Archive for the ‘Kurt Zellers’ Category
I never thought I’d see the day when a political party would attempt to collect sales taxes from kids shovelling snow, mowing lawns or babysitting. That day just arrived:
Here’s the key exchange between Rep. Kurt Zellers and Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Frans:
REP. ZELLERS: But if I pay him every month $20 or $100, is that going to be or is he going to have to start collecting sales tax and remitting it to the State of Minnesota?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: …He probably would. If it was a monthly charge, then there likely would be a sales tax charge.
REP. ZELLERS: So then someone mowing my lawn, someone shovelling snow for me during the winter time or a babysitter?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: Those services would generally all be covered by the sales tax.
Wasn’t it just 6 months ago that Gov. Dayton and the DFL were insisting that kids mowing lawns and shovelling snow weren’t paying their fair share? Didn’t they insist that babysitters weren’t paying their fair share?
Wait a second. That’s right. The DFL didn’t. The DFL insisted that “the rich” weren’t “paying their fair share.” The DFL insisted that they were the champions of “working families.”
There’s nothing centrist about forcing kids to collect sales tax, then send it into the Minnesota Department of Revenue, because they mow their neighbor’s lawn or shovel their sidewalks or babysit their kids. Only the DFL would think that’s appropriate.
That isn’t disgusting. That’s beyond disgusting. That’s something only the DFL would think of.
How many LFR readers have gotten a 2% pay raise from their boss recently? Put your responses in the comments.
Speaker Kurt Zellers is certain to get criticized for his opinion on the newly negotiated contracts:
House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, is criticizing the proposed state employee contracts. Gov. Dayton and the state’s two largest public employee unions have agreed on new contracts that provide an across the board pay increase of 2 percent. The contracts also require employees to pay higher health insurance co-pays. Zellers appeared on conservative radio host Scott Hennen’s program, where he criticized the proposal.
“When you look at how many folks out there haven’t had a raise or haven’t had an increase in their paycheck or maybe took a cut in their paycheck, asking for a pay increase at this point in the economy, at this point where our nation is rebuilding, I think is overstepping the bounds,” Zellers said.
There’s no doubt that AFSCME and MAPE will complain that this is just another chapter in the Republicans’ war on working people. I’d recommend that Speaker Zellers ignore those complaints.
If AFSCME, MAPE and the SEIU start complaining about this administration’s war on minorities (unemployment is sky high) and people who aren’t unionized (wages have shrunk, unemployment is higher), then I’ll start listening.
Thus far, AFSCME, MAPE and the SEIU have sat silently about those subjects. I’m anything but surprised.
Steve Smith has apparently worn out his welcome in the House GOP Caucus:
Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers announced today that he’s backing Cindy Pugh over Rep. Steve Smith, R-Mound, in the August 14 primary. On his Facebook page, Zellers said he was backing Pugh because she “will represent the conservative values of the district.”
“On important issues like education, government reform and protecting child care providers from forced unionization, I know where Cindy stands. She stands with students, with taxpayers and with families. She isn’t someone who is going to let a special interest push her around.”
“Cindy is a true conservative, and she’s proven it through her years working on behalf of conservatives as a party and local volunteer. She is endorsed by the Republican Party, and is going to stand up for what is right, limited government, lower taxes and economic freedom. A vote for Cindy is a vote for the principles that make us conservative.”
Smith’s biggest sin is that he hasn’t listened to his constituents. In a deep red district, Smith has voted like Ron Earhardt or Arne Carlson. Meanwhile, Cindy Pugh is a solid conservative, a reliable vote for economic liberty and limited government.
Ms. Pugh’s website provides a glimpse into her agenda:
I have been an entrepreneur, a successful small business owner, and was the general manager of the downtown St. Paul Dayton’s store for many years. I became politically active a few years ago because I didn’t feel our elected officials were defending the values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, free markets and individual liberty and responsibility.
My top priorities as a legislator will be to foster job creation by reducing taxes and burdensome regulations on businesses, to keep spending in check with existing revenue, and to return meaningful control of public schools to parents and local school boards.
