Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category

This news article could’ve been written by Denise Cardinal or Carrie Lucking:

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $616 million tax cut plan for the state on Friday, and this is one measure that can truly be described as “bi-partisan.”

Lawmakers tell us that the bill was in the works for a short while as everyone knew this was something the state desperately needed.

Minnesota State Rep. Kim Norton, (D) Rochester, says she’s thrilled to have this bill passed and signed by the governor and having it pass quickly as some of the cuts apply to tax returns being filed right now.

“The Senate took the bill on the House floor this last week,” she said, “it was sent over to the house, we concurred with their bill very quickly, there was a little bit of discussion but there were no amendments on the house side. We were able to vote it into law and send it to the governor for his signature very quickly.”

It might have been a speedy process, but it was thorough.

That’s the definition of spin. First, the bill that Gov. Dayton just signed isn’t a tax cut. It’s mostly the repeal of a tiny portion of last year’s tax increase, which was the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. Next, the amount of taxes repealed didn’t come close to $616,000,000. It’s been reported that the repeal saved Minnesota taxpayers $440,000,000. Repealing taxes that haven’t gone into effect isn’t a tax cut.

Third, this bill wasn’t in the works just “a short while.” The repeal of the warehouse services sales tax, the farm equipment repair sales tax and the telecommunications sales tax were initially proposed prior to last summer’s special session. That’s 7 months ago. That’s longer than a legislative session by a couple months.

Fourth, the tax repair bill that Gov. Dayton signed wasn’t signed because he and the DFL legislature love cutting taxes. Gov. Dayton didn’t sign this bill because he hates raising taxes. Gov. Dayton signed this bill because not repealing these taxes would’ve been political suicide.

Fifth, the process wasn’t thorough. I wrote here about how little the DFL thought their tax increases through. Here’s the transcript between Rep. Kurt Zellers and Commissioner Myron Frans:

REP. ZELLERS: But if I pay him every month $20 or $100, is that going to be or is he going to have to start collecting sales tax and remitting it to the State of Minnesota?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: …He probably would. If it was a monthly charge, then there likely would be a sales tax charge.
REP. ZELLERS: So then someone mowing my lawn, someone shovelling snow for me during the winter time or a babysitter?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: Those services would generally all be covered by the sales tax.

The DFL’s leadership didn’t even think basic things through. Commissioner Frans couldn’t even answer basic questions about what would and wouldn’t be taxed.

Republicans shouldn’t kid themselves. The DFL’s praetorian guard, aka the Agenda Media, is already running interference for the DFL. Think of what it’ll be like when the campaign gets into full swing. Republicans should get out ahead of this issue now and return to it repeatedly. This isn’t the time to take things for granted. It’s time to demolish the Agenda Media’s premise before it’s considered the truth.

Repealing a tiny portion of the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history is just that: the repealing of a tiny portion of the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history.

A thief who steals some jewelry, a hi-definition big screen TV and some kitchen appliances is still a thief if the thief returns the kitchen appliances.

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The headline to this Strib article should be treated with proper skepticism. Here’s the article’s lede:

Despite months of glitches, embarrassments and finger pointing, Minnesota’s health insurance exchange is on the verge of reaching its goal to sign up 135,000 people by March 31.

More than 1,000 Minnesotans are enrolling daily as MNsure enters the final days for consumers to buy insurance or face a financial penalty. Enrollment in government programs for those with low incomes has been particularly strong, offsetting figures for commercial health plans that are much lower than expected.

TRANSLATION: Things are going better than expected. MNsure isn’t the disaster Republicans initially predicted.

Here’s a little cold water for the Strib’s celebration:

As of Wednesday, only about 20,400 (16 percent) were ages 26-34, well short of the ideal goal of 54,000.

If only 16% of the people who enroll through MNsure are young healthies, insurance premiums will skyrocket. Here’s what Ed Morrissey said about those statistics:

Most of the plans that these younger consumers can afford come with deductibles that far exceed the $3,000 out-of-pocket per household estimate, which sounds fantastically high in the first place, especially for that demographic. They will have to pay those deductible costs plus the premiums, which will also run in the thousands of dollars, before they see a single dollar in benefits. That’s why most of that demographic got catastrophic insurance coverage … before ObamaCare took that choice away from them.

