Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category

Gov. Dayton is certainly liberal but he certainly isn’t a constitutional scholar. According to this Strib article, Gov. Dayton got a little testy with North Dakota for winning a lawsuit regarding the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. Unfortunately, the lawsuit won’t cause the NGEA to be voided. The good news is that the Supreme Court will make short work of this.

The NGEA imposes restrictions on other states by banning Minnesota utilities from “signing deals to import coal-generated electricity.” It’s entirely unsurprising that “North Dakota sued and won on the grounds that the law constitutes a trade barrier between the two states that is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.”

Specifically, that restriction is forbidden by the Interstate Commerce Clause. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 gives the federal government the authority “[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The text is clear. States aren’t allowed to put restrictions on other states that might hurt that state’s economy. Allowing Minnesota to dictate to North Dakota what it must do or can’t do is, essentially, taking over another state’s sovereign authority.

BONUS QUESTION: How would Gov. Dayton react if North Dakota’s governor signed a bill into law that forced Minnesota to build a pipeline across northern Minnesota?

Gov. Dayton didn’t just expose his lack of constitutional expertise. He went on another diatribe:

He said North Dakota has “its head in the sand,” and that Minnesota would continue to litigate to protect air quality.

What’s especially delicious is this statement:

Dave Glatt, head of the environmental health section for the North Dakota Dept. of Health, said his state is one of just a handful meeting all ambient air quality standards established by the EPA. He said roughly 25 percent of North Dakota’s total electric generation comes from wind and hydroelectric power, both non-carbon sources. Total carbon emissions are down 11 percent below 2005 levels despite the Bakken oil boom, Glatt said. He acknowledged the carbon intensity of the Bakken oil boom but said Minnesota has benefited from the boom. Oil prices have plunged in part due to a rapid rise in supply in places like North Dakota.

Gov. Dayton, stick that in your stovepipe and smoke it.

Gov. Dayton took some well-deserved heat Friday when he held a meeting in the Isle High School auditorium. He got criticized because he didn’t know what he was talking about and because the MNDNR has lost its credibility. A resort owner said that “the DNR’s numbers are skewed from the beginning. From the minute they say that netting over spawn beds is not affecting the walleye population, that’s nuts.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that netting spawning beds will dramatically (and negatively) affect the walleye population of any lake. What does the DNR think happens when you remove walleyes that are trying to breed from the lake? Does the DNR think that they’re magically replaced by other breeding walleyes?

Another thing that Gov. Dayton got criticized for was his mentioning restocking the lake. That’s beyond foolish. As recently as the early 1990s, Mille Lacs Lake produced more walleye fry than all of the state’s fisheries combined. It isn’t possible for the DNR to restock Mille Lacs without hurting most of their other restocking projects across the state. Mathematically, it’s simply impossible.

Thankfully, legislators are pushing back against a special session:

“I think the suggestion of a special session is a little bit premature,” said Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, chair of the House Mining and Outdoor Recreation Committee. The state should look at alternatives, he said, such as promoting other fishing options on the lake and catch-and-release requirements for walleye.

Hackbarth said he isn’t convinced the DNR should be shutting down walleye fishing on Mille Lacs at all.

“Maybe we can get past this without closing the season, and that would take care of a lot of the economic problems that they’re having in the area,” he said. “How critical is it that we close it right now? Maybe we don’t need to do that.”

Rep. Hackbarth is onto something. In fact, he might’ve identified a long-term solution to the problem. The guides in the area have talked about the increase in the northern and musky populations. If Explore Minnesota started highlighting the quality musky fishing on the lake, that might reduce musky populations enough to help the walleyes rebound. I wouldn’t hesitate in highlighting the smallmouth fishing to be had on the north end of the lake.