It’s time for the people to have a champion for their causes. It’s time to defeat a career politician who isn’t representing his district.
This week, the DFL launched a mini-PR offensive about the Dayton shutdown. People paying attention will recognize the talking points. If Paul Thissen is complaining about the shutdown, he’ll whine that we need DFL majorities to avoid another government shutdown. If Zach Dorholt talks about the shutdown, the message is that we just need more cooperation and compromise:
I am running for the Minnesota House because Minnesota can do better than political posturing and ideological obstructionism. When I am out talking with folks, they often cite partisan bickering as their top frustration. Regrettably, the shutdown exposed the harm of legislators who put rigid ideology and wealthy special interests above the needs of Minnesota.
Last summer, about 19,000 Minnesotans were laid off, state parks were closed, road construction was delayed, small businesses were unable to get permits…all resulting in the state losing millions of dollars, including lost revenue from lottery sales, tax audits and state fees and concessions.
Mr. Dorholt’s opponent is King Banaian. In his first term, King got an important reform passed that was part of the budget agreement that Gov. Dayton signed into law. The Sunset Advisory Commission will review all of the commissions, panels and other parts of Minnesota’s bureaucracy.
Not only did King get that important reform passed but he got substantial bipartisan support from a legislator who is miles apart from King ideologically. That legislator is Phyllis Kahn. In fact, that reform passed with 10 DFL legislators supporting the bill.
King has built up a bunch of goodwill because he’s kept his promises. When King announced that he was running, he said that the first bill he’d submit would create the sunset commission. Unlike other politicians, King’s kept his promises.
People respect that whether they agree with him (they should) or not.
Zach Dorholt’s LTE appears to be straight from the DFL’s Chanting Points hymnal. The budget gospel of the DFL is that Republicans were rigid ideologues while Gov. Dayton was the picture of diplomacy and graciousness. These documents provide a timeline through the final negotiations prior to the Dayton Shutdown.
Q: Why didn’t Mr. Dorholt mention the fact that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Koch and Speaker Zellers reached an agreement on June 29, 2011 that didn’t include tax increases?
A: Because then he’d have to admit that Gov. Dayton later went back on his word thanks to the $1,400,000,000 in tax increases that Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen insisted on.
Q: Why didn’t Mr. Dorholt mention that Gov. Dayton let the state government to be shut down 21 days before agreeing to the budget that he’d first accepted, then rejected, back on June 29, 2011?
A: Because that’d demolish Mr. Dorholt’s storyline that Republicans were rigid ideologues and that Gov. Dayton was the picture of diplomacy and graciousness. It also would’ve forced him to admit that Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen were the rigid ideologues in this fight.
Here is a timeline of the pre-shutdown negotiations:
- June 29: Governor Dayton drops push for tax increases but keeps spending demands.
- June 29: Republicans offer to accept higher spending in exchange for government reforms.
- June 30: Governor Dayton offer goes back on his word, asks for tax increases.
- June 30: Governor Dayton makes a second offer, without tax increases, asking instead for a 50/50 school funding delay.
- June 30: Republicans respond with a proposal for a 60/40 school shift and proceeds from the sale of tobacco settlement bonds. No policy included. This was the GOP’s final offer.
- June 30: For the second time, Governor Dayton goes back on his word and brings back his demand for tax increases. This was the governor’s final offer.
- June 30: GOP leaders deliver a proposed lights-on bill to Governor Dayton.
- June 30: Governor Dayton rejects lights-on bill, announces there will be a government shutdown.
It’s stunning that Gov. Dayton twice dropped his demands for tax increases only to rescind those agreements at Sen. Bakk’s and Rep. Thissen’s insistence. What’s more stunning is Gov. Dayton’s rejection of a light’s on bill that would’ve funded state government while he, Sen. Koch and Speaker Zellers negotiated a final budget settlement. This puts the final blame for the shutdown squarely on Gov. Dayton’s, Sen. Bakk’s and Rep. Thissen’s shoulders.
