the right direction?

That’s like putting a magnet next to a compass, then expecting a legitimate reading. The only reading you’ll get is of the needle going around and around into infinity. Thus far, Gov. Walz has only talked about medical supplies and not running the hospital staff into the ground. That’s the least of Gov. Walz’s worries. We’re nowhere close to using up our ventilators, PPE, N95 masks, etc.

It’s like Hawaiians buying parkas, then worrying about not having a parka when you need it. At this point, it’s becoming obvious that Gov. Walz isn’t the right man to handle a crisis. He’s made one terrible decision after another:

The Governor is apparently not paying attention to or doesn’t believe the results of his own modeling, which is supposed to be incorporating all this expert advice. And he has his reasoning completely backward, the number of infections and deaths isn’t determined by the amount of health resources, whether you have enough resources is determined by the number of cases you project. His current best projections are estimating a level of cases and deaths that the health system can handle. I would note in particular that while the original modeling said there were only around 235 ICU beds in the state, by the time of the reforecast that number had grown ten-fold. And the reality is the health system could handle more cases than the peak need now projected. So he can just stop using the weak excuse that we have to build health resources for a peak that isn’t coming.

Gov. Walz isn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier. This is proof of it:

Mayo Clinic has unveiled a plan to cut $1.6 billion in pay, withdraw nearly $1 billion from its financial reserves and save another $700 million through a hiring freeze to counteract a $3 billion loss inflicted by the coronavirus. A large portion of this loss was the result of Governor Tim Walz’s ban on non-essential procedures that has cost Mayo up to 75% of its business in some areas.

Way to go, Tim. By the 4th of July, you might kill Minnesota’s economy to the point that it won’t recover until the twenty-second century. Either that or until we get a principled Republican as governor. This should get Gov. Walz’s attention but likely won’t:

In both 2018 and 2019, the Clinic recorded a $700 million operating financial margin, meaning that it has reported this amount in profit. However, in the last week of March alone, Mayo says it lost $162 million, reports the post. Meanwhile, the Rochester campus is running at about 35% patient capacity and performing only about a quarter of the surgeries it normally would. This is because the majority of the procedures the world famous hospital provides have been forcibly canceled by Walz’s executive order prohibiting non life saving treatments.

At this rate, Gov. Walz will kill more businesses than COVID-19 will kill people. That’s a frightening thought. What’s more is the thought that Gov. Walz still thinks he’s doing the right thing. Might this be Gov. Walz’s destiny:

Time will tell but he’s off to a great start.

Yesterday, DFL Gov. Tim Walz extended his foolish shelter-in-place order until May 4th. As I talked about in this post, Gov. Walz didn’t ask the right questions. If he’d asked the right questions, he would’ve asked what would’ve happened had Minnesotans had just followed the CDC’s guidelines without shutting down businesses.

State Rep. Mary Franson just sent out her weekly e-letter to her constituents and various members of the media. I happen to be one of those media people who have gotten her e-letter update. This week’s e-letter update talks quite a bit about Gov. Walz’s decision. Here’s part of Rep. Franson’s e-letter update:

Dear Neighbors,

This week, the governor extended the Stay at Home order for several more weeks, until May 4th. I have heard from many of you whose lives have been turned upside-down by all this, and I want you to know that legislators have been pushing Governor Walz’s administration on a daily basis, asking for exemptions, flexibility, and common sense. If a business can safely operate, while protecting the health of its employees and customers, they should be allowed to do so.

I am extremely frustrated that Gov. Walz has so far decided against sharing the modeling data that he is basing his decisions on. Minnesotans want to work together to keep their neighbors safe, but they also deserve transparency in the decision-making process. If this administration is going to continue affecting the lives of every Minnesotan with these sweeping orders, they deserve to know what information those decisions are based on.

First, Rep. Franson is right in saying that Gov. Walz should share with the legislature the model’s assumptions. Next, Rep. Franson is right in insisting that Gov. Walz’s plan be based on flexibility and common sense. Thus far, the DFL plan has lacked those traits.

I can believe that it’s highly frustrating for Rep. Franson and other Republicans because Gov. Walz and the DFL, who ran on the issue of transparency during budget negotiations, has been as transparent as a rock. Further, Gov. Walz’s has acted like an autocrat. He hasn’t talked with legislative leaders about what he’s about to do. The DFL hasn’t shown an interest in discussing what’s needed for Minnesota’s health.