TRANSLATION: Young healthies get ripped off by the ACA, aka Obamacare.

For all of the Strib’s happy talk, the truth will be revealed this September when adverse selection hits:

The term adverse selection was originally used in insurance. It describes a situation wherein an individual’s demand for insurance (the propensity to buy insurance and the quantity purchased) is positively correlated with the individual’s risk of loss (higher risks buy more insurance), and the insurer is unable to allow for this correlation in the price of insurance.

In other words, insurance companies get hurt because, in the current scenario, most of the people purchasing insurance are older and less healthy. The insurance companies need lots of younger and healthier people purchasing insurance. Hypothetically speaking, young, healthy people pay in their premiums but rarely file claims, which is exactly what’s needed to pay the claims that older, less healthy people file.

The bottom line isn’t difficult to understand. When lots of money is paid out in claims but a relatively small amount of premiums are collected, the insurance companies have 2 choices. They can either go out of business or they can raise premiums. Since companies aren’t likely to want to lose everything, raising premiums is the only legitimate option.

That’s what we’ll see this fall. That’s when the Strib’s happy talk won’t mean much.

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Last week, the DFL Senate’s spin about passing ‘tax relief’ was that the DFL added money to Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund while providing tax relief to the people:

Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

This puts the DFL in a difficult position. When they talk about a bonding bill, their predictable mantra is that spending x amount of dollars in a bonding bill creates thousands of jobs. When they’re talking about tax relief, though, taking $800,000,000 out of the private sector’s hands, the DFL’s argument essentially is that this doesn’t hurt job creation.

Having some money in the Rainy Day Fund is appropriate but having almost $1,000,000,000 in the Rainy Day Fund is criminal because it’s taking money that should be used for creating jobs and putting it away to maintain government spending longer than government spending should be maintained.

The other thing that the DFL has to be exposed on is the myth that the surplus is proof that Minnesota’s economy is booming. That’s BS. The government is wealthier than it was with the GOP legislature but that’s it. The surplus is proof that the DFL’s tax increase is stealing too much money from families and small businesses.

The DFL is ok with that because the DFL has sworn its allegiance to growing government to the point that it’s intruding in people’s lives too much. The DFL objected to PolyMet until recently. They’re still objecting to the silica sand mining in southern Minnesota. They’re objecting while chanting ‘the environment’. Nowhere in their chanting points is there a mention about families needing the high-paying jobs that silica sand mining and PolyMet would provide.

The DFL’s Rainy Day rip-off is proof that the DFL’s highest priorities are feeding government while appeasing militant environmentalists. Those aren’t the average Minnesotan’s priorities. They want policies that create jobs that don’t require raising taxes to create. At this point, the DFL doesn’t champion policies like that.

The DFL’s policies promote intrusive, expensive and inefficient government. How many people know that taxpayers’ money is being used to lobby the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money? The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities spent $840,000 lobbying for the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money. While they’re the biggest in that classification, they weren’t the only organization doing that. The League of Minnesota Cities spent $628,945 lobbying the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money on cities.

The definition of corruption is using the taxpayers’ money to convince legislators that they aren’t spending enough of the taxpayers’ money. In that scenario, the taxpayers are getting shafted twice. How isn’t that corrupt?

That’s before talking about the millions of dollars being paid to legislative liaisons. Legislative liaisons is government-speak for taxpayer-funded lobbyists. State agencies are littered with legislative liaisons. If that position was eliminated from state government, government spending would drop dramatically.

It isn’t that legislative liaisons get expensive salaries. It’s that they convince DFL legislators to spend tons of money they don’t need to spend.

If Minnesotans want a real economy, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesotans want money spent efficiently, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesota families want government dictating to them what they can and can’t do, then the DFL is the right choice. If Minnesota families want government ripping them off and putting productive money into a dead fund, then the DFL is the only choice.

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According to this article, Sen. Bakk rebutted Sen. Hann’s reason for not suspending the rules so the Senate could pass the DFL’s Tax Repeal Bill:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk rebutted Hann’s argument, saying the bill had gone through only minor, technical changes during Thursday’s committee hearing, and pointing out that, by law, the Senate needed to act on a bill that had first passed through the House.

