Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category

This LTE isn’t rooted in historical fact or reality. Here’s proof:

After the 2012 election, District 14B Rep. Zachary Dorholt and the Legislature had the tough task of cleaning up our state’s finances, which had been left in shambles. Previous Legislatures had passed along a $600 million budget deficit and nearly $1 billion in debt to our schools.

That isn’t accurate. The DFL legislatures of 2007-2010 left behind multi-billion dollar deficits and about $2,000,000,000 in school shifts. Republicans inherited a $5,000,000,000 deficit when they became the majority party in 2011.

They passed tons of reforms, including permitting reform, budget reform while insisting that high school teachers pass a Basic Skills Test. All of these things became law thanks to Republicans sticking to their principles of accountability and efficient government that works for people.

It’s worth noting that Republicans passed a bill that would’ve paid off the school shifts, too. The disappointing part is that the DFL legislature voted against repaying the school shift. Then Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill that would’ve paid off the school shift.

That’s verifiable historical fact. It’s indisputable.

When the DFL took total control of state government, the deficit had dropped to $600,000,000. That’s one-eighth the size of the deficit Republicans inherited in 2011.

By the time the 2014 session finished, the all-DFL government had repealed the Basic Skills Test reform and the budget reforms the GOP had passed. That’s inexcusable. Education Minnesota opposed the Basic Skills Test so Zach Dorholt and his DFL colleagues voted to repeal it. Nobody in the DFL, starting with Gov. Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Bakk and Speaker Thissen, liked the budget reforms so they repealed those reforms.

These paragraphs are total propaganda:

But Dorholt did not back down. He helped pay back every penny owed to schools and used new revenue (largely from closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest 2 percent to chip in a fair share) to eliminate the deficit and make long-overdue investments in priorities Minnesotans broadly share.

Those priorities included all-day kindergarten; a two-year college tuition freeze; bigger property tax refunds; more funding for nursing homes; and resources to help small businesses. As a result, our economy is growing, Minnesotans are going back to work and more children have an opportunity to reach their full potential.

Dorholt the ideologue fit right in, voting against his constituents in raising a) income taxes on “the rich”, b) sales taxes that hit the middle class and c) the cigarette tax that hits low income Minnesotans.

All-day kindergarten wasn’t a priority for most middle class families but it was a priority for Education because they saw it as a way to increase funding to their members. It doesn’t have anything to do with providing a better education to students. Property tax relief is mostly a mirage. Yes, there will be refund checks on the back side but there’s also property tax increases on the front side. As for helping small businesses, that’s a myth. Many small businesses are either expanding in other states, starting in other states or moving to other states.

Rep. Dorholt and his all-DFL legislature have made a total mess of things. They should be fired this November.

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The thing that stood out during Tom Hauser’s interview with Gov. Dayton was Gov. Dayton’s insistence that some official government reports were totally accurate while other official government reports were rubbish.

For instance, Gov. Dayton insisted that health insurance prices were going up a paltry 4.5%, a statistic that’s been frequently discredited. Here’s what I wrote Sunday:

The Minnesota Senate Republicans put together this interactive map showing how much insurance premiums were increasing in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

For instance, Benton County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015. Stearns County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015, too. Ditto with Sherburne and Wright counties.

They should consider themselves lucky that they aren’t in Meeker, Kandiyohi, Chippewa or Yellow Medicine counties, where their least expensive health insurance premiums will jump by 43%. (Does that sound affordable?)

Cottonwood, Lyons, Nobles and Murray counties’ least expensive health insurance premiums hit a less-than-happy medium, increasing by 34%.

Gov. Dayton should be ashamed of himself for being this dishonest. The Dayton administration’s report saying that insurance premiums are only going up 4.5% is an outright lie.

Gov. Dayton wasn’t done lying with that, though. When Hauser brought up the BLS report that showed Minnesota was last in the Midwest in private sector job growth, Gov. Dayton started reciting the BS that Minnesota’s economy has created 160,000 jobs during his administration. Government jobs don’t create wealth. Private sector jobs are the only jobs that create wealth, which strengthens the economy.

