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The SC Times Editorial Board isn’t as unflinchingly liberal as the Strib’s Editorial Board but it’s a close second in Minnesota. This editorial isn’t the worst that they’ve published but it’s still a cheerleading editorial.

For instance, this editorial says “Earlier, the Times Editorial Board gave this advice to Gov. Mark Dayton: Don’t call a special session. Make the lawmakers deal with the consequences of failing to find agreement on some major legislation.” Clearly, the Times Editorial Board is picking Gov. Dayton’s side. It’s as if they’re absolving him of any responsibility for the trainwreck.

Gov. Dayton isn’t innocent in all this. He’s the idiot that vetoed the Tax Bill that would’ve provided tax relief to small businesses, farmers, students with crushing student loan debt, parents trying to save for their kids’ college education and military veterans. Is the Times Editorial Board cheering this disastrous decision? That’s what it looks like.

Dayton’s glum status report: “We’re moving backward.”

Gov. Dayton ought to know. He’s the politician who’s moving things backwards. During the session, he signed a supplemental spending bill. It wasn’t for nearly the amount that he’d originally wanted. Gov. Dayton is now insisting that a special session won’t be called until Speaker Daudt agrees to give him the rest of his spending request.

Thankfully, Speaker Daudt rejected that demand. Meanwhile, the Times apparently doesn’t care that hard-working blue collar people have gotten deprived of tax relief thanks to the actions of a spoiled trust fund liberal. Listen to Sen. Hann’s opening statement in this video. It’s quite compelling:

Dayton’s limousine liberalism and his my-way-or-the-highway negotiating style sends the clear message that he puts his ideology ahead of doing the right thing for Minnesotans. Lumped in with that is the DFL itself.

Sen. Hann noted the bipartisan nature of the bonding/transportation bill. Now Gov. Dayton wants to essentially start over and include all of his priorities while refusing to accept Republicans’ proposals. That’s what obstructionist liberalism looks like.

Let’s be clear. If Sen. Bakk were a profile in courage, he’d break with Gov. Dayton and insist that Gov. Dayton call a special session to fix the Tax Bill. The fact that he’s stayed silent says everything.

Finally, why has Gov. Dayton and the DFL insisted on a bonding bill that funds Southwest Light Rail? Twin Cities progressives insist that it’s needed. They’ve never explained why it’s needed. That hasn’t mattered to the Times. Like an obedient puppy, they’ve refrained from asking important questions. That isn’t surprising, especially considering the Times’ puppy dog reputation.

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It wouldn’t be a special session if the DFL’s special interest allies didn’t suddenly rush out of the woodwork like they’re doing now. This morning, legislative leaders met with Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith. PBS’s Mary Lahammer tweeted that negotiations are underway. Meanwhile, David Montgomery is reporting that the meeting is over. Montgomery quoted Speaker Daudt as saying “I’m still optimistic we’ll get to a special session. It may take some time.”

That’s probably right. I suspect that the DFL won’t cave until they start seeing how poorly they’re doing in outstate districts in the House and Senate. That’s the point at which they’ll have their ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with Gov. Dayton. It would be embarrassing for the DFL to thrown out of the majority in the Senate in the year Hillary cleans Trump’s clock in Minnesota. Still, that’s a distinct possibility.

The array of DFL special interests this morning was impressive in a depressing way. Transportation Forward put together a rally. Check out their list of DFL special interest “Coalition Partners“. I’ve made this graphic showing the environmental organizations on Transportation Forward’s “Coalition Partners”:

Organizations highlighted are hardline environmental activist organizations.
Here’s some other Coalition Partners:

Transportation Forward’s special interest allies have made it essentially impossible to negotiate a deal for a special session. That’s disappointing.

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When this year’s legislative session ended, the CW was that the DFL held the upper hand in the PR/campaign fight. Whether that was true or not at the time isn’t relevant anymore. What’s relevant is who’s fought the smartest fight to this point. This statement hammers home some important points.

In total, it says “House Republicans did their job this year, negotiated in good faith and passed bipartisan bills on the priorities most important to Minnesotans. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats and Gov. Dayton deliberately obstructed progress. First, Senate Democrats blocked funding for transportation and infrastructure, then Governor Dayton vetoed tax relief for working families, college students, parents, farmers, and veterans. If Gov. Dayton knew he was going to veto the tax bill, he should have done it a long time ago and called a special session right away. Now the election is ramping up and the political environment will get in the way of honest compromises. We are willing to hold a special session. We agree with Gov. Dayton’s requests in the tax relief bill, and we should pass the bipartisan compromise transportation and infrastructure bill that was agreed to on the last day of session. We are not going to rehash the whole session by repeating negotiations on half a billion dollars of new spending demands.”

