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In Part II of this series, I wrote about a mailer that the DFL sent out a mailer claiming that Republicans voted to give themselves a 45% pay raise. I wrote that KSTP gave the mailer an F rating, meaning that it was “demonstrably false.” That’s the KSTP equivalent of the Washington Post’s 4 Pinocchios rating.

Despite that awful rating, Melissa Hortman insists that the mailer is accurate. Apparently, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a woman or man in the DFL. If you’re part of the DFL, apparently, you’re expected to tell whoppers whether you’re male or female. Hortman insists “that Republicans prioritized the funding measure while failing to complete other important work, including bills related to elder abuse and opioid addiction. She says the campaign material simply highlights those points.”

First, Gov. Dayton line-item vetoed the funding for the legislature, which includes the funding for the Office of Legislative Auditor. It also meant that legislative staffers didn’t get paid. That meant Gov. Dayton vetoed the funding for some important audits into his administration that cast his administration is a bad light. Isn’t it amazing how Rep. Hortman omitted that from her statement?

Hortman contends that Republicans prioritized the funding measure while failing to complete other important work, including bills related to elder abuse and opioid addiction. She says the campaign material simply highlights those points. “That’s entirely fair game, the Republicans priorities, what they chose to do and the order they chose to do things in and the fact that they never got the rest of the work done,” she said.

Actually, Sen. Karin Housley took the lead on the elder abuse so the House knew that that issue was getting taken care of. Next, members of the House got after the opioid addiction crisis virtually immediately. It’s impossible to argue with House Republicans’ priorities.

Finally, the DFL voted overwhelmingly to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto of the MNLARS bill after they initially voted overwhelmingly for the bill. Thanks to the DFL’s vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, companies went out of business and families lost their homes.

What about those priorities, Rep. Hortman? Is it that lying and playing politics is more important to the DFL than saving families’ homes from foreclosure? That’s the definition of a dirtbag politician. It’s time to throw the DFL out.

Tim Pawlenty has started running an ad that takes a shot at Gov. Dayton’s incompetence in administering government assistance programs. Before we watch the ad, though, it’s important to note that Pawlenty has listed this issue as a high priority on his campaign’s issues page.

He wrote “Whether it is a driver’s license renewal system that doesn’t work, broken healthcare websites, or childcare providers allegedly defrauding the state of a massive amount of money and sending some of that money to terrorists overseas, state government needs to be held more accountable. Too often, state government is not held accountable and taxpayers are left to pay the price. As just one example, a recent audit from the Office of the Legislative Auditor found the state is paying hundreds of millions in benefits to people not even eligible because state government fails to verify income eligibility. We will properly verify eligibility and use the hundreds of millions currently being wasted to lower health care costs and provide better care to Minnesotans in need. It’s time to hold state government more accountable and put hardworking Minnesotans first.”

Here’s Pawlenty’s ad:

Rating this ad

I consider this ad to be effective. First, Pawlenty ‘narrates’ the ad, in essence telling people what he thinks is important while highlighting what’s wrong with government. Next, he closes by saying that he’d use those savings to lower health care costs for Minnesotans who work hard and obey the law.

Next up is Karin Housley’s first ad:

Rating this ad

I rate this ad effective, too. First, Sen. Housley speaks for herself, which is always the most effective way of getting the message across. Next, she explains her governing philosophy. Simply put, she wants to ‘drain the swamp’ and get government out of the average citizen’s way. She wants government “working for you, not against you.” Finally, she tells voters that she understands “that the best place for your hard-earned money is in your pocket.”

In both cases, the ads were short, concise and about things that Minnesotans care about.

