Archive for the ‘Kurt Zellers’ Category

This news article could’ve been written by Denise Cardinal or Carrie Lucking:

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $616 million tax cut plan for the state on Friday, and this is one measure that can truly be described as “bi-partisan.”

Lawmakers tell us that the bill was in the works for a short while as everyone knew this was something the state desperately needed.

Minnesota State Rep. Kim Norton, (D) Rochester, says she’s thrilled to have this bill passed and signed by the governor and having it pass quickly as some of the cuts apply to tax returns being filed right now.

“The Senate took the bill on the House floor this last week,” she said, “it was sent over to the house, we concurred with their bill very quickly, there was a little bit of discussion but there were no amendments on the house side. We were able to vote it into law and send it to the governor for his signature very quickly.”

It might have been a speedy process, but it was thorough.

That’s the definition of spin. First, the bill that Gov. Dayton just signed isn’t a tax cut. It’s mostly the repeal of a tiny portion of last year’s tax increase, which was the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. Next, the amount of taxes repealed didn’t come close to $616,000,000. It’s been reported that the repeal saved Minnesota taxpayers $440,000,000. Repealing taxes that haven’t gone into effect isn’t a tax cut.

Third, this bill wasn’t in the works just “a short while.” The repeal of the warehouse services sales tax, the farm equipment repair sales tax and the telecommunications sales tax were initially proposed prior to last summer’s special session. That’s 7 months ago. That’s longer than a legislative session by a couple months.

Fourth, the tax repair bill that Gov. Dayton signed wasn’t signed because he and the DFL legislature love cutting taxes. Gov. Dayton didn’t sign this bill because he hates raising taxes. Gov. Dayton signed this bill because not repealing these taxes would’ve been political suicide.

Fifth, the process wasn’t thorough. I wrote here about how little the DFL thought their tax increases through. Here’s the transcript between Rep. Kurt Zellers and Commissioner Myron 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.

The DFL’s leadership didn’t even think basic things through. Commissioner Frans couldn’t even answer basic questions about what would and wouldn’t be taxed.

Republicans shouldn’t kid themselves. The DFL’s praetorian guard, aka the Agenda Media, is already running interference for the DFL. Think of what it’ll be like when the campaign gets into full swing. Republicans should get out ahead of this issue now and return to it repeatedly. This isn’t the time to take things for granted. It’s time to demolish the Agenda Media’s premise before it’s considered the truth.

Repealing a tiny portion of the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history is just that: the repealing of a tiny portion of the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history.

A thief who steals some jewelry, a hi-definition big screen TV and some kitchen appliances is still a thief if the thief returns the kitchen appliances.

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According to the Minnesota Morning Watchdog, Tom Emmer got a shot of good news from last night’s precinct caucuses:

6th District Congress (97% Reporting):

Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%

Only 4.3% of caucus voters were undecided. While this straw poll isn’t binding, it can’t be ignored. Rhonda Sivarajah can’t be happy finishing 50 points behind Emmer. Phil Krinkie can’t be happy that he finished almost 60 points behind Emmer.

I’d be surprised if CD-6 delegates will be impressed with Commissioner Sivarajah’s or Rep. Krinkie’s showing. At this point, I’d argue that both face steep uphill fights to win the endorsement. I’d also argue that the odds of Tom Emmer winning a first ballot endorsement victory seem more likely this morning than they were a week ago.

In other straw poll news, Marty Seifert, Jeff Johnson and Dave Thompson appear to be heading for top 3 finishes in the gubernatorial straw poll. With 96% of precincts reporting, Seifert had 28% of the vote, followed by Dave Thompson with 26% and Jeff Johnson with 17%.

That’s got to put a smile on Sen. Thompson’s face. With a strong finish like that, Sen. Thompson can credibly tell potential contributors that his message is popular.

Marty Seifert has to be pleased, too. He can credibly tell potential contributors that he’s got the experience, organization and name recognition it’ll take to defeat Gov. Dayton.

While this wasn’t the strong showing the Johnson campaign was hoping for, Jeff Johnson must still be considered a top tier candidate. He’s got a solid fundraising team. He’s managing his resources well (he’s got the most cash-on-hand of the candidates) and he’s got a terrific record of being a fiscal conservative.

This couldn’t have been the night that Kurt Zellers was hoping for. Finishing a next-to-last 6th place with 8% can’t instill confidence in potential campaign contributors or in potential delegates.

Based on the results of last night’s U.S. Senate Straw Poll, it’s looking like it’s down to a 2-person race. With 96% of precincts reporting, Julianne Ortman led Mike McFadden by a 31%-22% margin. Finishing in third place was Undecided with 16%, followed by Jim Abeler with 15%.

With that many undecideds and soon-to-be undecided delegates, this is another race to watch.

Last night, I received an email from Jim Kroger, an assistant professor in the Accounting & Business Law department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Dr. Kroger had studied the campaign finance reports of the GOP gubernatorial candidates.