The DFL has talked solely about process, talking about the end of session. Republicans have talked about Gov. Dayton vetoing the Tax Bill, then questioning why Gov. Dayton decided to hurt veterans, farmers, college students, parents saving for their kids’ college education and small businesses.

I won’t say that people don’t care about process. If I were a betting man, though, I’d bet that people care more about getting tax relief. If the DFL thinks that they’re winning that fight, I hope they keep thinking that.

The DFL is also highlighting the line ‘If the Twin Cities wants to raise the money to build SWLRT, they should be able to.’ I’d agree to that statement only if the DFL agreed that the metro also paid for the annual operating deficits, too.

The DFL needs to pick up seats in exurban and rural Minnesota. Arguing that tax relief for farmers, veterans and small businesses hinges on a metro project is exceptional stupid politics on the DFL’s part.

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It gives me great joy to write this post to tell loyal readers of LFR that a 3-judge panel has ruled that Minnesota overstepped its authority when it passed the Next Generation Energy Act, aka NGEA.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the Next Generation Energy Act violates the U.S. Constitution’s provision allowing only Congress to regulate commerce among states.” According to the article, the three-judge panel “unanimously decided Minnesota does not have the authority to order North Dakota plants to make changes,” saying “a statute that has the practical effect of exerting extraterritorial control over ‘commerce that takes place wholly outside of the state’s borders’ is likely to be invalid.”

Put in simpler terms, this ruling isn’t likely to be overturned. If it were, it would, hypothetically speaking, give North Dakota the authority to pass a law that required that all electricity generated in Minnesota and sold to the regional power grid to be nuclear power. Still, Gov. Dayton isn’t backing down:

“I will continue to defend the state of Minnesota’s right to protect the quality of the air our citizens breathe,” Dayton said. “The state statute does not prevent anyone from building and operating a new power-generating facility, whose emissions will affect Minnesota’s air quality. It only requires that those new emissions must be offset by the same or greater reduction in emissions from other plants. In other words, Minnesota’s law encourages the replacement of older, more-polluting power plants with more efficient, cleaner facilities.”

Those are brave-sounding words but they aren’t rooted in intelligence. They’re rooted in the left’s ideology. No state has the right to order another state what it must do on anything. That ‘right’ doesn’t exist.

Stenehjem said that Minnesota’s options are limited: ask the entire appeals court to take up the issue, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or accept Wednesday’s ruling and pay North Dakota $1 million. The attorney general said the first two options are rarely accepted by the court system and he prefers the third. “I think it is more of a roadblock than a speed bump,” Stenehjem said of the ruling.

This ruling pretty much settles this issue. Gov. Dayton has the right to appeal the ruling but that’s just a waste of taxpayers’ money on a case he’ll lose.

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Saying that this editorial doesn’t have a pro-DFL tone to it is understatement. Let’s start with where the editorialist says “when Gov. Mark Dayton pocket vetoed HF 848 which would’ve provided significant tax relief to the citizens of Minnesota, it sort of felt like something major was lost.”

I don’t think Gov. Dayton realizes that his veto of the Tax Bill is killing the DFL. When the editorialist writes “Gone was tax relief for veterans, gone was tax relief for small business owners, gone was a tax break for farmers, gone was a tax break for the residents of Houston County who live in Minnesota but work in Wisconsin, gone was the forgiveness of interest paid on debt on the new school building.” he listed all of the groups of people who were hurt by Gov. Dayton’s veto. That’s a devastating paragraph.

It’s even more damaging to the DFL when the editorialist adds “All because the governor wanted additional monies for a light rail line in Minneapolis. Two years of hard, hard work by Rep. Greg Davids (Rep. Preston) on the bill dissolved by the governor not signing the measure into law.” This places the blame for Minnesotans not getting tax relief squarely on Gov. Dayton’s shoulders. People won’t care about the drafting error. Their response is likely to be ‘Call a special session and fix it then.’