The Dayton-DFL economy is a sugar high economy propped up by big bonding bills. The fundamentals are weak. Taxes are too high. Regulations prohibit or, at minimum, limit private sector job growth. MMB’s rosy scenario revenue forecasts are falling short on a near monthly basis.

Further, Minnesota’s economy hasn’t created 160,000 jobs. It’s closer to 110,000 jobs, 20% of which (21,523) are public sector jobs.

Later, Hauser questioned Gov. Dayton’s ad that says he’s cut taxes, asking whether it’s fair to question that considering the fact that Gov. Dayton campaigned on raising taxes. Gov. Dayton said that it’s fair to say because he only “raised taxes on the richest 2%.” Does this mean that Gov. Dayton thinks it’s ok to ignore raising taxes on “the rich” because they’re greedy and they don’t really count like the saintly middle class?

Seriously, Gov. Dayton’s thinking is warped, if it can be called thinking. Tax increases aren’t tax increases if they’re increased on people who Gov. Dayton disagrees with. Health insurance premiums are going up at 4.5% because his administration decided to use gimmicks to arrive at a figure that put the Dayton administration in the most favorable light. Families whose health insurance premiums were increasing by 20%-43% aren’t real because Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department used deception to determine in putting together a political document rather than putting together a document that accurately reflects the increases that families will get hit with.

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Tim O’Driscoll’s op-ed on MNsure’s rate increases is the best explanation I’ve seen on the subject. Here’s the key paragraph in Rep. O’Driscoll’s op-ed:

But if you’re still wondering how the state arrived at a 4.5 percent average increase, Commerce simply took the four average rate changes for providers in the exchange (up 17.15 percent, up 8.12 percent, up 1.8 percent, and down 9.07 percent) and divided them by four.

First, it’s important to note that the Commerce Department intentionally misled Minnesotans. While the average rate increase for each of the 4 remaining plans equals 4.5%, that’s misleading at best. Here’s why:

The reality is people are paying more than ever because of Obamacare in Minnesota. For people in Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties, MNsure enrollees will see their average rates go up between 18 and 37 percent. And people in the bronze plans, which offer the lowest cost options, will see premiums increase about 20 percent. This is simply unaffordable for too many hardworking Minnesotans.

So why are their numbers off by so much?

First, it’s important to note the comparison of last year’s rates to this year’s is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Instead, when calculating rates, Commerce chose to ignore that the lowest cost provider (which covered about 60 percent of MNsure enrollees) dropped out of the exchange because of continued technical problems and inefficiencies.

The Minnesota Senate Republicans put together this interactive map showing how much insurance premiums were increasing in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

For instance, Benton County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015. Stearns County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015, too. Ditto with Sherburne and Wright counties.

They should consider themselves lucky that they aren’t in Meeker, Kandiyohi, Chippewa or Yellow Medicine counties, where their least expensive health insurance premiums will jump by 43%. (Does that sound affordable?)

Cottonwood, Lyons, Nobles and Murray counties’ least expensive health insurance premiums hit a less-than-happy medium, increasing by 34%.

But I digress. Here’s more important information from Rep. O’Driscoll’s op-ed:

Additionally, I offer this to people who argue rates still aren’t going up as fast as they did before the Affordable Care Act or before Minnesota taxpayers spent $160 million on a broken MNsure website. From 2003 to 2010, individual market insurance premiums rose a total of 35 percent in Minnesota, compared with 47 percent in our first year under Obamacare.

That isn’t Rep. O’Driscoll’s opinion. That’s from statistics compiled by the Department of Commerce. Finally, this is great advice:

Keep a copy of this article, and when open enrollment begins Nov. 15, take a look at your new premiums and compare my math to the 4.5 percent number being marketed by MNsure.

I’ve just got one tiny dispute with Rep. O’Driscoll. In fact, it isn’t really a dispute. The 4.5% increase figure is being peddled by the Dayton re-election campaign through the Commerce Department. There’s no sense in being polite. The 4.5% figure is fiction. Every real journalist should be highlighting the Dayton campaign’s dishonesty.