“Members, we might not get another tax bill — this might be it,” Bakk warned. He added: “If you want to wait until tomorrow to process it, that’s certainly within your control here today.”

Trusting Sen. Bakk isn’t wise. After all, Sen. Bakk is the tyrant who held the bill hostage so he could use it as leverage against the House. Sen. Bakk wanted to use that bill to extract a promise from Speaker Thissen that the House would approve Sen. Bakk’s Legislative Office Building project.

Why would we trust Sen. Bakk after that fiasco?

Which of Sen. Bakk’s recent actions indicate that he’s trustworthy? At the start of the week, Sen. Bakk insisted that the Senate was just doing their due diligence on the House’s bill. Then Gov. Dayton criticized the DFL Senatea for dragging their feet. Within an hour of Gov. Dayton’s criticism, Sen. Bakk announced that the Senate Taxes Committee would hear the bill the next day.

FYI- I don’t believe in coincidences, which means I don’t believe that Sen. Bakk’s newfound urgency was triggered by anything other than political pressure.

While Democrats haven’t hesitated in voting for something they hadn’t read, Republicans are more cautious. Republicans insisted on reading the bill before voting on it. That’s the sensible thing to do. This is the perfect illustration that the DFL’s votes are calculated by political expediency.

“There is no good reason for Senate Republicans block the bill’s passage today,” Dayton said. “If Republican legislators force any further delays in either the Senate or the House, they will be solely responsible for denying income tax cuts to thousands of Minnesotans.”

Gov. Dayton’s statement was driven by either total dishonesty or by taking too much pain medication. First, Sen. Bakk whined that if he didn’t get his office building, the Senate would be kicked out to the street. This time, Gov. Dayton whined that Republicans were irresponsible for insisting on reading a major bill before voting on it. I’d argue that that’s a totally legitimate reason for their actions.

When the drama fades and the dust settles, several things will be apparent. It’ll be apparent that the DFL voted for the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. It’ll be apparent that the DFL repealed the B2B sales taxes because they saw the political backlash it’d created. It’ll be apparent that Gov. Dayton signed the tax increases into law. It’ll become apparent that Sen. Bakk wanted to play political hardball with the Tax Repair Bill. It’ll become apparent that the DFL’s mentality is to raise taxes first, then determine whether raising taxes was the right thing to do.

Additionally, it’ll become apparent that the DFL, including their media apologists, is shifting into spin mode in their attempt to hide the DFL’s disaster.

I’ll be here to counter the DFL’s spin. If that’s important to you, feel free to drop a few coins in my tip jar so I can continue fighting the good fight.

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This article sickens me because it’s intellectually dishonest. Baird Helgeson is intent on portraying the DFL as heroic tax cutters. That’s BS. The DFL is the party that taxes first, then waits to see if there’s a backlash. If there’s a backlash, they pass a Tax Repair Bill like they did Friday.

“This is a monumental victory for the DFL leadership in the Legislature and just shows that we have a balanced approach to Minnesota,” Dayton said during a celebratory news conference with DFL House and Senate leaders. “That’s what people wanted.”

Despite Gov. Dayton’s attempt to praise the DFL leadership in the House and Senate, it’s just proof that Gov. Dayton is intent on painting over his criticism of Sen. Bakk earlier this week. Here’s what he said earlier this week:

I’m very disappointed that we have not been able to reach a bill and frankly, we’ve got a meeting this afternoon with House and Senate leaders. I just have to say that the impasse isn’t around the tax bill. It’s about the Legislative Office Building and the Senate’s insistence that they have the building and they aren’t willing to let a reasonable tax bill proceed on a timely basis until they get the building and the House’s unwillingness at this point to agree to that. So I hope that Minnesotans will communicate with their legislators, and these are Democrat legislators, I’m sorry to say, that this is inexcusable and unacceptable.

Which is it, Gov. Dayton? Does Sen. Bakk deserve praise for stalling a bill to pressure the House into approving Bakk’s Palace? Does the DFL deserve praise for passing the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history last year, then repealing a tiny fraction of them this year? Does the DFL deserve praise for raising taxes and fees by $2,400,000,000 last year, then giving $440,000,000 of that back this year?