Contrary to popular opinion, Republicans aren’t the ones at risk. The DFL is. While Gov. Dayton and the DFL whines about the end-of-session process, Republicans talk about the tax cuts that Gov. Dayton vetoed. In a messaging fight of end-of-session process vs. DFL vetoed tax relief, tax relief wins by a wide margin. If the DFL thinks that’s a fair fight, I’ll agree. It’s as fair a fight as I’d like.

Davids, when receiving the phone call from the governor of his plan to veto it, worked to appeal to their friendship. The governor chose politics.

That’s as surprising as finding out that the sun rises in the east. There’s more:

The Republicans came up from $600 million to $950 million in the bonding bill that would’ve addressed transportation needs in the state. Davids said anything over $1 billion jeopardizes the state’s bond rating. The governor wants $1.5 billion with about $600 million going towards a new light rail line in the metro.

Gov. Dayton is foolish if he thinks Republicans will cave on SWLRT funding. Like I said earlier, Republicans are in the stronger position. The DFL is sitting in a position of weakness, especially in outstate Minnesota.

People living in outstate Minnesota won’t care if SWLRT is funded. They’ll care that Gov. Dayton vetoed their tax relief. The longer this drags out, the better it is for Republicans. That’s because they’re fighting for fixing roads and bridges and significant tax relief.

That’s a winner for the GOP and then some.

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The special session that everyone wants to have hinges on 2 things: Gov. Dayton’s insistence on more spending in the general budget and funding of the SWLRT. Of the two, it’s thought that funding SWLRT is the higher priority for Gov. Dayton and the DFL.

That makes sense since they’re the metro party. They aren’t the party that puts a high priority on roads and bridges. They’re the party that sees transportation through the lens of using transportation as a tool for social engineering.

If there is a special session, there’s no doubt that the Tax Bill will be fixed, passed and signed. If Gov. Dayton vetoes it again, that veto will be put up for an override vote, which would pass overwhelmingly. The DFL doesn’t dare sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto this close to the election. That would be political suicide.

But I digress. Back to the transportation section of the bonding bill. Republicans should be the ‘party of no’ on SWLRT funding. In return, they could throw in a few more dollars for traditional transit. They should, however, be steadfast in their opposition to funding SWLRT.

If Gov. Dayton and the DFL pick SWLRT as their hill to fight and die on, then Republicans should take them up on that offer. That fight would strengthen every exurban and rural GOP incumbent and challenger immensely. It would simultaneously weaken every DFL legislator and challenger, too. This is one of the few times when politics is a zero-sum proposition.

Beyond the special session, though, Republicans should make a concerted effort to explain why the gas tax is obsolete as a funding method for fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. Though this op-ed talks about Wisconsin’s transportation situation, the same principles apply:

Wisconsinites are going farther on the same gallon of gas than they were even 10 years ago. This trend will not be reversing. The number of vehicles on the road has been stable since the beginning of the decade. The state cannot count on more vehicles on the road to make up for fewer gallons needed per vehicle. Furthermore, add in new vehicles that do not use gas or use very little like hybrids, fuel cells, and all electric, the future of gas tax revenue becomes clear to anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics.

The gas tax has reached the point of diminishing return. Increases in the gas tax will not provide the all the desired additional revenues the legislators, transportation bureaucrats, and road builders hope for. When you raise the price of something, you get less of it. When gasoline was $4.00 per gallon, people drove less than they do now at $2.50. Drivers also gravitated to more fuel efficient options or options that do not use gasoline at all. These options will only get more abundant as the technology improves.

In 2008, the DFL promised that raising the gas tax would provide the funds to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. It’s failed miserably. I predicted at the time it would fail. I wasn’t alone.

It’s time to start pushing the issue of finding different ways to fund road and bridge repair. If the GOP wants to provide a contrast to the DFL on transportation, which it should, this is the approach to take.

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Yesterday, negotiators from the Minnesota House and Senate theoretically met in the hopes of hammering out a bonding bill agreement. That wasn’t the DFL’s goal. DFL senators, led by Jeff Hayden, blamed Republicans for not getting the bonding bill passed.

The DFL used the same misleading arguments they’ve been using since the DFL Senate sabotaged a bill that had broad bipartisan support. Here’s what’s important to know. The House passed a $1,000,000,000 bonding bill without funding for SWLRT. SWLRT funding wasn’t part of the agreement reached by Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk. Simply put, it didn’t have the votes to pass in the House.