Finally, while I agree with Rep. O’Driscoll’s statement that people should “keep a copy of this article” and compare their “new premiums” with the Commerce Department’s 4.5% fiction, I’d additionally suggest that people remember Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s dishonesty in pimping the 4.5% figure. They know it’s intellectually dishonest. They don’t care about honesty when Gov. Dayton and the DFL are trying to win elections.

While there’s no doubt that people think that politicians aren’t the most honest people, there’s no doubt that people should take politicians that are intentionally dishonest to the proverbial woodshed. It’s time to take Gov. Dayton and the dishonest DFL legislators to that woodshed.

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Jeff Johnson’s latest ad is causing quite a stir:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson released a new television ad today that questions the competence of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Johnson’s ad is titled “Unaware.” The narrator contends that Dayton was unaware of bonuses paid to “failed Obamacare bureaucrats,” the contents of bills he signed and the legal issues facing the owners of the Minnesota Vikings.

Johnson then appears, saying Minnesotans deserve a “governor who knows what’s going on,” and promising that he will to be a 24/7 leader.

WCCO’s Reality Check on the ad provides the text from the ad:

Johnson Ad Text:
“Unaware of bonuses for his failed Obamacare bureaucrats
Not even knowing what’s in the bills he signed
Half-a billion taxpayer dollars to the Wilfs after they committed civil fraud and racketeering.
‘I was not aware at all’
What is Mark Dayton aware of?
Minnesotans deserve an engaged governor who knows what’s going on and what’s in the bills he signs. I’ll be a 24-7 leader who owns his decisions. The buck stops with me.
Jeff Johnson for Governor”

The Dayton campaign quickly reacted to Commissioner Johnson’s ad:

A spokesman for the Dayton campaign, Linden Zakula, described the ad as a “desperate attack” from a candidate who is far behind in the polls. “Commissioner Johnson offers no real ideas to improve education, create jobs, or help Minnesota families,” Zakula said in a statement.

What Zakula means is that Commissioner Johnson doesn’t have the special interest-approved pseudo-solutions that Gov. Dayton has. HINT to Zakula: That’s the point. Jeff Johnson won’t be beholden to list of special interests that Gov. Dayton has been his entire public life. The DFL doesn’t do anything that their special interest allies don’t sanction.

As for “real ideas that improves education, creates jobs or helps Minnesota families”, Zakula is lying. Jeff Johnson’s ideas will help miners on the Iron Range (PolyMet), farmers everywhere in the state (Sandpiper Pipeline) and will strengthen families by creating high-paying jobs. Gov. Dayton is a pathetic advocate for raising marginal tax rates. Jeff Johnson is unapologetic in his desire to grow Minnesota’s private sector.

Jeff Johnson will fight for a new K-12 funding formula that reduces the gap between metro schools and outstate schools. I suspect Jeff Johnson will fight to restore the Basic Skills Test for high school math and science teachers that the Republican legislature passed and that Gov. Dayton signed and that the DFL legislature repealed and Gov. Dayton signed. That’s accountability I can believe in.

Zakula’s response is predictable. Gov. Dayton’s litany of things he supposedly didn’t know about is lengthy. Gov. Dayton shut down the government because he supposedly didn’t know that the GOP had removed some provisions that he objected to right before the shutdown. When told in July that they’d been removed, Gov. Dayton acted surprised. Right before FarmFest 2013, Gov. Dayton ‘discovered’ that the Tax Bill expanded sales taxes to include farm equipment repairs, warehousing services and telecommunications. In 2013, Gov. Dayton was outraged that the Vikings stadium bill included a provision for PSL’s, which are standard in every stadium bill that’s been passed in the last 15 years.

Being ignorant might work within the DFL but hard-working families expect their governor to pay attention to the details of major bills. Gov. Dayton said that he thinks MNsure is working “phenomenally well”:

That’s stunningly out of touch. Tell that to families everywhere in Minnesota that are seeing huge increases in their insurance premiums. Tell that to the 140,000 families that had the policies they liked cancelled and replaced by “better” policies they didn’t want.