Minnesotans shouldn’t be happy that the DFL finally listened to them. They shouldn’t be happy that the DFL did the right thing only after the DFL started worrying about this year’s elections. That isn’t representing the people. That’s voting the DFL’s ideology.

It’s proof that the DFL will always do the right thing…when it’s the only option left.

The House and Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly on Friday. Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

Putting that much money into the state’s rainy day fund is criminal. That’s stealing money from businesses that would create jobs with it. The DFL is putting money aside so the DFL won’t have to spend money efficiently. They’d rather pay off their special interest allies with the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The DFL wouldn’t be able to pay off their special interest allies with taxpayers money if money was spent efficiently. It’s time the DFL stopped feeding their special interest allies and started representing their constituents.

Thus far, the DFL hasn’t proven that they’re interested in doing the right thing the first time. They’ve proven quite the opposite. This week, the DFL proved that they’ll do the right thing only when they’re worried about the next election.

That isn’t leadership. That’s called brinksmanship, which shouldn’t be rewarded with praise. This isn’t tax relief:

Much of the tax relief is delivered by conforming to recent changes in federal tax law, and about $57 million of it is retroactive to taxes paid in 2013.

Typically, tax conformity is the first bill passed by the legislature each year. It’s typically the first bill the governor signs each year. By waiting until after thousands of people have filed their tax returns before passing the tax conformity bill, the DFL just caused taxpayers the headache of filing an amended return. The DFL didn’t give thousands of people the opportunity to do their taxes once. Instead, Sen. Bakk opted to force thousands to file amended returns.

That isn’t cause for celebration. That’s cause for criticism. The DFL, specifically Sen. Bakk, put a high priority on getting the Senate Office Building approved. The DFL, especially Sen. Bakk, didn’t put a high priority on passing what I’m calling the Tax Repair Bill. Sen. Bakk said that the Senate couldn’t be rushed into passing the Tax Repair Bill because they were studying the impacts the tax repeals would have.

Sen. Bakk said that until he was exposed as playing political games with the Tax Repair Bill. Then he went into warp speed.

The GOP deserves praise in this for not supporting the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. The GOP deserves praise for not buying into the DFL’s counterproductive tax increases. Minnesotans deserve praise for passionately criticizing the DFL’s tax increases.

UPDATE: This video is sickening:

Speaker Thissen spoke about tax relief for possibly 1,000,000 Minnesotans. Sen. Bakk praised the DFL for working at warp speed to get these tax ‘cuts’ passed. Isn’t it interesting that Sen. Bakk conveniently omitted the part about how he tried holding the tax repeals hostage to force the House to approve his Senate Office Building project? He didn’t budge until Gov. Dayton threw him under the bus because the political backlash was threatening a second Dayton term.

Sen. Bakk deserves criticism for playing politics with this Tax Repair Bill. Speaker Thissen and Gov. Dayton deserve criticism for passing the original tax increases which they repealed Friday. The DFL ‘leadership’ deserves criticism for putting a higher priority on voting their ideology than representing their constituents.

The good news is that we can fix two-thirds of the problem this November.

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I wrote this post to highlight the Agenda Media’s willingness to parrot the DFL’s ‘tax cut’ rhetoric. Frankly, it’s insulting intellectually to hear them say that the DFL is cutting taxes. A little history lesson will illustrate the intellectual emptiness of the DFL’s claims.

Let’s start with 2010, when voters swept in a class of reformers, giving Republicans majorities in the House and Senate. That group of legislators started with a $6,200,000,000 deficit. Gov. Dayton immediately proposed the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history.

When the February budget forecast came out, the projected deficit had ‘dropped’ to $5,030,000,000. Immediately, Gov. Dayton took several proposed tax increases off the table. Here’s a list of Gov. Dayton’s tax increases:

Taxes: Largest Increase in History; Highest Rate in Nation -

New fifth tier of 13.95% for anyone earning over $500,000.
New fourth tier of 10.95% for single earning $85,000 or married filing jointly earning $150,000.
State property tax on Home Values over $1 million.
Closing Corporate and other Loopholes
Health Care Surcharges including the Granny Tax.
Other Tax Revenues including a car rental tax to help fund Minnesota tourism.
No complete payback of K-12 shift until 2023.