UPDATE: I saw Jeff Johnson’s first ad tonight:

Rating this ad

Johnson’s ad definitely goes after Tim Pawlenty, which is what I’d expect since Johnson first has to win the primary. I thought it was gratuitous for Johnson to say that Gov. Pawlenty “gave us higher spending.” When Gov. Pawlenty started in office, Jim Knoblach chaired the House Ways and Means Committee. It’s foolish to think that there was a massive spending increase at that time because Gov. Pawlenty inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura. Pawlenty and Knoblach eliminated that deficit without raising taxes. It’s fair, however, to mention the fee increases.

The ad is a bit misleading in that Pawlenty had to battle DFL supermajorities in the 2007 and 2009 budget sessions. That’s when Republicans relied on Gov. Pawlenty to be our goalie.

Overall, the ad is somewhat effective because it’s somewhat misleading.

It’s apparent that Erin Murphy hasn’t thought about crime from a police officer’s perspective. That’s totally apparent after reading this article. First, Jeff Johnson said “I watched the body camera footage from the Thurman Blevins shooting today. It shows clearly that Blevins was carrying a gun and that the Minneapolis officer involved did everything he could to convince Blevins to surrender before firing his weapon. Serving our communities as a police officer is one of the hardest jobs in America today and we shouldn’t second-guess the very difficult decisions they make until we have all of the facts.”

Gov. Pawlenty issued a statement, saying “The actions of the Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting of Thurman Blevins were clearly appropriate. Police officers protect our communities at extreme risk to themselves every day. We support and appreciate them. Those who claimed Blevins did not have a weapon or that officers acted improperly owe the officers an apology.”

Next, compare those statements with what Erin Murphy said:

As I watched the body camera footage of Thurman Blevins death, I was struck not only by the end of his life and the hard questions it raises, but by the beginning of the video. From the first moment officers are on scene they are loudly swearing, and threatening a man who appears to be sitting on a curb with a woman and child. From the first moment the police are shouting, scaring him, pushing him, and engaging in a way that led to the awful ending of his life.

He ran, yes. He was armed, yes. He reportedly was drunk and had fired shots, yes. All of those things might have led to his death, but none of them had to. I don’t understand why calmly starting a conversation wasn’t an option or wouldn’t have been a better course.

I don’t know much about Thurman Blevins. Had the officers approached the situation differently he might be in jail right now for firing his weapon into the sky and ground, or could be sitting on that curb with his family enjoying a morning off. I don’t know.

When a man (or woman) wields a gun, that officer has a responsibility to protect himself/herself and their partner. That isn’t a situation where the officers have a ton of options. It’s literally a kill-or-be-killed situation.

Notice how Rep. Murphy blames the officers, not Mr. Blevins. Rep. Murphy, if you were faced with this life-or-death situation, would you take a pacifist’s approach? Would you let a person who has a gun wave it around? If that’s truly what you’d do, there’s a high probability that you’d be shot. Further, by taking the pacifist’s approach, you’d put your partner’s life in jeopardy, too.

This story is troubling:

More protests are expected in Minneapolis over the decision not to charge officers involved in the June 23 deadly shooting of Thurman Blevins. The two Minneapolis officers involved say he pointed a gun at them during a short chase. CBS News’ Dean Reynolds spoke to Blevins’ sister and cousin who dispute the officers’ version of events. Blevins’ sister Darlynn and cousin Sydnee Brown admitted he had a gun on him but say he was scared for his life when he ran from police.

“It was the way that they approached him when they came out of the vehicle,” Darlynn said. “I mean, who else is not going to run if somebody is behind me telling me ‘I’m going to shoot you. I’m going to kill you.'”

First, here’s the police body cam video:

Then there’s this interview of Blevins’ family:

Let’s state something here emphatically. Gov. Dayton’s reckless statements after the Philando Castile shooting contribute each day to the tension between minority communities and police officers. Gov. Dayton said that “Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don’t think it would have.” Since that day, tensions have escalated. Rep. Murphy’s statements just further escalate the tensions.

That’s inexcusable.

As we look back at Gov. Dayton’s time in office, it’s difficult to identify his signature legislative accomplishment. His first year in office, he shut down state government. It was the longest shutdown of state government in US history. When it ended, Gov. Dayton signed the budget deal he could’ve signed without the shutdown.