Gov. Dayton’s policies aren’t growing Minnesota’s private sector. They aren’t making K-12 education the best it can be, either. Gov. Dayton’s policies reflect Education Minnesota’s wish list.

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Zach Dorholt’s been running a campaign touting how he’s a great listener, that he’s responsive to the needs of his constituents. Jim Knoblach’s last mailer ends that myth. According to the Minnesota House Journal, Dorholt voted with the DFL leadership 470 times out of 470 final votes on legislation.

You don’t get more partisan than that.

Knoblach’s mailer also highlights the fact that Dorholt’s money comes from everywhere except Minnesota. Contributions to Dorholt’s fund have come from Boston, New York City and Philadelphia in the northeast, Fort Lauderdale in Florida, California (San Francisco and Hollywood) and Phoenix, AZ. The vast majority of the mailers that I’ve gotten praising Dorholt or criticizing Jim Knoblach have come from the “Minnesota DFL Party.”

According to this report, the DFL has outspent Dorholt by, at minimum, a 2:1 margin. Just in August through early September, the Minnesota DFL Party spent $37,160 on mailers for the Dorholt-Knoblach race. That isn’t counting the money that Working America Minnesota Political Fund has spent on the race.

When Knoblach made his first fundraising announcement, Dorholt complained about all the money in politics. I used this post to highlight the fact that Dorholt was silent in 2012, when DFL special interest groups literally spent over $250,000 in the race supporting Dorholt. This year, they’ll probably come close to that again. Once again, Dorholt hasn’t complained about special interest money essentially financing his campaign.

Many of the DFL’s mailers, however, complain that Jim Knoblach was the special interests’ pawn. It’s definitely pot meet kettle time with that.

The reality is that Zach Dorholt was an obedient puppy for Speaker Thissen. He kept his mouth shut and voted with Thissen 100% of the time on final passage of bills. I said early that St. Paul doesn’t need another representative. That’s what Dorholt has been.

We need someone that’ll fight to grow Minnesota’s economy, something that isn’t happening. This week, MMB announced that Minnesota’s revenue had fallen short of projects…again. Booming economies don’t consistently fall short of revenue projections.

Dayton, Dorholt and the DFL have trumpeted as fact that Minnesota’s economy is cruising along. Each time they’ve said that, they’ve lied. It’s that simple. The revenue shortfalls verify that.

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Pat Kessler’s Reality Check on Jeff Johnson’s latest ad is a step down for Kessler. On the positive side, he got this part mostly right:

The ad takes some tough shots at Gov. Mark Dayton and, unexpectedly, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings.

It’s classic political mudslinging, but there is some truth to it, as it counts down the missteps of a Governor who Johnson says is “incompetent” and who the new ad calls “unaware.”

“Unaware of bonuses for his failed Obamacare bureaucrats,” says the ad, as the words “Unaware Mark Dayton” appear on the screen. “Not even knowing what’s in the bills he signed.”

The ad accurately quotes Dayton saying he was unaware of MNsure bonuses, unaware of a farm equipment tax in a 2013 tax bill and unaware that personal seat licenses were included in the Vikings stadium bill.

It’s offensive to hear Kessler characterize the ad as mudslinging. It isn’t a stretch whatsoever to say that Gov. Dayton is incompetent. It’s verifiable that he’s admitted that he wasn’t aware of major provisions in the biggest bills Gov. Dayton has signed.

It isn’t mudslinging if the ad uses verifiable information. It’s hard-hitting but it isn’t mudslinging. If Gov. Dayton didn’t want to see these things highlighted, then he shouldn’t have made these dramatic admissions. Gov. Dayton made some major mistakes. Jeff Johnson’s ad just highlights that.

That wasn’t the worst of Kessler’s segment. Check this out:

But the ad strays from the truth when it smears Dayton and team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, linking the Vikings stadium deal and the Wilf’s legal troubles. “Half a billion taxpayer dollars to the Wilfs after they committed civil fraud and racketeering,” says the ad, with grainy black and white video of Dayton and Vikings team owner Zygi Wilf.