I wish I could say that I’m surprised that Gov. Dayton defended his unfair pay raises for a set of incompetent commissioners but that’s what he did:

Gov. Mark Dayton followed through on his promise Wednesday, giving two dozen cabinet members and other commissioners salary increases. It’s essentially the same set of pay hikes Dayton granted in January before lawmakers voted to rescind the raises in the midst of a political uproar over them. The same legislation granted the DFL governor a one day window to reauthorize the pay, on July 1. And he used that power, citing the need to attract and retain high quality administrators for multi-billion-dollar state agencies.

“I do believe in government. I believe the issue isn’t smaller or larger government, it’s better or worse government,” Dayton told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “And my goal is to make government better.”

As I wrote yesterday, some commissioners are utterly incompetent. Yesterday, Gov. Dayton complained about getting criticized for his foolish decision. Here’s what he said:

GOV. DAYTON: It’s very, very frustrating to me that their bottom line goal seems to be to discredit government as much as possible, discredit me, build up some political talking points so they can get re-elected next time.

Giving incompetents like Myron Frans a $35,000 annual pay raise isn’t justified. When he was commissioner of the Department of Revenue, he projected revenue from electronic pull tabs to be $35,000,000/yr. That was the projection. The reality was $1,700,000/yr. That’s a shortfall of 95%.

When governors give $35,000 pay raises to a commissioner that was off by 95% with an important forecast, it isn’t difficult to discredit that governor. In fact, I’d argue that it’s impossible to make that governor look anything but incompetent.

Gov. Dayton whines about Republicans wanting to discredit him. The best way to prevent that is to stop doing stupid things. Unfortunately, there’s little chance that Gov. Dayton will stop making foolish decisions before he leaves office.

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Gov. Dayton is proudly proclaiming that Minnesota is the best state to do business in. He’s basing that propaganda on CNBC’s latest ranking. After looking at how they arrived at the categories that they ranked states on, it’s easy to see how CNBC arrived at their ridiculous ratings. First, it’s important to know this about the rating system:

For example, if more states tout their low business costs, the “Cost of Doing Business” category carries greater weight. That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.

According to CNBC’s report, workforce is the most important category, followed by cost of doing business and infrastructure, economy, quality of life, technology & innovation, education, business friendliness, cost of living and, finally, access to capital.

Minnesota ranked 13th in workforce, 35th in cost of doing business, 9th in infrastructure, 5th in economy, 3rd in quality of life, 6th in technology and innovation, 2nd in education, 23rd in business friendliness, 32nd in cost of living and 23rd in access to capital.

CNBC’s ratings only tell us what the states think of themselves. They don’t tell us what businesses think of the state. The fact that more businesses are leaving Minnesota than are moving to Minnesota is the best indicator of what businesses think.

That isn’t to say that Minnesota is getting everything wrong. There are some things that we can build off of. It’s just that there’s a handful of important things that we’d better correct if we want to be the best. Lowering the cost of doing business is essential. That’s only possible by streamlining government, especially regulations. Cutting special deals with a couple companies to entice them here, then shafting businesses that are already here, which the Dayton administration has done, needs to change, too.

UPDATE: King Banaian’s article for the Center for the American Experiment highlights similar points. This point is especially noteworthy:

If you’re a state that isn’t particularly business friendly, you don’t talk about that in your marketing materials. You emphasize other things. You puff your materials with discussion of quality of life and how hardworking your workers are and ignore the areas where your policies might make business a little harder to conduct. And CNBC will go right along and take weight off those things, if the rest of the states are doing the same thing.

I can’t emphasize enough the fact that CNBC’s article isn’t a serious economic statement. It’s a statement based off of the states’ PR statements.

Laurel Beager’s interview with Sen. Bakk highlights Sen. Bakk’s disconnect with reality. Nothing demonstrates that better than this paragraph:

Some of the disappointment of the session may stem from high expectations going into the session, he said. “We came off a tremendously successful biennium in 2013-14 with a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and Democratic governor. We did things that were historic.”

After the all-DFL government, voters threw out the DFL House majority. They didn’t see it as “a tremendously successful biennium,” which is the only opinion that matters. Further, Speaker Daudt is viewed as the most popular legislator in the state from either party. It isn’t really close.