In 2013, with DFL majorities in the House and Senate, Gov. Dayton finally passed his massive tax increases. In addition to those tax increases, Gov. Dayton promised that he’d stop property tax increases as a result of the increased LGA payments and “historic investments in education.” I wrote this post in December, 2014 to highlight the major property tax increase that Princeton levied on taxpayers. They originally sought a 33.87% tax increase but ‘settled’ for a 25.16% increase.

In this post, I quoted then-Speaker Paul Thissen. Here’s what he said in a statement:

The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success. The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil. The school shift payback will be included in the House Taxes bill.

In other words, the Dayton tax increase to buy down property taxes failed terribly.

What’s worse is that, in 2014, the DFL legislature repealed several of the tax increases it passed the final weekend of the session the year before. That led to the Republicans retaking the House majority in the 2014 election. Apparently, Minnesotans didn’t think much of Gov. Dayton’s tax increases.

In 2015, Gov. Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook, and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt every day of the final week of session to negotiate a budget. On the Friday of the session, they were no closer to an agreement than they were when they started. Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt sat down and promptly negotiated a bipartisan budget deal in less than an hour. When they made the announcement, Gov. Dayton criticized the budget and vetoed the bill.

That led to another cave-in by Gov. Dayton during yet another special session. BTW, special sessions might be Gov. Dayton’s legacy, though I can’t call them an accomplishment.

Aside from these negative legislative ‘accomplishments’, Gov. Dayton ignored the Somali day care fraud scandal and the elder care abuse scandal. That’s the one where people actually died and nobody from the Dayton administration bothered to investigate.

The other thing that Gov. Dayton was famous for was temper tantrums:

Finally, there’s the MNLARS fiasco, which Gov. Dayton created but didn’t fix and the child care unionization legislation. The unionization legislation went nowhere because child care providers defeated the measure 1,014-392. That’s what happens when you’re stubborn and you don’t listen to people. Gov. Dayton earned those epic slap downs.

After reading this article about the great GDP growth published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Center for the American Experiment’s article about that report, it’s pretty clear that Gov. Dayton and Tim Walz have something in common — with Wrong Way Feldman. First, for those who don’t know who Wrong Way Feldman is, he’s a character from an episode of Gilligan’s Island who had a penchant for flying the wrong way. On one trip, he was supposed to fly from the Bronx to Minneapolis, only to wind up in New Orleans.

It’s pretty clear that Wrong Way was to pilots what Gov. Dayton is to Minnesota economics. Andrew Scattergood’s article states “A large factor in our strong economy is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which cut taxes and simplified the tax system. Low taxes, especially low income taxes, stimulate the economy by attracting investment and increasing incentives to work and produce. While Minnesota will benefit from the national tax bill, the economic gains could have been even bigger. In the previous legislative session, legislators passed a bill that would have lowered taxes for 82 percent of filers including most low and middle-income families.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton wasn’t bright enough to figure out that cutting taxes increases economic growth and job creation:

Unfortunately, this bill was vetoed by Governor Dayton, forcing Minnesotans to pay higher taxes in an outdated system for at least one more year. He claimed the bill was a cake to the rich and big corporations, but as we mentioned previously, corporations would have been expected to pay more taxes than previous years under the new law.

After witnessing the impact the national bill has had on working families, maybe Dayton will regret not signing a similar bill into law. No matter what he thinks, it will not be his decision next year as the election in November will decide who replaces Dayton in the governor’s mansion. Hopefully tax reform is a top campaign issue and next year’s legislature can make a deal that works for everyone.

Gov. Dayton vetoed the Republicans’ tax conformity and tax reform bill because, in Gov. Dayton’s words, it didn’t punish corporations enough.