Ultimately, Gov. Dayton alone is to blame for rejecting a lights-on funding bill that would’ve prevented 20,000 state employees from getting laid off for 3 weeks.
Mr. Dorholt is right that “Minnesota can do better than political posturing and ideological obstructionism.” They did exactly that the first Tuesday of November, 2010 when they threw out the obstructionist DFL majorities in the House and Senate. The GOP promised that they wouldn’t raise taxes if they won the majority. Prior to the 2010 midterm election, the DFL went had a 46-21 veto-proof majority in the Senate and an 87-47 seat supermajority in the House.
When the dust settled early on Wednesday morning, the GOP held a 37-30 majority in the Senate and a 72-62 seat majority in the House. Of the 201 races settled in 2010, Republicans flipped 41 DFL seats in the House and Senate.
The GOP House and Senate majorities kept their promises to the people of Minnesota. They didn’t raise taxes. They balanced the budget. They reformed government. I’d submit that that’s the reason why the DFL is whining. Gov. Dayton twice went back on his promises to the GOP leadership in negotiations. It’s only logical that the DFL would frown upon people who kept their word.
Tags: State Government Shutdown, Mark Dayton, Paul Thissen, Tom Bakk, Zach Dorholt, Budget Negotiations, Tax Increases, Broken Promises, Ideologues, DFL, Kurt Zellers, King Banaian, , Amy Koch, MNGOP, Election 2010
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
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.
Tags: Constitutional Amendment, ACLU-MN, League of Women Voters-MN, Common Cause, DFL State Convention, Absentee Ballots, Election Integrity, Precinct Caucuses, Straw Polls, DFL, Kurt Zellers, Dave Senjem, Photo ID, We The People, MNGOP, Election 2012
I got mental whiplash after reading this op-ed. First, here’s the introduction:
So there I was, in late February, a lifelong, die-hard progressive DFL mom from Minneapolis, sitting in the governor’s office with Rep. Branden Petersen, a die-hard conservative Republican dad from Coon Rapids.
We were there to see if Gov. Mark Dayton would consider signing Petersen’s bill to get rid of “last in, first out” (LIFO), a law that forces school districts to make teacher layoffs based solely on seniority, instead of effectiveness.
Branden and I are unlikely political allies who don’t agree on much except that every kid deserves the best possible teacher and that LIFO is really stupid. According to a recent poll, 91 percent of Minnesotans agree.
In a nonpolitical world, this isn’t close. Getting 9 out of 10 people to agree on anything is almost impossible. It’s only possible if undeniable common sense is applied to an important issue. That’s what’s happened here.
If Gov. Dayton vetoes this legislation, Speaker Zellers should immediately bring this up for an override vote. Let’s see how many DFL legislators are willing to walk the plank for EdMinn. The override vote on this legislation has the potential to flip DFL districts that shouldn’t be in play.
Anyhow, the rest of the meeting followed the usual talking points of my beloved DFL tribe. We were told there’s no proven way to know which teachers are effective; that student academic growth data isn’t reliable; that the state would need many years to design and test evaluations before it could even consider using them in layoffs; that teachers were feeling demoralized and besieged, ditto for unions, etc., etc.
“Besides, what’s the hurry?” asked the governor. “If it’s such a good idea, why not introduce it next session?”
Have I mentioned yet that GOP legislators mostly drive me nuts? That I hate their creepy obsessions with gays, guns, voter ID, various lady parts, right-to-work nonsense and tax breaks for overpaid CEOs? That I fervently hope the DFL retakes the state Legislature this November?
But that brings me to what the hurry is: If the DFL regains control of the Legislature, we can kiss most education reforms goodbye. Because, on this topic, my party acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of Education Minnesota, which, frankly, doesn’t do much for our credibility with ordinary voters.
The fact that is op-ed was written by a progressive activist should shout to “ordinary people” that the DFL shouldn’t be trusted with the majority because they’re acting “like a wholly owned subsidiary of Education Minnesota.”