Considering those things, it isn’t surprising that Minnesotans (statewide) are turning on Gov. Walz’s autocratic rule. Rep. Franson isn’t the only Republican who isn’t thrilled with Gov. Walz’s decision-making:

“I do not approve of the Governor’s unilateral decision to continue the order to shelter at home until May 4th,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka tweeted Thursday. “We have to get on with our lives.”

Gov. Walz is a cold-hearted jackass. Check this out:

“My heart breaks for the people who are worried for their economic well-being, but you can’t get frustrated, go on a hunch and throw caution to the wind and pretend like our neighbors’ lives are somehow disposable,” Walz said.

Walz and the DFL have done nothing except play hunches. The experts’ initial projection was 74,000 Minnesotans dying from COVID-19. At the time I write this, that projection is just off by 73,950+. In other words, I could’ve done better throwing darts at a dartboard. Assuming that shelter-in-place is the only option for staying safe is stupid. Here’s what Gov. Walz is thinking:

Seriously? Gov. Walz is expecting 5,000 people in ICUs this June? What type of idiot thinks that? That’s frightening on a Biden level. How does Gov. Walz defend his statement, considering Sen. Gazelka’s information. Finally, there’s this:

Within the DFL, it’s apparent that common sense is common. There’s definitely a shortage.

Forgive me if I’ve missed it elsewhere but I think that there’s an important question that journalists haven’t asked Gov. Walz. Specifically, why hasn’t anyone asked him, the U of M and the Minnesota Department of Health a third alternative. In this video, Gov. Walz opens by talking about 2 scenarios: no mitigation and significant mitigation:

Apparently and based on his actions, significant mitigation meant shutting everything except grocery stores and pharmacies down. I’d argue that there’s a third option that wasn’t considered. Specifically, I’m talking about practicing proper social distancing, frequently washing your hands and limiting crowd size without shutting down stores. How many lives might’ve been saved had that option been picked? Might it have saved as many lives as option 2, aka the significant mitigation option?

State Sen. Andrew Mathews thinks it’s more than possible. Sen. Mathews thinks it should be happening:

Most people are still shopping at major stores like Walmart during this time, showing there’s no reason more businesses can’t safely re-open to help employees, families, and small business owners stay afloat. Several small business owners have already described to me the safety plans they will implement if they’re allowed to re-open. It matches point-by-point to Governor Walz’s description of what he wants to see before opening other businesses.

Sen. Mathews’ plan is filled with common sense. Perhaps, that’s why Gov. Walz didn’t think of it? It would take integrity to admit that he’d made a mistake. Is that why Gov. Walz hasn’t admitted that?

It’s time that Gov. Walz starts thinking this crisis through. This crisis won’t be solved with Gov. Walz’s cookie-cutter approach. Gov. Walz’s approach has cost too many small businesses their livelihoods. We can’t afford smooth-sounding idiots running the state. We need people who think things through and nail the solution the first time. That isn’t Gov. Walz.

After reading this article, it’s safe to say that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is fired up about what he calls an “all-American Marshall Plan for Main Street”, aka the “Paycheck Protection Program.” Before getting into the program, Leader McCarthy talked about his background:

Before entering politics, I opened a small deli in my hometown of Bakersfield, California. Two lessons always stuck with me: 1) You’re the first to work, last to leave, and last to get paid, and 2) your employees are your greatest resource. I know from personal experience that small businesses create meaningful opportunities for entrepreneurs, satisfying work for employees, and personalized service for local communities. But I also know how difficult it is to run a small business, even in the best of times.

Leader McCarthy wasn’t a high-powered small businessman but he walked tons of miles in a small businessman’s shoes so he knows what it’s like.

Republican leaders worked with a handful of good-faith Senate Democrats (remember that House Democrats were on vacation that week) to put this package together. When Pelosi returned from vacation, she tried pushing her ideological wish list into the Paycheck Protection Program. Apparently, her highest priority wasn’t getting small businesses health. It was in lighting up a legislative Christmas tree with things like the Green New Deal, taking the voting system away from states and telling corporations who could be on their boards. That’s just a handful of Pelosi’s wish list.

With this program, businesses with fewer than 500 employees (including startups, sole proprietors, and the self-employed) will receive 100% federally guaranteed loans for eight weeks. If the loan is used to pay employees, rent, or utilities, or rehire employees who were laid off due to the virus, it is forgiven.