This post shouldn’t be interpreted as me expressing my preference for who runs against Gov. Dayton. This post is simply about Dr. Kroger’s studies.

Dr. Kroger’s spreadsheet, which doesn’t translate well into WordPress formatting, gives us some basic information. Specifically, it highlights the fundraising per week and the burn rate per week for each of the candidates. At this point, Marty Seifert has raised an average of $26,029 per week while spending $1,842 per week since entering the race in late November. By contrast, Scott Honour has raised an average of $14,142 per week while spending $14,132 per average week.

Kurt Zellers is raising $13,392 per week while spending $9,894 per week. He’s followed by Jeff Johnson, who is raising an average of $7,041 per week while spending an average of $2,091 per week, followed by Dave Thompson, who has raised an average of $4,559 per week while spending $2,673 per week.

Here are some of Dr. Kroger’s observations:

  1. Seifert’s average weekly individual cash contributions of $26,029 exceed Dayton’s average weekly individual cash contributions of $15,327 by $10,702. Presently, in Republican circles, one of the issues that is discussed is which candidate can raise enough money to be competitive against Dayton. Based on this analysis, which seeks to measure each candidate equally based on when they announced for governor, Seifert is by far the strongest fundraiser outperforming Honour by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.
  2. The average amount of cash burned per week by Zellers exceeds the average amount of cash burned per week by Dayton by 143%. The average amount of cash burned per week by Honour exceeds the average amount of cash burned per week by Dayton by 204% (more than double). In Republican circles it is often said that no candidate will be able to fundraise and spend more than Dayton. Based on how fast Zellers and Honour are blowing their cash and what they are burning it on, I would argue that both of their campaigns are wasteful and simply unsustainable on a long-term basis.
  3. Thompson ended the year with $50,283 cash on hand, but he also has unpaid bills of $28,235. This means that he essentially ended the year with approximately $20,000 cash on hand, which is the lowest next to Farnsworth. Given his monthly expenses, I would argue that Thompson’s campaign is either dead in the water or running on fumes. I suspect that his announcement of a running mate was the last gasp as he attempts to gain momentum and save what appears to be a sinking ship.
  4. Zellers has $44,300 or 11% of his total receipts coming from out-of-state; however, I discovered what may be a red flag issue. Zellers received $21,000 from 38 individuals in 8 states (Missouri, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, DC, New Jersey, and Florida) and ALL 38 contributors listed Express Scripts, a mail-order pharmacy, as their employer. This raised a red flag in my mind. Is Express Scripts funneling money to Zellers through these individuals? What ties does Zellers have to Express Scripts? What will Express Scripts expect if he is elected? Is Express Scripts trying to skirt lobbyist regulations? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it presents an interesting puzzle.
  5. Honour has $295,847 or 48-58% of his total receipts coming from out-of-state. It is 48% if you include his $101,000 loan to himself in total receipts and 58% if you exclude it. 189 of 368 total contributions to Honour’s campaign are from people outside of Minnesota and, in some cases, outside the United States (Singapore and London). 51% of all individuals contributing to Honour’s campaign are not Minnesotans. I counted 13 contributions from Beverly Hills, CA, 29 from Los Angeles, CA, and 16 from New York City. It appears that bankers, lawyers, and even an actress are the ones who think Honour would make a good governor. If you disregard the $295,847 that came from outside of Minnesota and the $101,000 loan that he gave himself then he only raised $217,919 from Minnesotans, which is less than both Johnson and Zellers. Further, the deep pockets that he tapped from outside of Minnesota often gave $4,000 so they cannot contribute again. I would argue both that Honour is not supported by the people of Minnesota and that his campaign is likely not sustainable due to fundraising concerns and wasteful spending. Having exhausted his out-of-state deep pockets and squandered the money, he must now look to the people of Minnesota or himself to fund his campaign. He ended the year with $14,251 on hand. I would argue that Honour’s campaign is more akin to the campaign of Farnsworth or Thompson and that Honour is nearly dead in the water or running on fumes.

Whether Dr. Kroger’s opinions hold up is subject to the test of time. Another thing that’ll require additional scrutiny is whether Marty Seifert can continue at his current fundraising pace. If he can, then he’ll be a formidable opponent for Gov. Dayton. Jeff Johnson’s figures aren’t gaudy but his burn rate is under control. That will matter over the course of a long campaign.

Each of these candidates would be a significant improvement over Gov. Dayton. It’s difficult to have faith in a politician who doesn’t know what’s in the bills he’s signed and negotiated.

Finally, tonight is precinct caucus night in Minnesota. If you want to shape this election, there’s no better place to be tonight than at your local precinct caucus. If you’ve never attended a precinct caucus, you’ll want to attend. It’s the best place to let your voice be heard. If you don’t know where your precinct caucus is being held, follow this link, then enter your zip code. It’s just that simple.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

June 8, 2012

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


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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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.

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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.

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