If EdMinn opposes common sense reforms that have the support of 91% of the people, the party that acts “like a wholly owned subsidiary of Education Minnesota” shouldn’t be given gavels in 2013 under any circumstances.
Ms. Mikkelsen has made a pretty impressive case for keeping the GOP in the majority in 2013. Minnesota needs education reform ASAP. The current model is broken. We can’t count on the DFL to reform education. In fact, we can count on them not lifting a finger on reforming education.
When Gov. Dayton vetoes the LIFO legislation, Speaker Zellers needs to put DFL legislators in a difficult situation. ASAP. Letting the EdMinn machine destroy kids’ lives in the name of protecting teachers isn’t ok.
Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Kurt Zellers spoke out in this statement about passing LIFO, the Last In, First Out bill. Here’s what he said:
“Seniority privilege should not trump student achievement. Decisions about who to fire, layoff and even promote in Minnesota classrooms are based solely on seniority and ignore teacher effectiveness.
Minnesota is one of a dozen states that require Last in, First Out based as part of state law. The Minnesota House of Representatives today approved legislation that removes this rigid and outdated state law. Experience matters but the number of years served is not an adequate measure of ability, competence and success in teaching kids.
We need to stand up for students. Our education reform agenda was developed to help students, close the achievement gap and ensure great, quality teachers in the classroom. Ending the Last In, First Out practice is a great step in the right direction.”
Of course, EdMinn’s puppets, aka the DFL, didn’t see things that way:
Democrats say they agree that Minnesota’s system of seniority-based layoffs is outdated and needs to be changed to base those decisions on performance. But there are too many issues that haven’t been addressed, and it’s linked to an evaluation system for teachers that won’t be developed for another two years, they say.
Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, said letting go of teachers based on evaluations that could be up to 3 years old and is private data under state law is a recipe for an explosion of lawsuits. If a teacher is laid off, he said, they have no ability to determine why they were let go because of those privacy laws. “I have no ability to find that out. That’s going to bring me into the courtroom. That’s going to bring in the lawyers,” Davnie said.
If Rep. Davnie is so worried about these evaluations and the treatment of data privacy, he should write legislation that fixes those things rather than just whining about them. To be fair, solutions aren’t the DFL’s specialty.
This sounds like the type of spin that EdMinn would use in opposing reforms without sounding like they’re opposed to important reforms. Make no mistake about it. EdMinn is opposed to LIFO legislation, partially because it’s something that Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization supports:
LIFO isn’t the silver bullet that will singlehandedly fix Minnesota’s schools. It’s another important step in reforming Minnesota’s learning system.
Since regaining the majority in the House and gaining the majority in the Senate for the first time ever, Republicans have enacted important reforms. Their biggest reform in education thus far has been getting Gov. Dayton to sign the Alternative Teacher Licensure legislation.
That was part of Reform 1.0; LIFO is part of Republicans’ Reform 2.0 agenda. The test now is on whether the DFL will reflexively reject reforms or whether they’ll accept Republicans’ straightforward reforms. The jury’s still out on that.
There’s spin, then there’s professional spin and then there’s championship level spin that Katie Tinucci practices. Check this spin out:
Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci in a statement responded to the filing of the lawsuit. “The debate around unionization of family childcare providers started years before Governor Dayton was elected to office,” she said.
“By refusing to call for an election, his predecessors denied licensed, registered family child care providers the chance to decide for themselves whether or not they want to form a union. Governor Dayton believes they should have the right to make that decision.”
It’s worth noting that Gov. Pawlenty knew the legal definition of a public employee. More importantly, he didn’t disregard Minnesota state statutes on the matter. It’s apparent that Ms. Tinucci is doing everything except admitting that Gov. Dayton cares more about paying off his political allies than obeying the law.
Everyone who’s followed this law knows that this isn’t anything except Gov. Dayton’s paying off the people that got him elected.