That’s at least MISLEADING and borders on false.

Approximately $500 million is the amount taxpayers forked over to build the $1 billion stadium after the Minnesota legislature passed and Dayton signed the bill into law. The Wilfs put up the other $500 million.

What’s misleading, Mr. Kessler? Did the state of Minnesota commit to paying approximately $500,000,000 of taxpayer money to build the stadium? That’s easily verifiable. It’s in the bill. This isn’t difficult to verify it. The state of Minnesota committed to paying that money while the Wilfs were defending themselves in a New Jersey court on charges of civil fraud and racketeering. That statement is also accurate.

If both those statements are accurate, how could they border on being false? The simple answer is they can’t. True statements can’t border on being false. Still, that wasn’t the low point of the segment. This is:

The Minnesota Vikings strongly objected to the use of their team owners in the Johnson ad.

“We’re extremely disappointed that Jeff Johnson would stoop to this level,” said Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley. “The ad is reckless. The Wilfs have made substantial contributions to this community and this state. What Jeff Johnson has done is not consistent with Minnesota values.”

Mr. Kessler, Reality Check is about checking facts, not about sharing opinions. Quoting Lester Bagley in the article is totally inappropriate, especially considering the fact that he contributed to Gov. Dayton’s campaign. Furthermore, Bagley serves the Wilfs, nobody else. What qualifies him to speak on what Minnesota values are?

Finally, this was disgraceful, too:

A spokesman from Dayton campaign Linden Zakula said, “It’s not surprising to see a desperate attack from a candidate so far behind. Commissioner Johnson offers no real ideas to improve education, create jobs, or help Minnesota families. It’s easy for Commissioner Johnson to be against everything when he, himself, proposes nothing.”

My question for Mr. Kessler is straightforward. Did the Dayton campaign pay for this campaign ad? Inviting the Dayton campaign spokesman to take a cheap shot at Commissioner Johnson during a factchecking segment is totally unprofessional.

Calling accurate statements “bordering on false is disgusting. Allowing outsiders to level cheap shots at a political candidate during that factchecking segment is utterly unprofessional. Kessler should be ashamed of himself.

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I don’t have many quotes to rely on but my impression is that tonight’s debate marked the night the gloves came off. Jeff Johnson went after Gov. Dayton for not knowing about PSLs being in the Vikings bill that Dayton negotiated and signed. Later, he said that Gov. Dayton’s tax increases didn’t just hit richest 2%, highlighting the health insurance tax, the cigarette tax and wheelage tax that hits everyone.

Commissioner Johnson was especially feisty on the Sandpiper Pipeline Project, saying that it was Gov. Dayton’s appointees who voted essentially to kill the pipeline project. Gov. Dayton’s smug dismissal that Commissioner Johnson probably “didn’t understand the process” was immediately greeted by Commissioner Johnson saying that he understood the process and that Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted to kill the project. Johnson then said that Gov. Dayton couldn’t hide by saying it was someone else who voted on the project. Commissioner Johnson finished by saying that “Sometimes, Governor, you have to take responsibility.”

Gov. Dayton criticized Commissioner Johnson by saying that “Taxes should be low, broad and simple isn’t a tax policy. It’s a slogan.” Tonight, Gov. Dayton proposed raising taxes on the middle class again by raising the gas tax again. Then he went back to talking about cutting taxes on the middle class. His closing statement from another planet then stated that Minnesota was heading in the right direction because he’d solved the deficit problem.

The arrogance was disgusting. Again.

The question Gov. Dayton didn’t explain is why he thinks Minnesota’s economy is doing well. The unemployment rate is low but monthly revenues aren’t meeting projections. Minnesota’s economy lost 4,200 jobs in July, something Gov. Dayton didn’t address.

Hannah Nicollet got in on the Dayton bashing, too, when the subject turned to the Vikings stadium disaster, saying that when her daughter throws a hissy fit in a store, she lets her daughter’s tantrum run its course. Then she said that sometimes, a governor has to have the spine to say no when the Vikings were throwing their hissy fit.