That’s especially true considering the fact that DFL senators tried throwing Bakk out as Senate Majority Leader during Friday night’s special session. Add into that equation the fact that some progressive bloggers started a petition to remove Sen. Bakk as Majority Leader. That petition had 584 signatures 24 hours later.

Sen. Bakk survived the hostile takeover but that’s hardly proof that he’s heading into a calm 2016 session. The same bloggers that wanted Bakk gone as Senate Majority Leader were upset with the news that he’d negotiated a tax relief package with Sen. David Hann, the Senate Minority Leader. After sessions like that, it isn’t surprising that Sen. Bakk got out of St. Paul in a hurry:

After Sen. Majority Leader Tom Bakk traded his suit for jeans, got in his car and headed north at 6 a.m. Saturday following adjournment of the special session, he said he became incredibly emotional.

“You’ve been so wrapped up in everything for five and half months you can’t help but reflect on what happened, what didn’t happen and the things you could have done differently to get maybe a little better outcome. Because it can always be better,” he said. Three and a half hours later, when he arrives at his home in Cook, he’s emotionally exhausted. The leader of the Minnesota Senate must be deep in the trenches of the session and he said he’s emotionally and physically exhausted.

He then heads for some time at the lake cabin. “I can get away from the phones, the mail, and just watch a bobber for a couple days,” he said.

For someone who’s been ambushed and who’s done some ambushing, I can imagine him wanting nothing to do with St. Paul for a while.

Rep. Jennifer Schultz’s op-ed is yet another op-ed that discounts Gov. Dayton’s disastrous decisions:

On Friday, the Minnesota Legislature held a special session that concluded a disappointing year. Like most Minnesotans, I was not pleased the Legislature was unable to conclude its business on time or with the content of the resulting compromise bills.

Let’s modify Rep. Schultz’s statement to fit with reality. Here’s what it would say if it was accurate:

On Friday, the Minnesota Legislature held a special session that concluded a disappointing year. Like most Minnesotans, I was not pleased that Gov. Dayton wasted the last week of the regular session negotiating 2 budget bills. When Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk booted Gov. Dayton from the room that Friday afternoon, they negotiated and finalized the other 4 budget bills in less than 2 hours. That says everything about who’s to blame for the special session.

Let’s be blunt. There were rumors swirling around the Capitol the last 2 weeks of the session that the DFL thought that they could win the government shutdown if it happened. Gov. Dayton spent an entire week fighting for bills that went nowhere. When Gov. Dayton left the room, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk finished the budget in what was left of that Friday afternoon.

Most disappointing was the ongoing failure to address the issue of transportation infrastructure. In greater Minnesota, we are used to living at the end of a very long road to anywhere, but we would like that road to be safe and efficient for our businesses and people. A bipartisan commission worked hard to develop a plan to solve the problems that a decade of neglect of transportation infrastructure left us and to create the new infrastructure we need to prosper in the 21st century. This is critical for the economic growth of the state and especially of our area but has been derailed by shortsighted demands for a free lunch and refusals to create the revenue streams needed.

The DFL’s insistence that another tax increase was required stopped transportation dead in its tracks. The Republicans’ plan showed that a tax increase wasn’t required. There isn’t a compromise position on this issue. There will either be a tax increase or there won’t. When a tax increase isn’t needed, taxes shouldn’t be increased.

Further, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk, Sen. Dibble and Move MN pushed a plan that didn’t prioritize fixing Minnesota’s potholed roads. I won’t shed a tear that the DFL coalition’s plan didn’t pass. Gov. Dayton and the DFL should’ve listened to the people, not the lobbyists.

If Rep. Schultz wants to blame someone for this session, she should blame Gov. Dayton.