Minnesota state statutes say that child care providers can’t be considered government employees. Eventually, we’ll find out whether Minnesota’s courts read the laws as written or whether they favor defining the law as they see fit.
The list of professions that qualify as public employees is exhaustive and straightforward. The law is tightly written. There isn’t any wiggle room in the definition. Still, AFSCME and SEIU thugs continue to argue otherwise:
Eric Lehto, organizing director for AFSCME Minnesota Council 5, called the lawsuit “frivolous.”
“Governor Dayton has legal authority to direct the Bureau of Mediation Services to conduct a union election and to determine appropriate bargaining units of child care providers. Voters in this election include only licensed, subsidized providers who have a direct financial relationship with the state of Minnesota,” Lehto said in a statement.
“If a majority of providers come together in a democratic process, Gov. Dayton will recognize their professional voice. Union membership will be voluntary and all providers will retain their constitutional right to participate in the policy making process.”
Mr. Lehto isn’t telling the whole truth. If telling the whole truth was important to Mr. Lehto, he would’ve mentioned that the child care providers that don’t get to vote on unionization will have to pay Fair Share fees to either AFSCME or the SEIU.
If Mr. Lehto put a priority on telling the truth, he would’ve mentioned that AFSCME and SEIU intend to negotiate regulations for child safety, educational materials and other things. He didn’t mention that these issues financially affect the child care providers’s that don’t get to vote on unionization but who will pay union dues.
If Gov. Dayton wants to blame anyone for the unionization vote, he needn’t look further than the mirror. If Gov. Dayton wasn’t the unions’ puppet, this vote wouldn’t be happening. If Gov. Dayton respected settled Minnesota law, this vote wouldn’t be happening.
Gov. Dayton’s letter to Speaker Zellers and Majority Leader Dean is the rant of an unhinged person. Check it out yourself:
Yes, Gov. Dayton, we think that the SEIU and AFSCME won’t hesitate to do anything if they think it’ll help them accumulate more political power. In fact, we have proof that they will.
When the Fleebagger 14 left Wisconsin rather than do what they were elected to do, AFSCME threatened businesses. They had the choice of either displaying the union sign in their window or have the unions boycott their store.
I’ve read about SEIU stormtroopers attempted to threaten a bank official:
Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America, a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that, in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action, makes his family fair game.
Gov. Dayton, there’s substantial proof that PEUs do nefarious things in their quest to accumulate political power.
One thing that’s become clear in the hours following the end of the state government shutdown is that DFL legislators didn’t offer many constructive ideas for fixing the budget problem. Their leadership, especially Rep. Thissen, the House Minority Leader, didn’t offer an alternative budget. They only offered criticism of anything the GOP offered. A great example of the DFL’s criticism is Rep. Thissen’s statement released after the session:
Today, the Republicans will impose their beg-borrow-and-steal budget on the people of Minnesota.
Republicans had not 1, not 2, but 7 opportunities to agree to a better budget, a budget that actually solves the state deficit now, has the support of a vast majority of Minnesotans, and defends middle class families. Republicans could have supported the Governor’s plan that cut $2 billion from state government and asked millionaires to pay their fair share.
However, the Republicans refused every single attempt at a fair budget, forcing this borrow-and-spend non-solution on the people of Minnesota in order to end a painful government shutdown.
The lengths to which this Republican majority will go to protect corporate special interests and the richest of the rich are astounding. Their budget forces the state to beg from seniors and the disabled with draconian budget cuts, borrow money to temporarily fill the deficit with one-time funds, and steal from our children’s future by expanding the K12 school shift.
Minnesota loses with this budget. In 2 years, we will face another massive deficit while in the meantime middle class families will pay more and get less. The only winners today are the defenders of the unworkable status quo. The winners are the millionaires and special interests who are given yet another Republican break.
At no point during the session, during the shutdown or the special session did Rep. Thissen or other members of the DFL leadership offer a positive alternative. Their only suggestion was more. More taxes, more spending, more borrowing. The dirty little secret is that the DFL school shift would’ve shorted school districts more than the Republican shift will do.