If you want to not compete with other states, set marginal tax rates too high. That’ll scare off tons of companies from moving here while telling existing companies not to expand here. This week, Tim Walz followed right in Gov. Dayton’s footsteps when he said he’d likely propose a bunch of tax increases, starting with a gas tax increase but then “being open” to other tax increases “to fund other priorities.” In other words, he doesn’t want to get too specific about which taxes he’ll raise if elected.

I’ll b blunt. When it comes to managing the economy, the DFL gubernatorial candidates are the political equivalent of Wrong Way Feldman:

Editor’s note: Watch the video to the end for maximum viewing pleasure.

This afternoon, Gov. Dayton couldn’t resist the temptation of bragging. That’s why he issued this statement, which read in part “Our state government has made a complete financial turnaround in the past seven-and-a-half years. The credit for Minnesota’s success belongs to the people of our state. I thank Minnesotans for their many contributions to the strength of our economy and the stabilization of our State’s budget. And I thank MMB Commissioner Myron Frans and his tremendous staff for their steadfast commitment to improving Minnesota’s financial management.”

The reason I discount Gov. Dayton’s bragging is because the GOP legislature turned things around. When they assumed majority status in the House and Senate, there was a $6,200,000,000 projected deficit waiting for them. When the DFL took control of St. Paul in 2013, that projected deficit had shrunk to $600,000,000.

Deep in the press kit document, it says “In January 2011, Minnesota was still facing the economic consequences of the Great Recession, and the state budget was a mess. Over 202,000 Minnesotans were out of work, the State of Minnesota was facing a $6.2 billion deficit and owed school districts $1.9 billion, and there was nothing in the State’s Budget Reserves. Since then, Minnesota’s economy and fiscal health has greatly improved.”

Again, the heavy lifting was done by the GOP legislature during the 2011 budget session. The unified DFL government in St. Paul in 2013 had a projected deficit ten times smaller than Republicans faced in 2011. Rather than exercising fiscal discipline, rather than listening to the voters, the DFL raised taxes by an extraordinary amount. At the end of session, they returned to their districts and got blasted by their constituents. Then they tried disguising their tax increase reductions as tax cuts. The voters weren’t impressed and installed a Republican majority in the House in 2014. Then the voters installed a GOP majority in the Senate in 2016 while keeping the GOP majority in the House. But I digress.

Earlier this morning, I found this op-ed by Sen. Julie Rosen on MNLARS’ failures. If we’re going to examine Gov. Dayton’s history, let’s examine the entire history. This paragraph especially jumped out at me:

At the time MNLARS was released, the state had already spent $90 million to get it up and running. Starting on day one, it was a complete failure.

A competent governor would’ve just bought the software from other states that had just successfully revamped their DMVs. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a competent governor. The idiot we have as a governor insisted that we keep spending more and more money on a failed system that won’t get fixed until we get a real governor. Thankfully, that’s less than half a year away when a Republican governor gets sworn in.

Make no mistake: getting it turned around will be a long, complicated process. As we speak, the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor is running four separate investigations of MNLARS. This is virtually unheard of, but it speaks to the level of dysfunction within the program. In March, the Legislature approved $9.65 million in emergency funding to address immediate IT-related costs. This money was focused on fixing the problems, not on adding unnecessary staff to answer phones.

The failures continue to this day. Thoughts of a properly-run MNLARS system have disappeared.

Let’s be clear about things. Gov. Dayton and the DFL contributed somewhat to restoring Minnesota’s financial health. In 2 of the 4 Dayton budget years, Republicans put together the majority of the budget that eventually got signed into law. In 2015, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk put together a bipartisan budget that formed the framework of the budget that Gov. eventually signed. Except for the 2013 budget, Gov. Dayton shut down the government or required a special session to sign the budget he could’ve signed the final day of the regular session.

Gov. Dayton is a tragic figure in Minnesota history. A son of privilege, he’s had a troubled history rather than being a true leader.