Spending: A 22% Increase

When the dust settled after the Dayton Shutdown, taxes weren’t raised. As a result, Minnesota’s economy rebounded. When the DFL took over the legislature, Gov. Dayton again proposed huge tax increases. He did this despite the fact that the projected deficit had dropped to $600,000,000. That’s quite the difference from the $6,200,000,000 deficit Republicans inherited.

Despite the tiny deficit, Gov. Dayton and the DFL proposed $2,400,000,000 in tax and fee increases. Gov. Dayton and the DFL included new business-to-business sales taxes in its ‘tax reform’ package. They also included increased LGA, allegedly to provide property tax relief.

Immediately, the business community criticized the B2B sales taxes and the income tax increases. Quickly, Gov. Dayton and the House DFL dropped those tax increases. The Senate DFL refused to play along with that. The Tax Bill that House and Senate Democrats voted for and that Gov. Dayton signed included those B2B tax increases along with money for Sen. Bakk’s Legislative Office Building.

Fast forward to this week. Gov. Dayton criticized Sen. Bakk for playing games with what I’m calling the DFL’s Tax Repair Bill. As a result, Sen. Bakk caved and eventually passed the Tax Repair Bill.

When a thief plunders a home, taking jewelry, high tech electronics and kitchen appliances, that’s a theft. If the thief returns the kitchen appliances, it’s still a theft. Similarly, raising taxes, then repealing a tiny portion of those taxes still means that the DFL raised taxes.

The reality is that Minnesota families will have a greater percentage of their paychecks confiscated because of the Dayton-DFL tax increases than they paid when this legislature was sworn in. That’s the verifiable reality.

Whether Heather Carlson, Mary Lahammer and Tom Scheck parrot the DFL’s chanting points, the plain truth is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL have raised taxes on every Minnesotan since taking office in 2013. No amount of tap-dancing by the DFL and the Agenda Media will change that.

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I just started watching Almanac’s Roundtable but I had to stop and write about what panelists Heather Carlson, Mary Lahammer and Tom Scheck said. Frankly, what they said is insulting. They’re disgraces to the reporting profession because they aren’t telling the whole truth.

When Cathy Wurzer asked Heather Carlson if passing these tax cuts was politically necessary to the DFL, Ms. Carlson said it was. Scheck followed up by saying that it was because the DFL “just raised taxes by $2.1 billion dollars.”

These aren’t tax cuts. A tax cut is when you lower the rate at which something is getting taxed. For instance, if income is getting taxed at 7.85% by the state, a tax cut would be lowering that rate. If farm equipment repairs aren’t subject to Minnesota’s sales tax, then the legislature passes their a bill that subjects farm equipment repairs to the state’s sales tax, then the legislature repeals the sales tax on farm equipment repairs, that isn’t a tax cut.

That’s returning things to where they were before the DFL legislature waged war on taxpayers. Another key portion of the Tax Correction Bill is tax conformity. That saves Minnesotans money but tax conformity is something that’s typically the first bill passed each year.

The truth is that the DFL raised taxes because Sen. Bakk insisted on punishing farmers, telecommunication companies and warehousing businesses. That’s where those B2B sales taxes came from. The truth is that the DFL raised other regressive taxes last year, too.

Now they’re trying to portray themselves as tax cutters when they’re really admitting that they raised taxes too much last year. What’s disappointing is that media personalities like Carlson, Lahammer and Scheck are playing along with the DFL’s storyline.

It’s disappointing from the perspective that societies that don’t get the whole truth make difficult decisions based on incomplete or faulty information. That’s a recipe for disaster. It’s also why the MSM is held in such low regard.

If Scheck, Lahammer and Carlson want to be DFL shills, that’s their right. In that case, however, taxpayers should insist that funding for TPT and MPR be cut dramatically because taxpayers shouldn’t pay for the DFL’s operations. If MPR and TPT can’t make it without taxpayer funding, that’s tough. That’s called the marketplace working perfectly.

The notion that MPR and TPT are the only real reporting outlets because they aren’t owned by corporate interests is insulting. They’re just as biased as Esme Murphy or Lori Sturdevant.