By contrast, Republicans passed a long list of reforms that will reduce the size of the state workforce, bend the health care cost curve down, review government agencies to determine whether they’re still serving a useful purpose, whether they should be restructured or eliminated altogether.
The list of GOP reforms is lengthy to the point that it’ll take time to read through it and sort it according to impact.
Comparing the positive impact that GOP reforms will have with the DFL’s nonexistent list of positive contributions is a night-and-day difference.
The only objective evaluation of the parties is that the difference in productivity is stark. It’s that simple.
This afternoon, I heard the disturbing word that a couple of Gov. Dayton’s commissioners didn’t get the memo that Gov. Dayton isn’t opposed to all reforms and policies. He’s just opposed to policies like banning cloning and Photo ID.
What I’m told is that a couple of Dayton’s commissioners are insisting on keeping in place the policies from the previous administration. Based on comments made by Gov. Dayton, Speaker Zellers and Leader Koch on Almanac last night, a number of reforms are very much up for consideration.
If Gov. Dayton’s commissioners reject reforms like King Banaian’s Sunset Commission and priority-based budgeting, then this deal should collapse. Furthermore, they should expect to be blamed for the deal collapsing.
Perhaps it’s that they simply didn’t get clear instructions. Perhaps it’s because they’re getting their instructions from Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen, the men who caused the shutdown. Perhaps they’re just being obstinant.
Whatever is causing Gov. Dayton’s commissioners to reject the GOP’s reforms, it must stop ASAP. PERIOD. Which reforms make it into the final bill is negotiable. Whether GOP reforms make it into the final bill is settled.
I’d further add that DFL legislators better vote for these reforms. In report after report, article after article, the word is that DFL votes will be hard to come by. They’ve got the authority to do that.
Should they opt to vote against King Banaian’s priority-based budgeting bill or his Sunset Commission bill, they’d better expect to run face-first into advertising telling voters that they voted against making agencies justify their spending once every 4 years. They’d better expect to run face-first into advertising saying that they voted for maintaining the status quo structure of government.
Like I said, that’s their right but they’d be foolish exercising that right that way right after the electorate rejected status quo government. I’ll just add that this isn’t a passing fancy with conservatives and TEA Party activists. This is a hill worth fighting on.
I would’ve said fighting and dying on but I’m confident that I’ve got more than enough support statewide to avoid fighting and dying on this important hill.
The American Experiment put this list of reforms together that should be considered:
Education Finance (HF934)
- Early Graduation Achievement Scholarship Program (Art. 1, Sec. 6)
- District and Charter School and School District Grading System and School Recognition Program (Art. 2, Sec. 5)
- Teacher Evaluations (Art. 2, Sec. 20)
- Enrollment Options for Students at Low-Performing Public Schools (Public school transfer option only as private tuition option is almost certainly controversial) (Art. 2, Sec. 33)
- Literacy Incentive Aid (Art. 2, Sec. 51)
- Implementing a Performance-Based Evaluation System for Principals (Art. 2, Sec. 56)
- Report; Recommendations for Increasing Schools’ Financial Flexibility (Art. 2, Sec. 58)
Education Policy (HF1381) School Districts’ Joint Operation and Innovative Delivery of Education (Art. 2, Sec. 47)
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Finance (HF1010) Evaluation of State and Local Water-Related Programs, Policies, and Permits (Art. 4, Sec. 50)
Higher Education (HF1101) Payments for Meeting Three of Five Performance Goals (Art. 1, Sec. 4, Subd. 3)
