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On May 30, 2012, a collection of the DFL’s special interest allies filed a lawsuit in their attempt to thwart the will of the people. In their attempt to thwart the will of the people, they also sought to undo the work of a properly elected legislature.

Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Legislature announced that they would fight for the will of the people:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 8, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT:
Senate – Steve Sviggum 651-296-4814
House – Jodi Boyne 651-296-5522

SENATE & HOUSE REQUEST LEGAL INTERVENTION TO PROTECT CITIZENS RIGHT TO VOTE ON VOTER ID

St. Paul- Minnesota Senate and House leaders announced Friday that they will file paperwork to request to intervene in litigation brought forth by special interest groups in an effort to remove the Photo Identification Constitutional Amendment from the ballot.

The Photo ID Amendment was passed by the state legislature earlier this year and is scheduled to appear on this November’s ballot. On May 30, 2012, special interest groups opposed to Voter ID filed a claim to block citizens from voting on the issue in 2012.

“It is my very strong feeling that the integrity of the election process will be enhanced with photo ID. The legislature, in a bipartisan effort, placed this very clear and concise question before the citizens for their judgment in the November election. With our action today, we intend to protect the right of citizens to vote on this important of election integrity,” said Senate Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester).

“This request is needed to protect the Minnesota Legislature’s right to pass and place constitutional amendments on the ballot,” said Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove). “It is unfortunate special interest groups who are opposed to photo ID are using any means necessary to prevent citizens from voting on this important election integrity measure.”

The Legislative Coordinating Commission will meet next week to adopt a formal resolution on the matter.

Speaker Zellers and Majority Leader Senjem were diplomatic. I won’t be. The DFL and their special interest allies fight for election integrity in their private balloting. In fact, they fought for election integrity at the DFL State Convention. That means that it’s only in public that they fight against election integrity.

The DFL’s motto could easily be ‘Election integrity for me, not for thee.’

The DFL knows that Minnesota’s election system is flawed. They admitted it in their debate on the DFL State Party Constitution. Rick Varko of Senate District 64 rose in opposition to the amendment to allow absentee balloting in their presidential preference ballot. Here’s Mr. Varko’s motion:

I move to strike Section 10, which allows for the option of absentee ballots in the presidential preference ballot.

I’m against this section for three reasons. One, I don’t believe that the Central Committee can come up with any mechanism that will genuinely prevent somebody from printing out a stack of absentee ballots, submitting them and getting them improper votes for a candidate.

This wasn’t a motion made by a GOP plant as a prank. He isn’t the only person that thinks that somebody could print a “stack of absentee ballots”, either. Varko’s motion passed overwhelmingly.

That’s an implicit statement that they know absentee ballots are prime opportunities for voter fraud. In fact, it isn’t that difficult to make the argument that it was an explicit admission that the absentee ballot system is a great opportunity for voter fraud.

The DFL stopped short of saying that the only way to prevent absentee ballot voter fraud was by requiring photo identification. They stopped short of that by not adopting absentee balloting.

Minnesota’s election system doesn’t have that luxury. Minnesota’s election system has an absentee ballot provision.

The League of Women Voters-MN, the ACLU-MN, the Jewish Action Community and Common Cause filed this lawsuit in an attempt to thwart the will of the people. They’re attempting to say that the legislature doesn’t have the right to do what Minnesota’s Constitution provides for it to do.

Voters would be well-advised to remember that the DFL legislators opposed election integrity with their votes but support election integrity when it’s an internal DFL matter.

It’s time to tell the DFL that their situational support for election integrity isn’t acceptable.

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Gov. Dayton is whining about a slush fund that he signed into law:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton said he will meet next week with his economic development commissioner to discuss a new grant program that he is not very enthusiastic about.

Lawmakers passed a bonding bill earlier this month that created a $47.5 million fund for local economic development projects. Mankato, Rochester and St. Paul are among a growing list of cities lining up for grants after having their projects rejected from inclusion in the broader bonding bill.

Dayton told reporters today that he thinks the new fund is a “back-door” approach and saddles the commissioner with a process that is “not well-advised.”

