Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category

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.

Thus far, Tim Pawlenty is the only GOP gubernatorial candidate to send me information on their campaign. Jeff Johnson’s campaign hasn’t shown any signs of activity, either in fundraising letters, campaign updates or through social media. At this point, I’m left to question whether Jeff Johnson is going through the motions or whether he’s just too broke to run a full-fledged campaign.

At any rate, Tim Pawlenty is running a complete campaign. In his latest campaign email, Pawlenty writes “The DFL candidates for governor, Tim Walz and Erin Murphy, support tax increases and turning Minnesota into a haven for illegal immigration by imposing sanctuary state laws. In fact, Tim Walz even proposed bringing terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay to Rochester, Minnesota!” Later in the same email, Pawlenty wrote “At a time when our state government can’t properly operate the renewal system for licenses; can’t even properly confirm eligibility before giving out public assistance; and is even being investigated for potentially diverting child care funds to terrorists — we need our elected officials to be accountable and use common sense. With the DFL plunging into chaos, they have proven to every Minnesotan that they cannot and will not take these critical responsibilities seriously.”

Gov. Dayton has been a total disaster the past 8 years. Minnesotans are taxed far too much. Far too often under Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s watch, they’ve ignored warning signs of theft or fraud.

It isn’t improper to call the DFL the party of big broken government. They’ve proven that they only care about oversized appropriations and no oversight. MNLARS continues unfixed. Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton vetoed a bill that would’ve saved deputy registrars from financial ruin that Gov. Dayton and the DFL caused because Republicans wouldn’t write Gov. Dayton a blank check for an additional $33,000,000 to supposedly finish fixing MNLARS. When the GOP insisted on strict oversight, Gov. Dayton went into another of his famous diatribes.

Do we want another inept, corrupt Democrat in the Governor’s mansion? Shouldn’t we want a governor who has already shown he’s competent? We can’t afford Erin Murphy’s wildly expensive ideas

After Gov. Dayton vetoed the Republicans’ tax conformity bill and the Republicans’ spending bill, Gov. Dayton had little choice but to sign the bonding bill. Despite having reservations, Gov. Dayton signed the bill this morning. While signing the bill, Gov. Dayton said “I am signing this bill, despite my objections, because areas throughout Minnesota need the projects and the jobs which it will provide. However, the GOP majorities set an arbitrary, ill-founded and woefully inadequate limit to the total size of the bill.”

Gov. Dayton is the worst governor in Minnesota history. He’s negotiated in bad faith. He’s been asleep at the switch while he’s supposed to have been running the government. In this post, Kristine Sunberg testified “In my case, my father’s body laid in his room for seven days without the facility doing a wellness check.” Gov. Dayton’s investigation ruled that this was the caregivers’ fault. Gov. Dayton’s investigators weren’t blamed for not investigating this abuse. The chief of staff for Gov. Dayton’s Commissioner of Human Service was notified in 2017 about rampant fraud in the child care system:

According to Stillman, he alerted a number of people in DHS, including the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff, with the following message: “Significant amount of these defrauded dollars are being sent overseas to countries and organizations connected to entities known to fund terrorists and terrorism.”

Gov. Asleep at the Switch, aka Gov. Dayton, is the last person I’d accept analysis from. He’s repeatedly proven himself to be willing to negotiate in bad faith, the most recent time being the last weekend of the 2018 session. BTW, the first time Gov. Dayton negotiated in bad faith was when he shut down the government in July of 2011.

That means that Gov. Dayton’s legacy includes the fact that he started his career by reneging on a promise and that he finished it by negotiating in bad faith. In between, Gov. Dayton’s career is filled with incompetence. If that doesn’t describe the worst governor in Minnesota history, nothing does.

I first wrote about Dan Wolgamott’s LTE in this post. I noted at the time that Wolgamott whined that “our current elected officials aren’t making our kids a priority. We’ve seen the same story play out too many times in our schools: budget deficits that lead to increased class sizes, fewer opportunities for our kids than we had, and when budget deficits get too large, a referendum for a higher local levy. Lily and all of her classmates deserve an outstanding education and a chance to succeed! If we want Minnesota to continue to be a leader, we have to do better, and the Republican-led Legislature needs to step up and adequately fund our schools.”

The problem with that statement is that it’s rubbish. It was a prediction based on Wolgamott’s partisan bias. The truth is that Republicans stepped up and funded education. The bill they passed and sent to Gov. Dayton’s desk would’ve spent $90,000,000 more than Gov. Dayton requested.

The problem? In another of Gov. Dayton’s infamous temper tantrums, Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill. In his LTE, Wolgamott said that if “we want Minnesota to continue to be a leader, we have to do better, and the Republican-led Legislature needs to step up and adequately fund our schools.” Actually, what’s needed is to elect a Republican as governor and never let another spoiled brat DFL politician in as governor. Gov. Dayton was a 2-term failure. He fought with the DFL Senate Leader in 2014. He shut down government in 2011 because he didn’t get everything he wanted. That sounds familiar:

In 2015, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk tried negotiating a bipartisan budget bill. After a week of negotiating, they still hadn’t reached an agreement with Gov. Dayton so they decided to negotiate between themselves. An hour later, they’d reached an agreement. Once again, Gov. Dayton was the impediment.

During his watch, Gov. Dayton watched the MNLARS project fail repeatedly. Further, Gov. Dayton didn’t catch the child care fraud even though a whistleblower told them about it in 2014. Finally, Gov. Dayton didn’t notice the elder abuse scandal. That didn’t get his attention until Republican Sen. Karin Housley started investigating.

In summation, Wolgamott is a blowhard. He accused Republicans of not stepping up for ‘the children’, only to watch Gov. Dayton not step up for the children. We don’t need partisans like Wolgamott in the legislature. We need solutions-oriented men like Jim Knoblach in there. Chairman Knoblach has a history of putting solid, bipartisan budgets together.