When Gov. Dayton vetoed the Republicans’ tax conformity bill, Gov. Dayton complained that Republicans didn’t “punish” corporations enough. Now, they’re spinning the veto by promising “software, forms and everything else Minnesotans need to get their state taxes done will be ready in time.” That’s not all. Cynthia Bauerly, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue promises “there won’t be a bigger state tax bite.”

That’s easy for her to say. She’ll have another job by the time Minnesotans file their taxes next year. What’s important is that Commissioner Bauerly’s statement is verifiably false. People with higher incomes who itemize will pay more in taxes. That’s been proven in every state in the US.

What’s also proven is that the Dayton administration is filled with cronies who are political hacks. Why should I trust Commissioner Bauerly, especially when she says something that she can’t be held accountable for? What’s going to happen to her if she’s caught lying next April? By then, we’ll have a Republican governor and a new commissioner. She’ll likely have a lucrative job in the private sector.

In early April, Ms. Bauerly wrote this op-ed in which she said “In his March 25 commentary, John Spry asked if the governor’s tax plan would mean a tax cut for Minnesotans. Let me answer: It does. Over 2 million Minnesota families and many small businesses and farmers will see a tax cut under the Governor’s plan.”

First, it’s important to know that Professor Spry is the leading tax economist in Minnesota. In his op-ed, Dr. Spry wrote this:

Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing a $1.4 billion tax hike over the next four years, according to his official 2018 budget documents. But he is incorrectly telling the people of Minnesota that his tax hike provides “tax cuts for over 2 million Minnesotans.” This difference occurs because the official budget documents include all of his tax proposals. In his public statements, he brags about selected parts of his tax plan, while omitting some big tax increases from his calculations. He proposes increasing taxes on Minnesotans by reinstating the 2 percent tax on everybody’s medical bills that is scheduled to go away. This tax hike raises about $999 million per biennium in tax revenue beginning in 2020, according to his budget documents.

Gov. Dayton also proposes more than $30 million a year in additional business-to-business sales taxes on software used in data centers. There are also other assorted business tax hikes in his budget. Consumers would pay these business taxes through higher prices. Workers would pay through lower wages and reduced employment opportunities. Investors would pay through lower rates of return.

In other words, Commissioner Bauerly omitted some important things. She omitted some important things because Gov. Dayton tried playing games by putting together a bill that included tax increases. Then he put together a bill that cut taxes. When Commissioner Bauerly says that Minnesotans won pay more in taxes next April, why shouldn’t we think that she’s being dishonest? Why shouldn’t we think that she isn’t being fully truthful?

Anyone that thinks that the DFL is capable of running government hasn’t read this audit report. The opening paragraph of the report is a damning indictment of the Dayton administration. The opening 2 paragraphs of the report state “Minnesota did no t comply with Federal waiver and State requirements in overseeing centers that serve vulnerable adults who receive services through the program. To protect the health and safety of vulnerable adults, Minnesota, as the licensing agency for centers, must ensure that centers follow licensing requirements in State statutes established in its application for waiver services. These licensing requirements include health and safety and administrative requirements.

“We determined that all 20 of the centers we reviewed did not comply with State licensing requirements. In total, we found 200 instances of noncompliance with health and safety and administrative requirements.”

I wrote this post right before Christmas of 2017. This part was particularly heartbreaking:

Ehlinger’s resignation comes after media reports, including a five-part series in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, found residents of senior care facilities statewide were neglected, abused and robbed, but the perpetrators were often never punished and in most instances complaints were never properly investigated. The state Department of Health is responsible for licensing and oversight of senior care centers.

Putting this HHS OIG together with the Star Tribune reporting, the inescapable truth is that the Dayton administration either wasn’t aware of what was happening in the state’s elder care facilities. Either that or they didn’t care what was happening in those facilities. One person who cares is State Sen. Karin Housley:

Think about what Sen. Housley said. Gov. Dayton first heard about this issue in 2012. Despite that, “they got absolutely nothing done.” Gov. Dayton played political games rather than doing the right thing. That’s unconscionable. It’s time to throw these bums out. If the DFL won’t protect these vulnerable citizens, they shouldn’t have control of any part of state government.