Key questions: Why does the DFL insist on pushing a controversial project that didn’t have the votes to pass? Isn’t that a definition of insanity? Isn’t that what you’d do if you wanted to prevent a bill from passing while blaming the other side for your obstruction?

Another tactic that the FL is using to deflect criticism from Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax bill is talk about the $100,000,000 drafting error. The minute Gov. Dayton brought it up, Speaker Daudt agreed to fix it the minute a special session was called. Problem solved, right? In Sanityville, yes. In Dayton-DFLville, that molehill turned into a mountain. At least, that’s how some of Twin Cities media are playing it.

Simply put, Gov. Dayton vetoed a tax bill that a) provided tax relief to farmers, small businesses, students will college loan debt, veterans and parents saving for their kids’ college education and b) passed 178-22 in the House and Senate.

Key question: Doesn’t real leadership accept yes for an answer and move onto bonding bill negotiations?

Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t about fixing things, though. Their word salad automatically talks about ‘bringing people together’ and ‘making progress’. The DFL never talks about fixing problems. The DFL doesn’t talk about doing the right thing.

There’s a reason for that. The DFL doesn’t want to get to a point where things are running smoothly. The DFL doesn’t want to fix things. If that happened, people might expect that. If that happened, people might notice that they prefer limited government that gets the important things right all the time and worries about peripheral things once they’ve gotten the important things right. The day that that happens is the day that progressives are out of a job.

The DFL’s whining is aimed at one thing: regaining control of the House so they control state government again. Thoughtful people should reject that possibility ASAP. The last time the DFL ran St. Paul, taxes got raised, including property taxes, spending went through the roof and they checked off tons of things from their special interest allies’ wish lists.

As a result, capitol flight accelerated and young, productive, people left the state at a greater rate. If losing the border battle brain drain sounds appealing, vote DFL. If you want statewide prosperity, vote GOP. It’s that simple.

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The DFL, especially Rep. Thissen, has been whining about how dysfunctional the House GOP is. The DFL’s criticism is based on a myth but that doesn’t mean they won’t keep lying to regain complete control of Minnesota state government. In fact, the only thing that the DFL cares about is raw political power. Another myth is that the DFL cares about ‘the little guy.’ That’s BS. I’ll let Harold Hamilton explain why it’s BS.

This morning, Hamilton wrote “Tell your friends, neighbors, family and co-workers the truth about the tax bill that was vetoed. That bill was a conference report, jointly authored and unanimously passed by a House-Senate conference committee.” Later, Hamilton noted that the conference committee was comprised of “Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL – Clearbrook) – Senate Tax Committee Chairman, Sen. Paul Gazelka (R – Nisswa),
Sen. Ann Rest (DFL – New Hope), Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL – Clara City), Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL – Minneapolis), Rep. Greg Davids (R – Preston) – House Tax Committee Chairman, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R – Mazeppa), Rep. Bob Barrett (R – Lindstrom), Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R – Ghent) and Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL – Winona).”

Hamilton then noted that “the conferees assembled a bill that passed the full House by a vote of 123-10.”

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen has been leading the chorus against the bill, now that it has been vetoed.

Let the record reflect that the following DFL members of the House voted for the conference report: Allen, Anzelc, Applebaum, Atkins, Bernardy, Bly, Carlson, Clark, Considine, Davnie, Dehn, Ecklund, Erhardt, Fischer, Flanagan, Halverson, Hausman, Hilstrom, Hortman, Isaacson, Johnson C., Kahn, Laine, Lein, Lillie, Loeffler, Mahoney, Mariani, Marquart, Masin, Melin, Metsa, Moran, Mullery, Murphy M., Nelson, Newton, Norton, Pelowski, Persell, Poppe, Rosenthal, Schoen, Schultz, Wagenius, Ward, Yarusso, Yuakim.

In fact, only 9 House Democrats voted “no.”

Let’s dispel this myth that Republicans are hard-headed ideologues. The Tax Bill passed 123-10 in the House and 55-12 in the Senate. That’s 178 legislators voting for the supposedly deeply flawed bill vs. 22 legislators voting against the deeply flawed bill.

Gov. Dayton insists that the GOP must make more bipartisan gestures. With all due respect, Gov. Dayton, that’s BS. Any bill that was put together by a conference committee composed of equal numbers of DFL legislators and GOP legislators is necessarily bipartisan. Additionally, any bill that passes with 89% of legislators is necessarily bipartisan.