It’s time Minnesotans raised hell on this. They’re getting cheated by DFL spinmeisters pretending to be reporters. These reporters bought the DFL’s storyline without hesitation. A reporter’s job is to question people in authority. Carlson, Lahammer and Scheck apparently don’t think that’s part of their responsibility.

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According tho this article, Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk are whining because Republicans refused to vote on a bill without knowing what’s in it:

Dayton and DFL leaders have rushed to pass the measure to ensure the largest number of Minnesotans can take advantage of more than $50 million in retroactive tax relief by April 15. Senate DFLers used a rare procedure to try to speed passage by a day, but Republicans in the minority used their limited muscle to delay the vote until Friday.

Earlier in the week, Dayton chastised Senate DFLers for not passing the measure swiftly enough. On Thursday, Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, joined together to direct their wrath at Republicans.

“There is no good reason for Senate Republicans to block the bill’s passage,” Dayton said. If Republican legislators force any further delays, “they will be solely responsible for denying income tax cuts to thousands of Minnesotans.”

Yesterday, Sen. Bakk whined that not getting his office building would leave the Senate homeless:

“To think that the Senate is going to give up all this space and just be kicked out on the street. That’s just not going to happen. And we just don’t understanding why the House hasn’t acted in some urgency,” Bakk said.

Today, it’s Gov. Dayton whining that the GOP said no to voting on a bill they haven’t read. ‘Trust me’ won’t cut it. The GOP has an affirmative obligation to know what they’re voting for before voting on something. Senate Minority Leader David Hann summed it up perfectly:

“Just because Gov. [Mark] Dayton and the Democrats had a meltdown this week doesn’t mean the Senate should set aside our rules and rush this important tax bill,” said Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. “There’s an old saying: Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

Sen. Bakk held the Tax Repair Bill hostage as a bargaining chip to get approval for his office building. That’s why Gov. Dayton criticized him in a public press conference. Nos Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk are complaining that Republicans want to read the bill before voting on it.

Republicans did the right thing. The Tax Repair Bill got its first committee hearing Thursday morning. If the roles were reversed, isn’t it likely that Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton would be whining about Republicans jamming legislation down the Democrats’ throat without letting them read it?

Of course they’d be whining. In fact, they’d have a legitimate right to complain about that.

This is just Dayton’s and Bakk’s attempt to deflect attention away from Bakk’s attempt to play a stall game to get his office building. Bakk was humiliated publicly for playing games with the Tax Repair Bill. Since then, he’s been playing defense for playing political games.

This is what DFL ‘leadership’ looks like. First, the DFL plays political games. Next, people criticize the DFL for playing political games. When doing the right thing is the DFL’s only option, they try playing games by not letting the Senate read the bill that they’re supposed to vote on.

Finally, when Republicans insist on readng the bill before voting on it, the DFL ‘leadership’ whines that Republicans are holding up the legislation that Sen. Bakk didn’t want to vote on until he got his Palace for Politicians. That isn’t leadership. That’s gamesmanship.

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Based on this article, I’ve got to question whether the DFL is the united party that Twin Cities journalists, aka the DFL praetorian guard, would have us believe. Here’s the latest information that suggests the DFL isn’t the united party it’s pretending to be:

Gov. Dayton made his first public appearance since undergoing hip surgery in February to voice his disappointment for Senate DFLers, who he claimed were holding a tax relief bill hostage unless their demands over a new building were addressed. “The impasse is not around the tax bill,” Dayton said. “It’s about the legislative office building and the Senate’s insistence that they have the building.”

But Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook denied allegations that his members were holding up millions of dollars. “I don’t believe it’s been delayed any and I don’t know how much faster we could’ve gotten this up to the floor than we’re doing right now,” Bakk said.

That high-level back-and-forth between Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk over Sen. Bakk’s precious office building is just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s where the fight escalates:

Though he wasn’t willing to provide names of which senators were holding up the bill, Dayton did state, “The differences on tax policy are relatively minor and easily resolvable. It doesn’t do justice for the people of Minnesota to be in the situation we’re in now.

But House Speaker Paul Thissen of Minneapolis was willing to point fingers and right at Bakk. “It became clear that Sen. Bakk thinks that including a Senate Office Building in the tax bill is the only way he’s going to get his Senate Office Building done. We don’t believe that is the case but that is where we are,” Thissen said.