“It just puts him in a very, very awkward situation of having to say no again to a lot of projects. There will probably be ten-times the number of dollars requested as there are available,” Dayton said.

Under the bonding bill, applicants can seek grants for a wide range of local projects, including those related to waste and drinking water, utilities, telecommunications and road and bridge work.

That’s what happens when you give RINO Larry Howes, Dave Senjem and a reckless-spending DFL governor the big sticks in spending money.

Senjem’s days as Senate GOP Leader better be numbered. He’s spent too much money to be called a conservative. I’m fine with him getting re-elected. I’m not fine with him having a leadership position. If a Republican votes for him in a leadership position, they’re instantly on my shit list.

As for the undefined pork, Gov. Dayton’s whining is a joke. He could’ve line-item vetoed that $47.5 million in pork out of the bill. It would’ve required a spine but it was definitely possible.

For him to now pretend that he’s been victimized is insulting. He wasn’t victimized. He just didn’t show a spine. That’s his shortcoming, nobody else’s.

Republicans had better say no to a bonding bill in 2013. They overspent the past 2 years. It’s time they started acting like fiscal conservatives. If they don’t, they’ll get swept from office 2 years from now.

As for Gov. Dayton, he’s history. He’s spent like recklessly. He’s clueless about economics. He’s yet to make an economic justification for why he wants to raise taxes. I don’t give a rip about fairness. I care about people having a shot at lasting prosperity.

He’s a tool of the unions. Whatever they want, he tries giving them. When they told him to violate the U.S. Constitution, he didn’t hesitate in signing an unconstitutional executive order to unionize child care small businesses.

That’s a direct violation of the First Amendment giving businesses the right to form their own associations to petition their government. They can’t be told that they can’t hire a lobbyist or that they must join a union. That’s their choice and their’s alone.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL are tools of the special interests. They don’t stand up to militant environmentalists. They haven’t told Tom Dooher and the other EdMinn lobbyists that they’re wrong. They’ve caved every time the unions have demanded something.

It’s time that they started putting families first. It’s time that they stopped looking out only for union families. All families deserve a fair shake. They aren’t getting it from the DFL.

Most importantly, it’s time they stopped with their reckless spending habits and their strangling regulations.

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It’s almost like this isn’t news. Gov. Dayton sided with his union thug allies rather than with parents:

St. Paul- Governor Mark Dayton announced Friday his rejection of efforts by the legislature to ensure child care assistance dollars are not diverted to unions.

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Ted Lillie (R-Lake Elmo), chief author of House File 1766 (SF 1630), gave the following statement after the Governor’s veto.

“I am surprised and disappointed by the Governor’s decision to leave dollars meant for the care of our children unprotected from union hands.

Our priority is to act as faithful stewards of taxpayer dollars and also to protect private businesses from government overreach. With his veto today, the Governor does nothing to prevent unions from capturing tax payer dollars intended for the care of our children,” said Senator Lillie.

This bill was developed in response to Governor Dayton’s call for an election to unionize child care providers in Minnesota. The Minnesota Senate filed an amicus brief in support of child care providers’ case.

On April 6th, 2012, Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman ruled that Governor Dayton exceeded his authority in ordering a union election for certain in-home child care providers, halting the union election from proceeding and attorneys fees and reasonable costs were awarded to the plaintiffs.

Senate Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester) continued, “the Governor fails to understand the purpose of child care assistance dollars. His veto today takes dollars meant for our kids’ care and potentially diverts them to union coffers. Like his call for an election to unionize child care providers, his actions today indicate that the Governor’s loyalties lie with his union allies.

Our priority continues to be growing jobs, reducing taxes and ensuring our state is the best place to raise kids.”

Theoretically speaking, if unions can take dues from small business child care providers, then it’s a given that these small businesses will raise prices. That means already-strapped parents will have to pay more out-of-pocket.

Gov. Dayton, like President Obama, is totally wedded to PEUs. If they say jump, Mssrs. Dayton and Obama ask how high. (It’s different with President Obama and construction unions, though. See Pipeline, Keystone XL Project.)

Gov. Dayton and the DFL are wedded to the PEUs. They’ve clearly shown that their loyalties are with PEUs, not with non-union families. They clearly aren’t with child care providers or small businesses, either.