This morning, the St. Cloud Times’ Our View editorial couldn’t get it more wrong:

Seriously, short of breaking the two-party stranglehold on state government, this session stands as Minnesota’s poster child for reforming a budget-building process that’s come to rely on procrastination as a feeble excuse for letting a handful of 202 elected officials (201 legislators and one governor) make closed-door budget deals as time expires. Or, this year, afterward.

More transparency is the best solution.

This isn’t an argument against transparency. It’s an argument that ideology, not transparency, drove the special session. Time after time, Gov. Dayton pushed items from the DFL’s special interest wish list. While neither party is immune to pushing things too far, it’s indisputable that the DFL pushed it too hard this session. In fact, I’d argue that the DFL got used to pushing things too far in 2013-14, then didn’t adjust to divided government this year.

Gov. Dayton insisted on a trifecta of bad ideas. First, Gov. Dayton insisted on a major gas tax increase that Minnesotans vehemently opposed. Next, Gov. Dayton insisted on universal pre-k. Even after experts said that wasn’t sustainable, Gov. Dayton didn’t relent until a week later. Finally, Gov. Dayton insisted that the legislature repeal the partial privatization of the Auditor’s office a week after Gov. Dayton signed the bill.

The gas tax increase was a disaster waiting to happen. Three-fourths of Minnesotans opposed the tax increase. That didn’t stop Gov. Dayton from harshly criticizing people opposed to his gas tax increase. When he dug in his heels, Gov. Dayton poisoned the well.

Later, Gov. Dayton insisted on universal pre-K. Even after Art Rolnick showed how expensive it was and how many hidden property tax increases and unfunded mandates were hidden in the bill, Gov. Dayton still pushed the bill in his attempt to pay off his allies at Education Minnesota.

Third, Gov. Dayton pushed that the legislature repeal the statute that gave counties the option of hiring a private CPA to audit their county. That was an especially tricky position to defend since 28 counties already have that option.

Ideology, not a lack of transparency, pushed events in the Legislature.

It’s been years since the regular session of the Minnesota Legislature was this ‘colorful’. It didn’t take long for the fireworks to start, which leads into the regular session’s losers list:

  1. Mark Dayton — Dayton announced that he was unbound now that he’d run his last campaign. It didn’t take long before we learned that that meant he’d start lobbing grenades at whoever got him upset. Tom Bakk ambushed him on the commissioners pay raises. Sen. Bakk, here’s your grenade. Republicans proposed a new way to fund fixing Minnesota’s potholed roads. Here’s your grenade. Gov. Dayton also misread the Republicans and Kurt Daudt. He thought he could bully them into compliance. Though his bullying was ever-present, it didn’t move Republicans because their agenda was popular with Minnesotans. Gov. Dayton never figured that out. He’s still whining about it after the special session.
  2. Tom Bakk — Sen. Bakk ambushed Gov. Dayton on the commissioners pay raises but he didn’t do it until they became unpopular with Minnesotans. Sen. Bakk’s ambush smacked more of political opportunism than voicing displeasure with a bad policy. That was especially true when a reporter actually pointed out that Sen. Bakk voted for the pay raises. Sen. Bakk got stung hard when Gov. Dayton accused him of stabbing him in the back. Later, Gov. Dayton said that he trusted Speaker Daudt more than he trusted Sen. Bakk. FYI- That wound never healed. I don’t know that it ever will.
  3. Metrocrats — They came in with high expectations. Tina Flint-Smith was the new Lt. Governor. They had a bold progressive spending agenda. By the time the session was over, Rep. Thissen’s face was more likely to be seen on milk cartons than at negotiating sessions.
  4. Move MN — They fought for a gas tax increase. They lobbied both caucuses hard, sometimes sneakily. In the end, they got their lunch handed to them.
  5. Brian McDaniel — Brian McDaniel isn’t a household name to most Minnesotans but he’s known by political nerds like me. McDaniel is Republican lobbyist who lobbied for the aforementioned gas tax increase. What’s worst is that he didn’t disclose that he was lobbying for Move MN when he went on Almanac or At Issue. That’s definitely unethical.
  6. Keith Downey — His ‘Send it all back’ tax refund campaign was a disaster. He knew that a $2,000,000,000 tax cut didn’t have a chance of passing. Period. When he appeared in the ad himself, he made himself the face of opposition to the House Republicans’ agenda. The Twin Cities media had a field day playing up that dispute.

