Archive for the ‘David Hann’ Category

Last week, Senate Minority Leader David Hann wrote Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk a letter requesting that Sen. Bakk release the content of a threatening email Sen. Bakk sent to Cook County businessman Dennis Rysdahl. Predictably, Sen. Bakk refused to release that email, saying “You just can’t do that.”

After hearing Mr. Rysdahl’s testimony and reading his quote in the DNT’s article, I’d argue that it’s imperative that Sen. Bakk’s email be made public. Rysdahl testified at Cook County’s County Commissioners meeting, saying “I got an email from Tom Bakk yesterday, and he’s very concerned. He’s already hearing, again, what’s he’s heard many times before that Cook County doesn’t really belong in the Taconite Relief District, and if they’re going to take an action like this, they don’t deserve to continue to be involved.”

After reading that quote, it’s insulting that we read this opening paragraph of the Mesabi Daily News article:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook will not acquiesce to a Republican request to make public a personal email sent to a Cook County businessman regarding the Twin Metals lease issue.

That’s BS. First, I’d demand to know which email address Sen. Bakk used. If he used his legislative email address or his IRRRB email address, that ends Sen. Bakk’s argument that it’s a personal email. Saying that you’re using a government account to send personal emails is a nonstarter.

Further, I’d argue that any email that talked about potential action by an executive branch agency isn’t personal. Based on Mr. Rysdahl’s testimony, it sounds like the email relates directly to Sen. Bakk’s responsibilities as a member of the IRRRB executive board. This paragraph indicates that the email was official:

But in Cook County, there is also an undercurrent of an Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board issue — should Cook County continue as part of the Taconite Relief Area and receive agency funding.

I can’t wait to hear Sen. Bakk explain how threatening the Cook County commissioners with cutting off funding is “personal.” As I said earlier, I don’t doubt that Sen. Bakk wanted to keep his threatening email private.

I hope that Sen. Hann has another plan to force Sen. Bakk into producing that email. Private citizens shouldn’t have to deal with threats from public officials. That’s what Sen. Bakk did to Mr. Rysdahl and to the Cook County commissioners.

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Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk isn’t having fun, thanks in large part to Senate Republicans and Senate Minority Leader David Hann. Sen. Bakk is insisting that Republicans move into Bakk’s Palace, the building Sen. Bakk shoved down taxpayers’ throats in the 2013 Tax Bill in the dead of night the last weekend of session without going through the committee process. It didn’t go through the committee process intentionally because Bakk didn’t want it to be scrutinized by anyone.

Now, Sen. Bakk is attempting to play hardball, insisting that “other state entities need Republicans’ current quarters in the State Office Building.” Senate Minority Leader Hann isn’t buying, saying “if that’s the case, Bakk should say who is it and when they’re going to move, ‘because that’s all news to us.'”

What’s especially laughable is that Bakk calls their refusal to move “short-term political gamesmanship.” The truth is that Sen. Bakk doesn’t like it when GOP legislators shine the spotlight on Bakk’s Palace, my nickname for the new Senate Building. Bakk doesn’t like the attention because he’s trying to maintain his majority through the 2016 election. When House Republicans highlighted the House DFL’s support for Bakk’s Palace, they lost their majority.

When people take a look at Bakk’s Palace, Republicans will remind them that Democrats voted to raise taxes on citizens, which paid for the $90,000,000 building. They’ll also remind citizens that the DFL also voted to dramatically raise the pay of Gov. Dayton’s commissioners.

Sen. Bakk should stop worrying about political gamesmanship. He should start worrying about the DFL’s legislative history since the last election. Then he should kiss his majority status goodbye.

Now that the Special Session is history, it’s time to reflect on what happened. The best way I know how to do that is by identifying the Sessions winners and losers. This post will deal with the winners.

  1. Kurt Daudt — He was simply masterful throughout. He proved to be a master negotiator, which nobody predicted going against Sen. Bakk. Late in last night’s special session, after the Senate had stripped out the House Republicans’ reforms and the DFL passed the amended bill, the decision was made in Caucus to restore the original bill, pass it and send it back to the Senate. House Environment Chairman Denny MacNamara offered an amendment to essentially restore the bill. After that, the outcome of the session was virtually sealed. Speaker Daudt gets credit for having the spine to insist on the bill’s original language.
  2. David Hann — Sen. Hann played a key role in getting the Ag/Environment bill passed. After the bill was originally defeated, Sen. Hann spoke with Sen. Bakk about winning some GOP votes this session by promising to pass tax relief. That was the right elixir. The first time the Senate voted on the Ag/Environment Bill, it failed by a 33-32 margin. When it returned from the House, several procedural votes happened first. Sen. Marty made a motion to not concur with the bill. Had that passed, the bill would’ve gone into conference committee. It was defeated 38-29. Next, Sen. Tomassoni, a DFL senator from the Range, made a motion to concur. That passed 40-26. That passed with 7 more votes than it got the first time. Sen. Hann got those extra votes by negotiating a tax relief bill for the 2016 session. After that, it was all over except the special interests’ whining. The vote on final passage was 38-29. The whining went into full whine at that point.
  3. Denny MacNamara — his amendment on the Ag/Environment Bill was the straw that broke the environmental activists’ back. I was following the session through Twitter. The minute the bill got to the Senate, environmental activist organizations like the Minnesota Environmental Partnership and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, aka MEP and MCEA respectively, started whining. The bloggers at MNPact started whining, too.
  4. Jennifer Loon — She shepherded the K-12 bill throughout and brought it home without a hitch.