The government assistance that’s sent to parents should stay there. Unions shouldn’t get a finger on that assistance. It’s meant to pay for child care costs, not the DFL’s political campaigns.

The GOP majorities in the legislature have shown where their allegiances lie. They’ve helped speed up permitting so businesses can expand at faster than glacial speed. They’ve passed tax reform that will created dynamic, private sector jobs.

After that, Rep. Thissen and the DFL whine that the GOP hasn’t passed a jobs bill. That’s total nonsense. What they haven’t done is pass a union stimulus/debt bill, aka a bonding bill.

Minnesotans have to decide whether they prefer the party that sides with corrupt unions over families or the party that’s motivated by creating longlasting prosperity.

If it’s the former, vote DFL. If you prefer longlasting prosperity, vote MNGOP.

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This STrib article highlights the different approaches taken to creating jobs between the GOP and the DFL. The DFL approach requires a yearly injection of government stimulus funding. The GOP approach is a more entrepreneur-based approach. Gov. Dayton will apparently fight for the antiquated, ineffective DFL way:

Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislators appear headed for yet another showdown: Whether to run up $1 billion in state borrowing to build everything from civic centers to campgrounds as a way to create jobs in a sputtering economy.

Sen. Dave Senjem and freshman Rep. Kurt Bills offer a differing approach:

Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, who heads the Senate’s capital investment panel, said he has no immediate plans to even convene the committee.

“The idea of doing bonding to create jobs is not our way of thinking,” Senjem said.

Rep. Kurt Bills, one of the Republican newcomers who has brought a noticeably different philosophy to the Capitol, said yearly state bonding bills reach “a law of diminishing returns” that crowds out private investment. A high school economics teacher from Rosemount who now sits on the influential House Capital Investment Committee, Bills acknowledges that “I am a big, I have to say, anti-debt guy.”

Based on the poor job creation and return on investment numbers we’ve seen the past 5 years, I’d say that Rep. Bills’ argument for the the law of diminishing returns is reality, not theory.

Why Gov. Dayton would fight to borrow money to create a tiny trickle of jobs when streamlining the permitting process and eliminating job-killing litigation opportunities for MCEA and other environmental extremists would provide a gusher of new jobs without government interference or taxpayer resources doesn’t make sense.

While Gov. Dayton is pushing for the DFL’s annual stimulus bill, freshmen legislators like Rep. Dan Fabian and Sen. John Pederson are pushing for streamlining the permitting process with Rep. Fabian chief authoring HF1 and Sen. Pederson co-sponsoring SF1, the Senate’s companion bill to HF1.

Unlike Gov. Dayton’s bill, Pederson’s and Fabian’s bill will create an a business-friendly environment that encourages increased entrepreneurial activity.

This isn’t a difficult choice.

Supporting a bill that brings a gusher of jobs makes infinitely more sense than supporting a bill that creates a trickle of jobs while burdening future generations with unnecessary debts shouldn’t be a difficult decision.

Unfortunately, we’re saddled with a governor who thinks it’s the most difficult decision imaginable. Still, I’m optimistic because the GOP legislature will prevent most of Gov. Dayton’s crazy ideas from becoming law.

Another reason that I’m optimistic is because Rep. King Banaian will play an influential role as my legislator. Here’s an example of his economic thinking:

St. Cloud’s newly elected Republican state Rep. King Banaian said he is not closing the door to a state borrowing proposal, but has his own idea of what might be included: Money for a science building at St. Cloud State University, where Banaian teaches. “I think it meets the criteria I have in mind,” he said.

But Banaian said the state’s deficit remains the top task. “If the bonding bill’s going to get in the way of us doing our job with the budget, I’d rather not do any bonding,” he said.

Funding a project like I-SILF is a legitimate bonding project. It will create great learning opportunities that will translate into high-tech jobs for the state.

The DFL often speaks about the bonding bill as a “jobs bill” while touting only the construction jobs it creates. King’s criteria is different in that it also asks the question: what will we have once the construction ends? Will it be another special interest shrine (my terminology) or will we have something that strengthens Minnesota’s infrastructure and economy?