Gov. Dayton replied, saying that 7,500 people are working, “many of them minorities”, before asking if the candidates would like to tell them that the stadium bill is a disaster. Commissioner Johnson said that he’d stand by his characterization.

In his closing statement, Gov. Dayton said that his biggest priority for another term will be education. Earlier, he said that raising taxes on gas would be his priority. When everything’s a priority, nothing is a priority.

Gov. Dayton was exceptionally dismissive tonight. When Commissioner Johnson talked about 50% of Minnesotans being underemployed, Gov. Dayton insisted that that was “nonsense.” When Commissioner Johnson said that the statistic came from Dayton’s administration, Gov. Dayton didn’t know how to respond.

This likely won’t get written anywhere else but Gov. Dayton sounded exceptionally arrogant, dismissive and in a foul mood. His response to Commissioner Johnson’s talk about underemployment essentially was that it was nonsense. That’s what an out-of-touch governor sounds like. Article after article talks about how many part-time jobs are getting created. How can Gov. Dayton say that verified facts are nonsense?

This was Dayton at his most unlikable, dismissive worst. He was snotty. He didn’t agree with anything Jeff Johnson said on the big issues. He stuck to his talking points.

According to this KSTP article, the DFL’s health insurance rate increase report isn’t accurate:

Minnesota Republicans are again accusing Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration of using shoddy math to show a lower increase in policy costs through the state’s health care exchange. State officials this week said plans on MNsure would rise by 4.5 percent on average for 2015. They got the figure by averaging each provider’s average increase or decrease.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann says the calculation should have weighed how much of MNsure’s market each plan had. And he said it should have included the largest and cheapest provider, PreferredOne, which is dropping out next year. Hann says the true increase is more than 15 percent.

The Commerce Department says it couldn’t include rates from the departing plan. And it says a weighted average wouldn’t have been accurate due to PreferredOne’s absence.

Thankfully, Minnesotans don’t have to accept the Dayton administration’s fiction. Thankfully, Senate Republicans have put together some graphics that accurately depict the rate changes. Here’s their chart for the various plan levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum) for 25-year-olds in Minneapolis and St. Paul:

That looks like 25-year-olds in Minneapolis-St. Paul will see their health insurance premiums increase by 18% to 37%. Another source of information worth looking at is this interactive map.

For instance, the interactive map says that “Aitkin County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 20%” for 2015 over 2014’s insurance premiums. Ottertail County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 25%. Yellow Medicine County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 43%. Dakota County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22%. Koochiching County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 33%.

There’s nothing from that interactive map that says insurance premiums are increasing by 4.5%.

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Fox9’s Tim Blotz did a nice job explaining how the Commerce Department’s political document doesn’t fit with people’s real life experiences:
This information wasn’t included in Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department report:

While the Commerce Department says individual plans will increase just 4.5 percent, their math only measures providers. One insurer had a decrease of 9 percent and the remaining three had increases in their rates of 1 percent, 8 percent and 17 percent. It averages out to 4.5 percent, but it doesn’t measure specific plans or the number of people in each plan.

Using the Commerce Department’s methodology, plans will increase 4.25%, not 4.5%. Unfortunately for individuals and families, the Commerce Department’s methodology is flawed:

If you break down the lowest monthly premium rates in Minneapolis and St. Paul for a 40-year-old, the numbers tell a different story. The monthly premium for the lowest cost Bronze plan increases $24, or 21 percent, in 2015. The Silver plan jumps 17 percent, the Gold plan 19 percent and the Platinum plan 36 percent.

In the real world, this information means a 40-year-old living in the Twin Cities will see their premiums increase by a minimum of 17% and a maximum of 36%. That’s the real increase for 40-year-olds.