I’m sure there were other losers during the regular session but that’s my list. If you want to add to this list or if you want to disagree with me, knock yourself out.

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There was just so much to Prof. David Schultz’s post that it required a Part II. Let’s pick up where Part I left off:

But if Bill Clinton’s presidency did not kill off this type of progressive politics, surely Barack Obama has. If Obama did not do it directly, he did so indirectly with the 2010 and 2014 backlashes against him that has done more to kill progressive politics than can be imagined. With less than two years to go Obama is liberated and you would think he would be more bold, but he is not. Why? He never was the liberal folks wanted to believe. In 2008 his liberalism was far distant to the right compared to Dennis Kucinich and even John Edwards.

President Obama’s agenda was the farthest left agenda in presidential history. Further, President Obama’s utter disdain for the legislative process and the Constitution’s Separation of Powers clause aren’t ideological matters as much as they are a matter of President Obama’s lawlessness. It isn’t difficult to make a powerful case that President Obama is both the most incompetent president in the last century and the most lawless president in recent history. Yes, that’s including Richard Nixon.

There’s a difference between Bill Clinton and President Obama that’s worth noting. Bill Clinton was a policy wonk. The economy grew during his administration. President Obama was a community organizer. His economic record is spotty at best. FYI for Prof. Schultz- Hillary isn’t a policy wonk nor is she a community organizer. She’s a machine politician. Check Baltimore and Detroit for how well machine politicians do.

Mark Dayton gets nothing his first year in office then supports corporate welfare for the billionaire Vikings owner. Now again in 2014 he gives in and Tom Bakk is complicit. Progressives are on the run everywhere. It is not just on matters of public policy such as with taxes, government regulation, and health care, but also in the rhetorical battle for the hearts and minds of the people. You can’t even call yourself a liberal anymore without being red baited. Thus the reason for switching to the term progressive. Conservatives have successfully labeled as left or socialist anyone who does not agree with them.

A little paranoia and a ton of frustration goes a long way. Wow. People are growing tired of the left’s dishonest attacks and failed policies.

People see the smoldering refuse that is Baltimore. They’ve noticed that Detroit is an eyesore, too. Cities across the country from California to Illinois to the East Coast are getting noticed for their pension problems. Collectivism is failing all across the nation. It’s difficult to defend failure when those failures are showing up on the nightly news 2-3 times a week. Good policies make for good politics. Lately, progressive policies have stunk.

This is frightening:

Fourth, conservatives understand how to make structural reforms and policy changes that both benefit their supporters and enhance their power. Tax cuts and cuts in regulation are simple ways to benefit supporters, but there is more. Voter ID disempowers their opposition, attacking union rights undercuts labor support for Democrats and opposition to business in the workplace, and gutting regulations on money in politics strengthens corporations and rich individuals. Obama’s biggest mistake in his first two years was his failure to act accordingly. Instead of health care reform he should have used his sizable majorities in Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act to strengthen unions, adopt national legislation banning voter ID and permitting day of election registration in federal elections, and adopting real Wall Street and bank reforms that would have limited their power, including reauthorizing Glass-Steagall.

President Obama’s regulatory overreach was designed to cripple miners. That’s because President Obama’s hostility towards blue collar America has been evident throughout his political career. As for federal legislation banning Photo ID, that’s frightening coming from a college professor with a law degree. On April 28, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled (in Crawford v. the Marion County Board of Elections) that photo ID wasn’t a poll tax, which meant it was legal. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his majority opinion that “Under Harper, even rational restrictions on the right to vote are invidious if they are unrelated to voter qualifications. However,
‘even handed restrictions’ protecting the ‘integrity and reliability of the electoral process itself’ satisfy Harper’s standard.”