The DFL has stifled Minnesota’s economy for a couple decades. They’ve relied too often on bonding bills. They’ve tried raising taxes too often. They’ve added too many job-killing regulations.

Thankfully, the GOP legislature is quickly streamlining the permitting process, keeping spending at sane levels and eliminating the need to raise taxes. By doing these things, they’re eliminating Minnesota’s structural deficit, too.

It’s about time.

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It was a busy day at the St. Cloud airport Tuesday afternoon, with the DFL and the GOP stopping in during their post-session flyarounds.

When I pulled into the airport parking lot at 1:20 pm, Sen. Pogemiller was standing outside talking on his cell phone. That seemed rather odd compared with past flyarounds. In the flyarounds in previous years, I assumed that the DFL and GOP planes would be late.

When I walked into the lobby where the press conferences would be held, the people that I didn’t see spoke louder than the people who were there. Tarryl Clark wasn’t there. Neither was Larry Haws. Also missing from this trip was Speaker Kelliher. The only local candidate attending was Bruce Hentges, the DFL endorsed candidate for Tarryl’s Senate seat.

It isn’t that that’s surprising considering the fact that the DFL doesn’t have endorsed candidates for a number of House and Senate seats. As of tonight, Steve Gottwalt, Mary Kiffmeyer, Michelle Fischbach and Tim O’Driscoll don’t have opponents.

Like I told Times reporter Mark Sommerhauser, I can understand the DFL not having candidates running against popular incumbents like Michelle Fischbach, Mary Kiffmeyer and Steve Gottwalt. It’s stunning that they don’t have a candidate running against Tim O’Driscoll for the open seat in HD-14A, where Dan Severson left to run for Secretary of State against Mark Ritchie.

When asked if Gov. Pawlenty had won the budget battle, Sen. Pogemiller said that yes, “Gov. Pawlenty did win if you’re talking about national talking points” before adding that he’d “argue that Minnesota lost” as a result of the outcome. When pressed about why they didn’t push harder for their agenda, Sen. Pogemiller said that “There’s no amount of political philosophy that’s worth shutting government down over.”

For her part, Sen. Berglin said that this year represented a lost opportunity caused by Minnesota not agreeing to opt in on Obamacare. Sen. Berglin said that Minnesota would’ve gotten $7.45 back for MA for each dollar it paid into the federal government.

Sen. Berglin said that not doing the early opt-in would cause other states to get the money Minnesota could be getting.

Clearly, the DFL leaders were dispirited as a result of not getting their priorities passed into law.

When the GOP entourage arrived, there was a detectable difference in attitude. Led by GOP endorsed gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, the entourage of Emmer, House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, Rep. Matt Dean and Sen. Amy Koch greeted the people gathered in the Aviation building at the St. Cloud Airport.

After giving a brief presentation on his reform agenda, Rep. Emmer invited questions from the audience. WJON-AM’s Jim Maurice and the St. Cloud Times’ Mark Sommerhauser also covered the event. Rep. Emmer said that health care would be a major issue in the campaign, saying that, if elected, he wouldn’t opt into the Medicaid expansion.

Opting into the Medicaid expansion is enticing initially, he said, but that there’s no guarantee that the money Sen. Berglin talks about would be there after 2014. What would be there would be maintenance of service agreements that Minnesota would have to sign if they opted in.

Rep. Emmer then called St. Cloud Rep. Steve Gottwalt to the microphone to explain his Healthy Minnesota Plan, HF3036 this past session. Rep. Gottwalt said that it wasn’t accepted as the reform to MinnesotaCare but that it was adopted as a pilot program.

Under the pilot program, 60,000 single Minnesotans without dependent children will be covered. Rep. Gottwalt said that the fiscal note calculated the savings at $110,000,000 for the next biennium. If enacted into law for all 800,000 people on MinnesotaCare, the savings might exceed $1,000,000,000 for the upcoming biennium.

Rep. Zellers spoke about how government operations should change to be more customer friendly. He spoke about streamlining the permitting process for construction permits would save contractors time and the government money.