HHS Finance (SF760)
- Electronic Benefit Transfer Card (Art. 1, Sec. 10
- Community Health Center Grants (Art. 2, Secs. 21 and 24)
- Evaluation of HHS Regulatory Responsibilities (Art. 2, Sec. 29)
- Long-Term Care Contribution from Community Spouse (Art. 3, Sec. 7)
Medicaid Payment Reform:
- Payment for In-Reach Community-Based Service Coordination [ER User Care Coordination] (Art. 5, Sec. 37)
- Health Care Home Coordination with Social Services for High Need Patients (Art. 5, Sec 46
- Hospitalization rates and Subsequent Hospitalizations Included as Managed Care Performance Targets (Art. 5, Sec 47)
- Automatic Enrollment in Managed Care for Persons with Disabilities w/ Opt Out (Art. 5, Sec 49)
- Managed Care Provider Payment Withhold (Art. 5, Sec. 50)
Minnesota CHOICE Medicaid Waiver
- Reimplementation of funding for Coordinated Care Delivery Systems, assuming adequate funding/federal match (Art. 5, Secs. 57,58, 59)
- Healthy Minnesota Contribution Program (Art. 5, Sec. 66)
- Plan to Coordinate Care for Children with High-Cost Mental Health Conditions (Art. 5, Sec. 77)
Studies on More Cost-Effective Treatment for Medicaid:
- Specialized Maintenance Therapy (Art. 5, Sec. 79)
- Benefit Set Options (Art. 5, Sec. 80)
- Reducing Hospitalization Rates (Art. 5, Sec. 81)
- Medicaid Fraud Prevention and Detection (Art. 5, Sec. 82)
- Wound Care Treatment (Art. 5, Sec. 83)
My Life, My Choices (Art. 6, Secs. 1 and 43)
Simplification of Eligibility and Enrollment Process (Art. 5, Sec. 18)
Jobs and Economic Development Finance (SF887) Monitoring Pass-Through Grant Recipients (Art. 2, Sec. 2) State Government Operations (SF1047)
- Sunset Advisory Commission to review state agencies and advisory committees (Art. 3 Sec. 2)
- State employee competition for state business (Art. 3, Sec 26)
- State Agency Value Initiative Program (Art. 3, Sec. 27)
- Require performance measurement to be “outcome-based and objective” (Art 3, Sec 29)
- Zero-based/outcome-based budgeting (Art. 3, Sec. 32)
- Employee gainsharing system (Art. 3, Sec. 35)
- MN Pay for Performance Act/Human Capital Performance Bonds Pilot Project (Art. 3, Sec. 36)
- Public employee-based pay based on performance appraisal (Art. 3, Sec. 47)
- State Building Efficiency (Art. 3, Sec. 61)
- Fleet Management Improvements (Art. 3, Sec. 62)
- State Employee Efficient Use of Health Care Incentive (Art. 3, Sec. 64)
- Tax fraud Prevention and Detection (Art. 3, Sec 67)
- Strategic Sourcing Request for Proposals (Art. 3, Sec. 68)
- Consolidation of Information Technology Services (Art. 4)
- Minnesota Accountable Government Innovation and Collaboration Act (HF1579)
I know that a number of these reforms are dead in the water while there’s a DFL governor in office. Still, alot of these reforms are so common sense that they shouldn’t be viewed as partisan issues. For instance, what justification can be made for not making state agencies justify every penny that they’re spending? If that issue got polled by KSTP-SurveyUSA, I’d bet it’d get supported by 75+ percent of the people. If they polled the Sunset Commission reform after explaining what it was, I’d bet that 75% of people would support it, too. It’s just too logical not to be included in the final bill. It’s time that Gov. Dayton’s commissioners and DFL legislators, especially Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen, got the memo that their attempts to sabotage the deal won’t be taken lightly. There’s a reason why Gov. Dayton cancelled the last part of his trip and agreed to the GOP’s budget. Gov. Dayton agreed to the GOP budget because it’s much more popular than is getting reported. If the DFL wants to head into an election year on the wrong side of alot of important reforms, that’s their choice. It just isn’t a bright choice.
Technorati: Government Shutdown, Mark Dayton, Budget Deal, Commissioners, Status Quo, DFL, Sunset Commission, Priority-Based Budgeting, King Banaian, Health Care, Steve Gottwalt, MNGOP, Advertising Campaign, Election 2012