Justice Stevens highlighted the fact that protecting election integrity is a compelling reason for implementing photo ID. That refutes Prof. Schultz’s ill-informed statement that “Voter ID disempowers [the Republicans’] opposition.” If Prof. Schultz wants to argue that Justice Stevens is a hard right ideologue, I’ll just wish him good luck with that project. He’ll need it.

If there’s a central theme to David Schultz’s post, it’s that liberalism has died. If he would’ve called me, I could’ve told him that. Liberalism is dead in the Democratic Party. It’s been replaced by collectivism and progressivism. In the late 1970s, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared that the Democratic had stopped being the party of ideas. He was right. Prof. Schultz apparently is just noticing:

What the hell ever happened to progressive politics and liberalism in the Democratic Party?

When I first moved out here DFLers bowed to the memory of Humphrey, McCarthy, Freeman, and Mondale. Later they added to that Wellstone. But such homage is living in past, shallow in the sense that the DFL today lacks the courage of the convictions it once had. The same is true for Democrats at the national level.

It’s clear that Prof. Schultz is extremely agitated. Look at the number of punctuation mistakes that are contained in those 71 words. But I digress.

If Prof. Schultz hasn’t noticed that the DFL locally and the Democratic Party nationally have become political machines only, then I question whether he has the expertise to be a college professor. While there’s no question that Prof. Schultz is a lefty, there’s a question about whether he’s thought things through. In case he hadn’t noticed, machine politics has failed. Detroit and Baltimore are prime examples of machine politics failing nationally. Duluth and the Iron Range are perfect examples of how progressive machine politics has failed in Minnesota.

In Minnesota a governor who just a few months was heralded in the national media as the most liberal one in America who got the job done, just folded to the Republicans on almost any measure. The giveaways on the environment, gun silencers, gutting the State Auditor’s office, and retreating on universal pre-K send signals that Republicans can win if they hold long enough. And then there is Senate majority Leader Tom Bakk- why he is a Democrat is anyone’s guess. His leadership was deplorable, his messaging horrific, and his negotiating skills next to none. If he thinks that his capitulation will defend and protect Senate seats in 2016 he is simply wrong. His gaffes and missteps only make suburban DFLers more vulnerable and he has done nothing to convince rural voters to support Democrats. He made the classic mistake Democrats have made for so long, believing that by acting like Republicans they are more electable. The reality is that the more the Democrat brand is muddled and undistinguished the harder it is to win an election.

Actually, Gov. Dayton giving up on universal pre-K was mostly a matter of Republicans having the superior argument. (Apparently, public policy isn’t Prof. Schultz’s strong suit.) Ditto with the MPCA’s Citizens Board. There simply wasn’t a justification for what is essentially a patronage board with real life implications. The Citizens Board didn’t serve a useful function.

Prof. Schultz, when you fight for bad policies, don’t be surprised if you lose. This year, the DFL fought for one terrible idea after another. The DFL came into this session thinking that they could just force House Republicans into capitulating. That was a big mistake.

The politics that looks dead is good old-fashioned economic liberalism. The progressive politics that appears dead is that of Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and even Teddy Roosevelt. It is about the Great Society and the New Deal. It is about redistributive politics that sought to raise those at the economic bottom, narrow the gap between the rich and poor, and wrestle control of political power in the United States from corporations and plutocrats. It was a commitment to believing that the government had an important role in make sure we had a nation that was not one-third ill-fed, ill-clothed, and ill-housed, that kids should not go off to school hungry, and that corporations should not have the same rights as people.

That’s stunning. The Democrats sold their soul to the corporations. Think Christopher Dodd, Bill and Hillary Clinton, not to mention Barack Obama. They’re frequently feeding at the corporate trough.

That Prof. Schultz is just noticing these developments now says that he should’ve taken off his rose-colored glasses a generation ago.

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