Rep. Emmer said that the key isn’t in cutting money from the budget because, sooner or later, that agency or that department will want the cuts restored. He said that the key is first determining what state government should be doing, then eliminating duplicative agencies, then streamlining processes so that the bureaucracies so that they’re more responsive to the public.

When asked if he thought if there were enough reform opportunities to balance the budget, Rep. Emmer pointed out the budget saving that could be realized just by implementing Rep. Gottwalt’s Healthy Minnesota Plan.

Sen. Senjem drove the point home by saying that making government more efficient and responsive to Minnesota’s needs would help Minnesota become a business friendly state that’s able to compete with anyone.

The thing that stood out to everyone who attended both events was that the DFL event was poorly attended and all but lifeless whereas the GOP portion was upbeat, filled with ideas and laying out an appealing agenda that Republicans will campaign on.

Also attending the event were GOP endorsed candidates John Pederson and Dave Brown, representing SD-15 and SD-16 respectively, along with King Banaian and Tim O’Driscoll, representing HD-15B and HD-14A respectively.

The GOP group was outgoing and upbeat. Also impressive was how they cheerfully answered all questions posed to them in a straightforward, facts first manner.

There was a detectable difference in energy levels, with there being significantly more energy, and more people attending, at the GOP event.

That Tarryl Clark, Larry Haws, House Majority Leader Sertich and Speaker Kelliher weren’t there spoke louder than anything in Sen. Pogemiller’s or Sen. Berglin’s presentation.

It truly was a case of the visuals telling the real story.

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Bring Me The News has an interesting post about the newly built Subcommittee on a Balanced Budget. According to Bring MeThe News, the committee members are:

Sen. Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL-Crystal, Senate Minority Leader Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, Senate President James Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, Sen. Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, chair of the Senate’s State Government Budget Division, Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, Rep. Thomas Huntley, DFL-Duluth, chair of the House Health Care and Human Services Finance Division, Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, chair of the House Tax Committee, Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Based on my superior observational skills, that’s eight pro-tax increase DFL legislators and two pro-growth Republicans. What could possibly go wrong?

Sen. Pogemiller issued this press release:

“We need to have an open and forthright conversation about how we can both tackle the coming budget shortfall and position our state for long-term economic success,” Pogemiller said in a released statement.

Sen. Pogemiller is totally on the wrong track. What we need is a straightforward conversation on why businesses, people and especially retirees are leaving Minnesota. It’s also time that Minnesotans had a straightfoward conversation about whether we should have a ‘government needs comes first’ approach to governing or whether we should have a ‘the people’s needs come first’ approach.

Until we have that discussion, all the look-good commissions in the world won’t solve Minnesota’s economic problems. Until we put people first, we’ll continue to ride the rollercoaster between feast and famine, aka surpluses and deficits. Putting in place policies that encourage increased entrepreneurial activity is the key to stabilizing Minnesota’s economy. It’s the path back to consistent economic growth and the return to prosperity.

Proving that they’re a one trick pony, the DFL gubernatorial candidates debated which was more committed to raising taxes:

The key question for the public employees is how the candidates will tackle the state’s looming $7 billion budget deficit, specifically, whether and how they will raise revenue as part of the solution.

Mark Dayton jumped on the issue first. The state must raise taxes on the wealthiest 10 percent of state households, he said without being asked. That stance makes it hard to raise campaign donations from his family, the former U.S. senator joked, but repeated: “If you do better, you ought to pay more. Read my lips: Tax the rich.”

Sen. Dayton, get your grubby mitts off We The People’s money. It’s time that the DFL admitted that “taxing the rich” won’t solve the deficit problem. It just helps feed the DFL’s spending addiction.

Last year, I attended a townhall meeting called by Rep. Steve Gottwalt. King Banaian was Steve’s guest to run through budget numbers and to talk about Minnesota’s economy. Of all the statistics covered that day, the statistic that jumped out most at me was that raising the top income tax bracket by 1 percentage point would increase revenues by $300,000,000. While that’s undoubtedly a big chunk of money, it’s tiny compared to last year’s $6,400,000,000 deficit. That tax increase still would’ve left the state $6,100,000,000 short of a balanced budget.