Loans will be available as early as Friday, thanks to the Trump administration’s quick actions. They will run from February 15 to June 30. Small businesses won’t need to navigate government bureaucracy to access these historic loans. Instead, they can work with any lender backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Similarly, farmers can work with their trusted farm credit institutions to secure loans.

This is what a man who is committed to America looks like:

This is what a career politician looks like:

The man fighting for Main Street wants the U.S. to succeed. The career politician simply wants more political power. That’s the choice this November: Main Street winning vs. the Swamp winning. That isn’t a difficult decision for thoughtful Americans.

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.

After reading this article, I thought that this was another instance of regulators running wild. First, let’s establish what happened.

According to the article, it “started in February with some bicycle wheels under a slide, right where they were supposed to be. “They were tucked underneath the slide in my front yard so the kids could access them, because they do things like experiment with physics and roll them down the hill,” Giuliani said. It ended with the first correction orders she had received in 17 years of providing family child care. On top of the 55-hour weeks, the need to pursue training and do paperwork outside of that window and the emotional heft of helping children grow, there’s now a green letter posted at the entrance to Giuliani’s home, where it will echo her faults until 2019.”

Seriously? This is proof that regulators either have too much time on their hands or they have a God complex. The other possibility is that this regulator is trying to pay in-home child care providers for humiliating the union by rejecting union representation. Whatever the regulator’s motivation, this isn’t acceptable. Here’s the ‘scene of the crime’:

That certainly looks dangerous. It’s a good thing that regulators wrote Giuliani up for being a threat to the children she takes care of.

Seriously, what’s required is a culture change amongst regulators. There’s no doubt that Minnesota is overregulated. That’s why companies have either left Minnesota or they’ve expanded elsewhere. That’s why Minnesota will lose a congressional district in the next round of reapportionment in 2021. It’s that simple.

“Guilty until proven innocent,” testified Julie Seidel, membership director of the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals, who added the regulatory environment is “burdensome and often unattainable … and is discouraging providers from continuing child care.”

It isn’t just that laws need to be rewritten. It’s that a total culture change is required. Common sense rules have been replaced by God-like declarations. Rather than just writing Ms. Giuliani a fix-it ticket, the regulator insisted on making an example of her.

County licensors also will be required to get additional training on licensing standards, with the goal of shifting from punitive to more constructive and educational licensing inspections. Giuliani countered that’s like “sending a bully at school to sensitivity training and expecting that because they have 90 minutes of training they’re not going to go back and do what they did before.”

It’d be better to just throw out the people who’ve abused their power.

It’s easier to meet someone who’s better off as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act than the media would have us believe. For instance, Ashley is a big winner as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

According to the analysts at The Tax Foundation, “Ashley is a single mom and owns her own business. This year her successful business will make $60,000. Ashley is very thankful for her mom, who cares for her one son, Jackson, when she is working many long hours, even on nights and weekends, as a small business owner. Without the tax reform law, Ashley takes $8,330 in personal exemptions and a standard Head-of-Household deduction of $9,550. This leaves her with a taxable income of $42,150. At her income level, she would pay $5,642.50 in federal income taxes, except that she qualifies for a $1000 child tax credit, which brings her final bill to $4,642.50.”

Under the new tax law, Ashley will benefit in a few different ways. First, although personal exemptions are eliminated, Ashley’s standard deduction will increase to $18,000, nearly twice as much as before. Secondly, and of critical importance to small business owners like her, Ashley can now also deduct up to 20 percent of her income because her business is a pass-through entity, meaning her business income “passes through” to her as an individual. This means she deducts another $8,400 (or 20 percent of the $42,000 left after her standard deduction). This means Ashley has a total taxable income of $33,600. At her rate, this income would result in $3,760 in taxes before the child tax credit. Thirdly, Ashley also benefits from the doubling of the child tax credit from $1000 to $2000. This leaves her with a final tax liability of $1760. This means Ashley gets a tax cut of $2,882.50.

During the final debate on the bill, Chuck Schumer said “the middle class would only get a pittance.” Making $60,000 a year is certainly in the middle class. Saving almost $3,000 certainly isn’t a pittance. That’s a significant tax cut, one that I’m betting Ashley will certainly make good use of.

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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