In mid-September, PreferredOne, the company that had 59 percent of the privately-underwritten health care plans in the marketplace, announced its withdrawal from MNsure. For the 32,000 current PreferredOne MNsure customers, Rothman said rates will likely go up, but they need to look at the available subsidy and compare the remaining providers during open enrollment. “Even though rates may increase for some MNsure clients, there will be more tax credits available,” MNsure CEO Scott Leitz said. “What we are seeing is a more competitive market place.”

If you believe that there are no free lunches, that everything costs someone something, then Mr. Leitz is actually saying that premiums are going up but that the Dayton administration is hiding the cost with subsidies.

What he didn’t say is who’s paying for those additional subsidies. Will small business owners pay for those additional subsidies? Will others in the middle class pay extra to pay for those subsidies?

If he was interviewed by a reporter who asked pointed follow-up questions, I suspect that Mr. Leitz would’ve had a difficult time tap-dancing. The Dayton administration is praying that this doesn’t get discussed before the election.

Think about what that says. Gov. Dayton is worried more about getting re-elected than he’s worried about whether MNsure/Obamacare is hurting Minnesotans. That’s a pretty despicable way of thinking.

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It’s still to be determined if this editorial is an accurate indicator of the Iron Range’s mood towards Gov. Dayton. Still, it can’t be great news to the Dayton campaign. Here’s the editorial’s introduction:

“The minerals aren’t going anywhere.” — Gov. Mark Dayton, Mesabi Daily News Sunday, Sept. 28, interview story.

If Gov. Dayton was trying to make a positive first impression with Rangers, that fell short.

We found that to be a troubling response to a governor/reporter discussion of the proposed PolyMet Mine copper/nickel/precious metals project on the East Range. Yes, the rich deposits of minerals that are in such demand worldwide are not going anywhere while under the ground.

However, the need for jobs on the Iron Range is also not going anywhere. It’s here and not going away. It’s seemingly forever with us because of an unemployment rate considerably much higher than that of the statewide average. And it certainly won’t improve anytime soon with a comment from the state’s CEO that the minerals aren’t going anywhere.

This wasn’t written by a conservative activist. It’s a product of the Mesabi Daily News Editorial Board.

Gov. Dayton’s statement is exceptionally flippant. It exposes his disdain for Iron Range priorities. This isn’t the first time he’s done that. During Wednesday night’s debate, he accused Jeff Johnson of pandering to the Iron Range when Commissioner Johnson talked passionately about opening PolyMet. Apparently, Gov. Dayton thinks that Republicans shouldn’t have the right to advocate for the Iron Range’s priorities.

That isn’t the only shot the Editorial Board took at Gov. Dayton:

It has now been nine years of environmental review of the PolyMet venture without a final resolution that would allow the project to move forward and create 360 permanent jobs, hundreds and hundreds more spin-off positions and more than 1 million hours of construction work.

And where is that review at now? Stuck in election year limbo as comments on the supplemental environmental impact statement are looked at and studied for far too long. It’s now been months for their review by co-lead agencies, which includes the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

It’s entirely fair to criticize Gov. Dayton for slow-walking the review. Still, it’s important that they don’t let Iron Rangers off the hook. Their votes for the DFL, including Gov. Dayton, have pushed them into this situation. That’s what happens when a region or a demographic group gives monolithic support to one political party.

If that region or that demographic group keeps voting for the Democrats year after year, they’re sending the signal that it’s ok to take them for granted. If the Iron Range doesn’t stand up for themselves on this issue, then they’re getting what they’ve voted for. If the Range doesn’t become a single-issues voter this November, they’ll still be waiting for the review process to finish in 2016 and possibly beyond.

I’ve heard politicians like Tommy Rukavina, David Dill and others talk about the importance of opening PolyMet in one sentence, then say that the Republicans aren’t great on other, less important, issues. It’s shit-or-get-off-the-pot time for the Range. Either PolyMet is important enough to vote against Gov. Dayton and Sen. Franken or it isn’t.

I’ll repeat this again. If the Iron Range doesn’t vote strongly in favor for Jeff Johnson and Mike McFadden on the basis of their passionate advocacy for PolyMet, they’ll deserve 4 more years of high unemployment and rampant poverty.

It’s the Range’s time for choosing.

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