The thing that comes through loud and clear in Jim Knoblach’s LTE isn’t that Gov. Dayton didn’t negotiate in good faith. Nobody that’s paid attention to him the past 8 years honestly expected him to do that. It’s that he moved the negotiating goalposts 4 times in the final 61 hours of the session.

Chairman Knoblach wrote “When you are given a list of 117 objections 61 hours before the Legislature ends, one naturally wonders if Dayton actually wanted a deal at all. Or was he just trying to set us up to look bad for political purposes? I still don’t know that answer to that question. However, I worked very hard with other legislators in the following hours to delete or otherwise satisfy 71 of Dayton’s 117 objections (but not any of those mentioned above). We thus went 61 percent of the way (71/117) to the governor. Dayton gave us six more objections the following day, and we agreed on four of those. The response of his staff was to demand we meet every single one of his objections. On Saturday evening, they added even more.”

Chairman Knoblach is right in saying “This is not compromise or negotiation by the governor.” What makes it utterly disgusting is that Gov. Dayton has the audacity to call the conference committee process a scam:

What a disgusting person. The thing that proves that Gov. Dayton is the problem is the 2015 budget session. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk met each day of the final week of session with Gov. Dayton to negotiate a bipartisan compromise. After their fifth negotiating session with Gov. Dayton and with nothing to show for it, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk went off to the side to work out the details of a bipartisan compromise. Within an hour, they’d reached an agreement, which they took back to their caucuses.

Of course, Gov. Dayton and then-Rep. Thissen did their best to sabotage it. The bills got passed but Gov. Dayton vetoed a number of them. Is there any doubt that Gov. Dayton is the problem? Why hasn’t the Twin Cities media mentioned the fact that 3 of the 4 budget sessions in Gov. Dayton’s time in office ended during a special session? Are they trying to protect him? Why haven’t they questioned Gov. Dayton’s intentions? It isn’t like he hasn’t questionable things. It isn’t like he hasn’t had a ton of crises that he’s totally to blame for.

Gov. Dayton should resign so the important things that he didn’t get finished get finished. The reason these things didn’t get finished is because Gov. Dayton a) kept moving the goalposts and b) vetoed the bills. To the DFL-friendly media who isn’t explaining this, shame on you for not being honest about this. The people have the right to know.

Thanks to Chairman Knoblach’s LTE, we now have the truth.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Speaker Daudt’s stinging criticism of Gov. Dayton in this post. I’m not surprised that I’m not the only one lining up to take a shot at Gov. Dayton. This morning, I got my copy of Harold Hamilton’s weekly commentary. Harold didn’t pull punches in this week’s end-of-session summation.

At the top of Harold’s commentary is his “Quote of the Week” section. The first quote, from Speaker Daudt, said “I can’t answer why Governor Dayton wasn’t engaged during session. He’ll have to answer those questions. His parking spot sits empty almost every day – he doesn’t even come to the Capitol. He hasn’t been engaged at all in his job here.” If Gov. Dayton wasn’t willing to do the work, he should’ve resigned so someone else could do the things needed to help Minnesotans.

The second quote also came from Speaker Daudt:

This session wasn’t a failure. Our governor was a failure.

The final quote is from Sen. Roger Chamberlain:

The governor is behaving like a toddler – emotional, impulsive, and unreasonable. It is just another part of his legacy of chaos and failure.

Gov. Dayton was poorly equipped for the job. His leadership skills were nonexistent. His temperament was terrible. His ability to work with others was nonexistent, too. What part of that ‘skillset’ sounds like he’s equipped to be governor? That isn’t the only criticism of Gov. Dayton in Hamilton’s commentary. Here’s more:

Once again, Dayton demonstrated that he really isn’t up to the job of being chief executive of the state. Thus, he leaves a legacy of failure, a legacy of failing to lead and unite a divided state. Beyond that, he has no legacy. He has no signature achievements he or his liberal brethren can brag up.

He can’t brag about MNLARS. On that, he might get tarred and feathered. The nursing home abuse scandal is a dark stain on his ‘humanitarian’ record because the Office of Health Facility Complaints investigated “just 1% of nearly 21,000 cases … through on-site investigations when facilities self-reported incidents.”

People died but Gov. Dayton didn’t instruct the OHFC to investigate. That either means that Gov. Dayton is a totally heartless SOB or that he’d checked out or both. When people die and the governor doesn’t fix things or, at minimum, he doesn’t pay attention, then he vetoes a bill that would’ve established protections, then the fault sits exclusively with Gov. Dayton. Only the executive branch runs things. The legislative branch passes policy bills and funds government. They don’t run things. Here’s the harshest, most accurate part of Hamilton’s commentary:

Once again, Dayton demonstrated that he really isn’t up to the job of being chief executive of the state. Thus, he leaves a legacy of failure, a legacy of failing to lead and unite a divided state. Beyond that, he has no legacy. He has no signature achievements he or his liberal brethren can brag up.

He is really left with only the dubious claim that presided over a massive increase in the state income tax, a sort of Holy Grail for liberals that visits upon the successful the misery of bearing their “fair share” of income taxes, which really means somewhere around 70% of the total burden.

Much like President Obama, Gov. Dayton isn’t an executive. They’re both executives in name only. Also like President Obama, Gov. Dayton’s legacy stands a good chance of getting wiped out by his successor.

Minnesota desperately needs a true executive who keeps the trains running on time. If Dayton didn’t show up, much less on time, how can we keep the trains running on time? Finally, it’s worth noting that Speaker Daudt typically is known as Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected. For him to go Vesuvius like he did Sunday and Wednesday, something serious must’ve bothered him.