If Sen. Dayton were honest about his tax-the-rich policy, he’d admit that the best way to solve our deficit problems is by returning to a pro-prosperity approach to the economy. Ronald Reagan was famous for saying that “You don’t strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.” You can’t be pro-prosperity if your policies hurt the job creation engine of the United States, aka small businesses.

I predict that this gubernatorial and legislative candidates will have this conversation this cycle. I don’t think that conversation will help the DFL, especially in this TEA Party environment.

This new subcommittee’s recommendations are predictable in the sense that the report will say that we need to find new ways to tax the rich. That’s because the DFL hasn’t proposed any reforms that deliver services at a cheaper price. For the most part, reforms and prosperity aren’t part of the DFL’s priorities.

Until that changes, the DFL will be a one trick pony. That trick is based on meeting the needs of government first rather than meeting Minnesota families’ needs first.

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With minutes left to go in the session, Senate President Jim Metzen swore at Deputy Senate Republican Leader Michelle Fischbach when Fischbach raised concerns about the final minutes of the session, something that drew the ire of Senate Minority Leader Senjem:

“The ending of this session was a disgrace. I cannot believe what the Senate DFL did and Senate Majority Leader Pogemiller and the Senate DFL should be embarrassed,” Senate Republican Leader Dave Senjem (R-Rochester).

That isn’t all Senjem said:

“The legislative session is now complete and due to the Senate DFL’s lack of leadership, the Minnesota Senate did everything except something to solve the growing budget deficit,” said Senjem. “As of today, the Legislature only provided a solution of $800 million or 12.5 percent of the $6.4 billion budget deficit,” said Senjem. “The Senate DFL’s budget problem is simple mathematics: They passed legislation that spent $34 billion, but only $31 billion was available to spend. Minnesotans know that you can’t spend more money than you have.”

The bottom line is that the DFL failed to set priorities. Instead, they relied on raising taxes and on Obama’s aid to the states. Both strategies failed miserably.

The Senate GOP put out a list of things that the DFL failed to accomplish. Here’s the list:

The Senate DFL leadership failed in the following areas:

  • Failing to set priorities lead to the Senate DFL passing job killing tax increases. The Senate DFL campaign to make the wealthy “pay their fair share” by putting them into two of nation’s top 10 tax brackets would have hurt small-business owners who report business income as personal income, slowing their short-term growth and eating into their long-term investment capital.
  • Failed to set spending priorities lead to cuts to schools, nursing homes, hospitals, children, the elderly & disabled. The Senate DFL’s approach to solving the state’s $6.4 billion budget hole wasn’t to do some fine tuning around the state’s top priorities, but rather to take an axe and chop 7 percent across the board without any meaningful reforms or tools for local authorities to cope with those cuts.
  • Failed to set priorities lead to spending without reforms. An important education funding bill did not carry any significant reform to improve teacher quality at the college level or to provide incentives for academic achievement, no statewide teacher salary settlement reform, no changes to teacher union bargaining, and no satisfactory long-term solution for a statewide high school graduation math test replacement.
  • Failing to set priorities lead to hockey arena loan forgiveness and a soft on crime public safety bill. Despite attempts to remove a loan forgiveness provision, the Legislature passed a jobs and economic development bill that would have canceled the remaining $33 million of Xcel Energy’s $48 million hockey arena loan. Similarly, DFL cuts in public safety were originally made by reversing accomplishments in felony DWI and predatory offenders, mandatory minimum sentencing, and mental health treatment, and balances budgets by letting out convicted criminals.

Saying that the the DFL’s report card could look is understatement. The DFL’s biggest problem is that they don’t set priorities. The lobbyists’ wish lists are their budget targets. At some point, the word no had has to work its way into the conversation. I didn’t see the DFL say no very often except when it came cutting taxes but that’s not surprising.

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We’re safe for another year. Sort of. Rest assured that the DFL will spend this summer telling people that conservatives threw old people out into the street, that conservatives don’t care about children and that conservatives only care about the rich.

The reality is that the DFL refused to do its job. The DFL refused to set the right priorities. The DFL wouldn’t even propose a real budget. Instead, they carped all session about how Gov. Pawlenty’s budget didn’t do this or didn’t do that. Now it’s settled.

