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Tim Pugmire’s article is an attempt to make it sound like Republicans oppose a special session. Nothing is further from the truth. When Pugmire wrote “Minnesota House Republicans threw cold water on a proposed special session Thursday, saying DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to help laid-off steelworkers doesn’t go far enough,” the intention was to suggest that Republicans oppose a special session. The opposite is true. First, Speaker Daudt “did not rule out the possibility of a special session.” It’s just that Daudt thinks “an extension of unemployment benefits is only a ‘short-term band aid,'” which it is.

Speaker Daudt is right in saying “We want to make sure that the jobs on the Range are long-term and sustainable, and frankly what these folks really want isn’t extended unemployment benefits. They want their job back. So, we want to figure out how to do that.”

It’s clear that the DFL isn’t serious about fixing the Iron Range’s economic structural deficiencies. They’ve had 30 years to fix the Range economy. They’ve failed miserably. That’s indisputable. According to the latest census information for Hibbing, which was for 2009-2013, their median household income was $38,077 and their poverty rate was 18%. Think about that last statistic. Almost one in five people in Hibbing lives below the federal poverty line. The statewide poverty rate is 11.5%, which is virtually half of what it is in Hibbing.

The sad truth is that Hibbing is prosperous compared with Virginia. Virginia’s median household income for 2009-2013 was $32,850. Virginia’s poverty rate was a whopping 24.1%. Accepting a poverty rate of one in four is downright immoral.

The difference between Speaker Daudt and the GOP and Gov. Dayton and the DFL is that the DFL wants to spend money on a short-term fix without fixing the underlying problem. Republicans actually want to fix the problem. If Mr. Pugmire thinks that fixing a problem is a poison pill that the DFL won’t accept, he should say that directly.

Personally, I’d argue that Speaker Daudt and the GOP have exposed the DFL as being the party that doesn’t want to solve big problems.

When it comes to spending money without producing solutions, Sen. Bakk is an expert. He’s even got Gov. Dayton on his side in his fight to spend taxpayers’ money on his latest agenda item. Sen. Bakk thinks that it’s important to “also address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” during a potential special session.

Apparently, Sen. Bakk thinks it’s important to extend unemployment benefits “for miners experiencing long-term unemployment” and to “address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” without insisting that the Public Utilities Commission approve the building of the Sandpiper pipeline. Building the Sandpiper Pipeline project would actually employ people but that apparently isn’t a priority for Sen. Bakk.

Building Bakk’s Palace was a priority but getting PolyMet’s permits wasn’t Sen. Bakk’s priority. Has he lifted a finger to tell the Minnesota Department of Health to butt out of the PolyMet process? Of course he hasn’t and he won’t because the environmental activist wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, won’t let him win that fight.

Everyone on the Range knows that the Department of Health study is just latest tactic the environmental activists have employed in their attempt to prevent the creation of good-paying Iron Range jobs. When’s the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry? If you guessed that dinosaurs walked the earth the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The hard-working people of the Iron Range don’t need someone that fights for them. That just takes a temper. What they need is a political party that’ll fight and win for them. Thus far, they’ve resisted that. Hopefully, they’ll get smart and change their voting habits soon. Their families’ financial well-being is at stake.

Sen. Bakk is a typical DFL politician. First, he either creates a problem with terrible policies or he just sits idly by while things deteriorate, then comes rushing in to fix the problem that he created or that he didn’t give a shit about until it was a crisis.

What the Iron Range needs is a legislative delegation that put the Range’s prosperity at the top of their priority list. They don’t have that right now.

There was never any doubt that Gov. Dayton, (DFL-MN), would accept Syrian refugees. That hasn’t prevented state legislators from raising legitimate concerns about President Obama’s Syrian refugee plan. Gov. Dayton quickly said that he’d accept Syrian refugees. In making that announcement, he regurgitated the administration’s chanting points, saying “I have been assured by the White House that all refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.”

That’s actually a telling quote. A security check for a person flying into the United States only requires checking for a weapon, then cross-checking the terrorist watch lists. A security check for someone who’s coming here to live is quite a bit more extensive than that.

After announcing that he’d accept Syrian refugees, Gov. Dayton said “the calls from state governors to ban Syrian refugees were ‘ludicrous’ and political posturing.” That’s administration spin. The truth is that Republican governors are raising a legitimate question about whether some of the people claiming to be refugees are ISIS terrorists.

Right now, the plan is for 10,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted into the US. Let’s say that the State Department verifies that they’re all legitimate refugees but then we learn that 3% of them are actually ISIS terrorists. That’s 300 potential terrorists that President Obama admitted into the United States in the name of humanitarianism. That’s almost 40 terrorist teams potentially.

Next, it’s important that we know 8 terrorists killed 129 people in Paris last Friday night. Next after that, it’s unlikely that the error rate will only be 3%. It’s been verified that 75% of the potential refugees are young men of the age that normally go into the military. Gov. Dayton and the Obama administration should consider the possibility that a high percentage of those ‘refugees’ are terrorists.

Rep. Jim Newberger got it exactly right when he said “The safety of our citizens is the first priority of any government body. In light of the tragic events in Paris I believe we need (to) join many of the other states in the union and stop of the flow of refugees until we can absolutely assure the safety of our own citizens.”

I won’t be polite. If there’s a terrorist attack in Minnesota, the blood will be on Gov. Dayton’s and President Obama’s hands.

Gov. Dayton’s latest diatribe is telling because of what he didn’t complain about. According to the article, “Gov. Mark Dayton is criticizing Republicans’ call to abolish MNsure as a way to counter hefty health insurance hikes.”

Nowhere in his hissy fit did Gov. Dayton or Lt. Gov. Smith complain about health insurance premiums being to expensive for Minnesota families to afford. Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith haven’t complained that deductibles are high or that the ACA’s mandated coverages are driving up the price of insurance premiums.

While it’s true that abolishing MNsure wouldn’t drive down insurance premiums, it would eliminate a cost from the budget. The last I looked, that should be a priority for the legislature and the governor.

If taxpayers are paying for something and not getting much out of it, then that should be a prime target for elimination. If Gov. Dayton and the DFL insists on keeping MNsure around while taxpayers pay huge premium increases, that’ll tell Minnesotans that they’re more worried about their ideology than they’re worried about Minnesota families.

Good luck for the DFL if that’s the hill they’re willing to fight for. They’ll need it.

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.