Next, let’s examine the Capital Improvement Bill that passed the House. It passed 91-39. It passed with 70% of the vote:

Democrats who voted in favor of the bill:

Anzelc, Bly, Carlson, Clark, Dehn, Ecklund, Erhardt, Fischer, Frieberg, Hausman, Isaacson, Johnson C., Johnson S., Kahn, Lien, Lillie, Mahoney, Mariani, Marquart, Masin, Melin, Metsa, Moran, Murphy M., Newton, Pelowski, Pinto, Poppe, Rosenthal, Sundin, Yarusso.

It’s too much to think that the DFL will relent. That isn’t happening. They’ll continue their lies through Election Day. The next best remedy to the DFL’s dishonesty is to continually call them out as dishonest power-mongers.

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Wednesday afternoon, I got into a discussion on Twitter with Rep. Kim Norton. Rep. Norton brought up the fact that there’s a language error in the tax bill that needs to be corrected. The bill’s language will cause a $100,000,000 in revenues. That point isn’t in dispute. In fact, Speaker Daudt has said that fixing the drafting mistake will be the first order of business the minute a special session is called.

What’s interesting is that William Morris’ article highlights how DFL legislators aren’t on board with Gov. Dayton’s agenda. Sen. Vicki Jensen said “It’s very unreasonable, that whole list of demands he has. I’m hoping they don’t add a bunch in, and we don’t have to have a huge conversation.”

It’s time to fix the tax bill so that people like Ryan Visher can get the property tax relief he needs to get his business back up and running. The only thing standing in the way of a short special session is Gov. Dayton’s insistence on funding for the SWLRT and his insistence on $423,000,000 of additional new spending.

Last year, Gov. Dayton torpedoed the bipartisan budget agreement. Last year, he insisted on funding universal pre-K. After a long standoff, Gov. Dayton caved and called a special session. It took a full day but business got done.

It’s important to remember that Gov. Dayton shut down the government in 2011 and tried shutting it down in 2015. Now, Gov. Dayton is standing in the way of property tax relief for small businesses and farmers. He’s standing in the way of fixing dangerous roads like Highway 12, the deadliest stretch of highway in Minnesota.

It’s time for Minnesotans to write or call Gov. Dayton and tell him to stop acting like a little child throwing a temper tantrum and put Minnesotans like Ryan Visher first for a change.

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The person that wrote this St. Cloud Times editorial didn’t do their homework. If they’d done their research, they wouldn’t have written “As stated in a plea last week to Dayton not to convene one, except for political gains for incumbents in both parties, there really is no compelling reason for a special session.”

Had they read this article, they’d know that there’s a compelling reason for a special session. Had the Times read that article, they would’ve learned that Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax bill will likely have a dramatic effect on the economy of Madelia, MN. Had Gov. Dayton paid attention to Speaker Daudt’s press conference, he would’ve heard about the needs of shopkeepers like Ryan Visher in Madelia.

Visher and several other shopkeepers had their stores ravaged by fire. According to Visher, the insurance check will pay for the rebuilding of the buildings lost in the fire. That isn’t the problem. Mr. Visher explained the problem:

The problem, though, with that is that the insurance money will build the building but now we’re gonna have a building that’s going to be valued at 5 times, 6 times than what it was originally and we probably can’t pay the taxes on that. We’d have a great building that isn’t viable for us and so they came up with a plan to give us some tax relief and so both parties and both houses supported that and it got to the Governor’s desk. And the Governor was down here and he said that he would help us and he hasn’t yet…

Whatever happened prior to Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax bill is irrelevant. Gov. Dayton could’ve signed the bill and called a special session immediately to fix the bill. Instead, Gov. Dayton used Mr. Visher as a bargaining chip. Gov. Dayton wanted to use these people’s lives as leverage to win an additional $423,000,000 worth of spending on the DFL’s special interest allies. That’s after the legislature approved $183,000,000 in spending in this year’s supplemental spending bill.

Gov. Dayton, Ryan Visher isn’t a bargaining chip. He’s a shopkeeper whose business was devastated by fire. He’s planning on rebuilding his shop so he can earn a living while providing people with jobs. What Gov. Dayton is doing is totally un-Minnesotan. He should be ashamed of himself using hurting people for political purposes.

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