Gov. Pawlenty told legislators last Thursday that he’d take matters into his own hands if they didn’t pass a budget that included tax increases.

We should also thank the GOP House for sustaining each of Gov. Pawlenty’s vetoes. We should thank the Senate GOP for proposing many worthwhile reforms. Both sides of the GOP legislature worked hard to pass meaningful reforms. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the numbers to get good things accomplished.

Now it’s time we got to work and got these legislators alot more company when they start the 2011 session. It’s time that we contributed the money and the hours needed to make Dave Senjem the Senate Majority Leader and make Marty Seifert the next Speaker of the House.

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Based on Sen. Senjem’s press release, it isn’t a stretch to think that voters are noticing that the DFL is the party of reflexive tax increases and ineptitude. Here’s the text of Sen. Senjem’s statement:

STATEMENT FROM MINNESOTA SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER ON LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL RATING FROM KSTP/SURVEY USA

(St. Paul) — The recent release of a KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll showing the Minnesota Legislature to have 64 percent disapproval rating shows that the DFL leadership in the Legislature is leading Minnesota down the wrong path, said the top Republican in the Minnesota Senate Tuesday evening.

“With the DFL firmly in control of the House at a 2 to 1 margin, and having a better than 2 to 1 veto-proof majority in the Senate, this undoubtedly reflects on the DFL leadership of the Minnesota House and Senate,” said Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester).

“Lawmakers have been at the Capitol for four and a half months, and have done everything but something. We have wasted a lot of Minnesotans’ time and tax dollars getting no closer to a solution than when we began. This blame falls squarely on the shoulders of these legislative leaders.”

Senjem made the comments after a third tax bill was crafted by five members of a tax conference committee and forced through both legislative bodies during night sessions this week.

The DFL has 133 of the 201 seats in the House and Senate. With the DFL’s job approval rating sitting at 36% and with the DFL’s supermajorities in place, that means that each swing HD race theoretically tilts away from the DFL. Factor in that the DFL has alot more seats to defend this time around and the anti-establishment mood sweeping the nation and it there’s reason to think that 2010 might be a good year for the GOP.

The House and Senate GOP have done a good job of offering thoughtful alternatives to the DFL’s out of touch proposals, meaning that they’ll have an appealing set of alternatives to campaign on in 2010. They’ll be able to contrast the DFL’s tax early, tax often, status quo positions with the GOP’s thoughtful reforms on everything from free market-based health care reform to trimming the pork from the House and Senate operating budgets to setting intelligent priorities on public safety and transportation budgets and other budgets.

In the interest of candor, I wasn’t initially impressed with the Senate in 2007-2008. That’s changed this year. Sen. Senjem and the rest of his leadership staff deserve praise for pushing a solid reform agenda. Meanwhile, the DFL hasn’t ventured from their status quo agenda.

The DFL has refused to entertain serious reforms. They’ve even refused to cut their stamps budget. Currently, the limit is 5,500 stamps per legislator per year. Nobody uses that many in a year. For example, Sen. Senjem, the Senate Minority Leader, told bloggers that he uses approximately 2,000 per year. If we figure 2,000 stamps per legislator, that figures out to be a cost of approximately $60,000 a year for the entire Senate. When the DFL shot down Amy Koch’s proposed reduction, the stamps budget stayed at approximately $150,000.

Obviously, that savings isn’t enough to balance the budget. Still, the DFL’s vote against reducing their own budget told people that their talk of shared sacrifice was BS. The DFL’s definition of shared sacrifice means everyone but them shares in the sacrifice.

The closest that the DFL has come to proposing a reform has been Tarryl Clark’s legislation proposing combining parts of Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties that make up St. Cloud and renaming it Lake Wobegon County. Even in doing that, they said that they just wanted to “start the conversation” about this new structure.

In this post-Tea Party world, the DFL’s tax increases have hurt them, too. Instead of the DFL relenting to the wishes of their constituents, they’ve repeatedly sided with their lobbyist allies. It’s time that the DFL paid the price for their ignoring We The People.

Don’t be surprised if that’s what happens in eighteen months.

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