The animosity between Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen is one of the worst-kept secrets at the Capitol. Simply put, they’re enemies, not rivals. You can practically feel the joy Speaker Thissen felt in criticizing Sen. Bakk. This isn’t just a little dispute. This is the start of a full-fledged war:

Addressing the Senate building accusations, Bakk did admit that he was “disappointed” that the House hasn’t made progress on the issue and assumed it was because House members wouldn’t be impacted by the need for space. “To think that the Senate is going to give up all this space and just be kicked out on the street. That’s just not going to happen. And we just don’t understanding why the House hasn’t acted in some urgency,” Bakk said.

I’d say that someone needs a timeout for not playing well with others but that’s just my opinion. Seriously, Sen. Bakk’s mini-diatribe might indicate that he realizes he’s just lost his biggest bargaining chip against the House in his quest for getting Bakk’s Palace built.

That’s before talking about the erupting fight between the Iron Range Democrats and the Metrocrats. Sen. Bakk represents the Iron Range while Thissen and Dayton represent the Metrocrats. Thanks to their differing opinions on PolyMet, a fight is about to break out on that issue:

“Clearly this opens up the clash and conflict between those DFLers who value the environment first, versus those who value jobs first. We will all have to answer the question, ‘Whose side are you on?’” Anzelc said. “I think this issue has the potential to divide the DFL convention this summer. The table is set for Democrats running for statewide office to have a real challenging time of it in the ’14 elections.”

This is one of those rare times when the Republicans’ best strategy is to step to the side and watch the DFL fur fly. There’s no sense interjecting one’s self into a fight when your enemies are destroying each other.

It’ll take some effort resolving to get Sen. Bakk on board with the DFL agenda after he’s gotten shafted on his office building project. It’ll take a minor miracle to unite the DFL considering the looming fight over PolyMet. This is shaping up to being a major food fight for the DFL.

It ain’t gonna be pretty.

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According to this article, Sen. Tom Bakk folded like a cheap suit the minute his bluff was called. All it took was for Gov. Dayton to finally show a little leadership:

Hobbling on crutches, Gov. Mark Dayton made his first public appearance at the Capitol in five weeks Tuesday to blast fellow DFLers in the Legislature for holding up tax cuts for Minnesotans while they squabble over whether to build a Senate office building.

The issue apparently was resolved about 90 minutes after Dayton’s verbal broadside when Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor leaders announced they intend to pass the tax cuts the governor wants without any office building strings attached.
Debate on the Senate bill begins Wednesday morning in the Senate Tax Committee.

Dayton, who is recovering from hip surgery, said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday that he was “very, very, very disappointed” the DFL-controlled Legislature had not passed a tax bill.

Sen. Bakk’s announcement means the House Rules Committee can reject Bakk’s $90,000,000 office building and parking ramp project without hurting taxpayers. Sen. Bakk just folded like a cheap suit on his signature issue.

If Rep. Murphy and her committee approve Sen. Bakk’s project, it’ll be proof that they aren’t fit for governing because they don’t care about Minnesota taxpayers. They should have their gavels taken away with this November’s elections if they approve Bakk’s ill-advided project.

Predictably, Sen. Bakk insisted that he wasn’t playing hardball:

A short time later, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, defused the dispute by proclaiming the Senate Tax Committee would hold hearings on its tax cut bill Wednesday and Thursday morning and the full Senate likely would vote on the measure later Thursday. “The Senate building is not in the bill,” Bakk said.

The House passed its tax-cut bill March 6. Bakk said the Senate had always planned to pass its version by the end of March, after a review of the proposed changes. “There has been no delay,” he said.

Right. Governors frequently and publicly criticize leaders of their own party.

Sen. Bakk has been rolled on this. Now he doesn’t have any leverage to bargain with that’ll force the House to approve his office building and parking ramp project. The only other bill that the DFL wants to pass is the bill raising the minimum wage. Sen. Bakk doesn’t have any justification for holding that up. If he held the minimum wage bill hostage, he’d be ending his political career.

Playing hardball with that bill within an all-DFL legislature would end Sen. Bakk’s time as majority leader and end any hope he’d have of running for governor. The activists might draw and quarter him if he tried that. It wouldn’t be pretty.

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