Think about this: the people in charge of the Office of Health Facilities Complaints are staffed by public employee union personnel. That explains why Gov. Dayton and the DFL did nothing to fix this situation. Lives were ruined because Gov. Dayton and the DFL protected their special interest allies. That’s pretty sick.

This paragraph is particularly indicting to the Dayton administration:

The State agency did not comply with Federal waiver and State requirements in overseeing centers that serve vulnerable adults who receive services through the program. We determined that all 20 of the centers we reviewed did not comply with State licensing requirements. The 20 centers we reviewed had from 3 to 25 instances of noncompliance. In total, we found 200 instances of noncompliance with health and safety and administrative requirements.

Think about that. The bureaucrats charged with overseeing “centers that serve vulnerable adults” didn’t pay attention to what was happening in these facilities. It’s frustrating to think that the party of big government, aka the DFL, didn’t give a damn about the most vulnerable people.

From this point forward, the DFL should be called ‘the party of big, broken government’. At this point, I haven’t seen proof that the DFL gives a tinker’s damn about these vulnerable citizens. Further, how many things must the DFL royally screw up before people decide that they can’t be trusted to run anything beyond a lemonade stand?

According to this article, MN.IT is almost out of the $10,000,000 appropriated in late March. I’d argue that Ms. Clyborne is spending money like a drunken sailor but I think drunken sailors have more restraint.

Clyborne has had the $10,000,000 for 82 days! How can you spend that much money in that short of time? Spending at that rate would cause MNLARS to spend almost $50,000,000 in a year. MNLARS is attempting to pass the blame. According to the article, “Minnesota IT Services and the Department of Public Safety updated state legislators this week in a required quarterly progress report on ongoing efforts to fix MNLARS gaps and defects. Agency officials noted some improvements since their initial report was delivered in late April. But they also highlighted the looming financial problem. Another ramp-down of the repair work is coming, Minnesota IT Service Commissioner Johanna Clyborne said in an interview. She’s just not sure when. ‘We’re going to do as much as we can with the funding that we have and we’re going to have to make some tough decisions,’ Clyborne said.”

This is what utter incompetence looks like:

Discussions continue this week with deputy registrars, auto dealers and other MNLARS users to rank the repairs and improvements they want in the system, Clyborne said. She said the timing of the ramp-down will become clearer once the list of priorities is set. “The question is whether I ramp down in August or whether I ramp down in October or somewhere in between,” she said.

That’s a 2+ month difference in “ramp-down” time estimates. If you’re spending money and that’s the best you can do in terms of pinpointing spending, then you should be fired immediately for incompetence.

When Gov. Dayton vetoed the omnibus spending bill, he killed funding for multiple important things. We knew that Gov. Dayton’s veto killed funding for elder care protections. Thanks to this article, we now know that Gov. Dayton’s veto of the omnibus spending bill is shutting down “Minnesota’s cash-strapped suicide hotline.” How heartless can you get?

It’s time to give our governor a new nickname. I think it’s time to nickname him Gov. Temper Tantrum because he’s long on temper tantrums and short on solutions. He can’t get out of office soon enough. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s temper tantrums, people might die. That isn’t acceptable. Period.

Think about this. Thanks to Gov. Temper Tantrum’s vetoes, people will lose their homes through no fault of their own. Employees have lost their jobs. Now, potentially, people in need might be deprived of a helpline. What type of heartless bastard would do that?

This is Gov. Dayton’s feeble attempt to defend his vetoes:

What a total loser. This isn’t just about policy. It’s about real people’s lives. Apparently, Gov. Dayton’s parents didn’t teach him that political gamesmanship has real life consequences. It’s time for him to leave. It can’t come soon enough.