The entire GOP Caucus, both in the House and Senate, deserve an honorable mention. They didn’t back down. They fought for reforms that took power out of the hands of special interests and won. They even won on education spending and policy. When’s the last time that could be said?

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To: Kurt Daudt, David Hann
From: Gary Gross
Subject: Transportation negotiations

Considering the fact that rank-and-file Minnesotans have stated emphatically that they won’t cheerfully accept another tax increase, GOP leadership in the Minnesota legislature shouldn’t attempt to strike a deal with Gov. Dayton and DFL leadership that includes a gas tax increase. Period. Tax increases are totally off the table. If Gov. Dayton wants to throw another hissy fit, that’s fine. The GOP should record Gov. Dayton’s hissy fit and upload it to YouTube.

There are some things Speaker Daudt and Sen. Hann should forever keep in mind during these negotiations. Here are the things that they shouldn’t forget, in order of importance:

  1. The last time the DFL pushed a gas tax increase, they promised it would solve our underfunding of roads and bridges for the next 20 years. That was 2008. It’s 2015 and they’re back, this time insisting that a significantly bigger tax increase is needed. Don’t double down on the DFL’s failure.
  2. The GOP plan is popular. Insist that the DFL adopt the GOP plan or face a major advertising campaign from now through Election Day. Tell them that every vulnerable DFL legislator in the House and Senate will be targeted with advertising that tells their constituents that they voted for a gas tax increase.
  3. You’re building trust with Republican activists and independents by being straight shooters. Don’t throw that away by agreeing to a transportation compromise that includes a gas tax increase. Accepting a tax increase will be seen as a betrayal. That will lead to Republicans losing the House and the DFL holding the Senate in 2016. (Remember the disaster the last time the DFL controlled the House and Senate and held the governorship?)
  4. Keep pressure on the DFL by addressing the press anytime they’re available. Remind them that the DFL’s last transportation bill was a failure. Remind them, too, that 75% of Minnesotans agreed with the GOP transportation plan and that 51% of Minnesotans rejected the DFL’s plan.

It’s important to constantly switch the conversation away from transportation. Constantly drag the conversation back to fixing Minnesota’s potholed roads and highways. Outside the Twin Cities, it’s difficult to find a dozen transit advocates. Outside the Twin Cities, it’s impossible to find a person who’s happy with Minnesota’s potholed roads.

Play to those facts. Portray the DFL as who they are — the political party who listen to the special interests and the lobbyists while reminding them that a) Republicans listened to their constituents before the session started and b) Republicans are still listening to their constituents by refusing to raise gas taxes.

I’m more than a bit surprised after reading this post about Sen. Bakk’s latest transportation plan. Check this out:

In January, Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL lawmakers rolled out comprehensive transportation plans and talked about how urgent it was to do something this year. Republicans held up their hands and said there was no rush.

Times have changed. On Wednesday, it was Senate DFL leader Tom Bakk raising the specter of delaying a transportation bill for another year. “Transportation probably doesn’t have to happen,” Bakk said Wednesday.

While the Legislature has to pass a finance bill to keep the Department of Transportation operating, lawmakers are under no obligation to approve billions of dollars in new spending as both Democrats and Republicans want to do.

Both chambers have rolled out comprehensive transportation packages spending billions of dollars over the next decade on roads, bridges and mass transit. The threat to just go home and not pass a comprehensive transportation bill could be aimed at increasing the Senate’s leverage in final negotiations with the House — potentially forcing Republicans to make more concessions than they want to in order to get a deal.

Republicans passed a bill that fixes Minnesota’s roads and bridges, which is Minnesotans’ highest priority. Because they did their job, Republicans just have to insist that the DFL leadership pass a sensible transportation plan. Then Republicans can remind voters that they listened to the voters before crafting a bill that put Minnesotans’ highest priorities first.

Then the GOP can remind voters that Sen. Bakk and the DFL acted like spoiled brats throwing a temper tantrum. Anyone thinking that that attitude will play well in outstate Minnesota isn’t too bright. The old cliché that you can’t beat something with nothing certainly applies in this instance.

If Sen. Bakk and the DFL insist on pushing an unpopular tax increase down Minnesotans’ throats, they’ll hand the Senate majority to Republicans on a silver platter. First, doing nothing isn’t an option. Next, doing something unpopular isn’t an option, either. Finally, throwing a temper tantrum while doing nothing is a short path from the majority to minority party status.

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The past 4 years have provided Minnesotans plenty of proof that the DFL is the party of corruption. Simply put, the DFL will do anything to increase or regain political power. During the 2012 campaign, 13 DFL state senate candidates coordinated their advertising campaigns with the DFL Senate Campaign Committee, which is illegal. Republicans filed a complaint about the DFL’s campaign committee hijinks. The end result was the DFL Senate Campaign Committee getting fined $100,000, the biggest fine in Minnesota campaign history.

Unfortunately, 11 of those 13 DFL state senate candidates won their election. In essence, these politicians bought their senate seats. Rather than apologize for their unethical actions, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin characterized the incident as a nuisance before declaring the need to get back to governing. That makes sense in Chairman Martin’s world because this was just a financial transaction to him.

DFL State Sen. Jeff Hayden is tangled up in multiple messes, starting with the corruption that shut down Community Action of Minneapolis. He’s also had ethics charges filed against him for pushing the Minneapolis school board into funding a program run by his friends and associates.

I’m not surprised. The DFL is as interested in providing oversight of their political allies’ nonprofits as Hillary is interested in turning over Bill’s email server.

During the final days of the 2013 session, hundreds of in-home child care providers of all political persuasions descended on the Capitol to tell the DFL not to pass the forced unionization bill. Mike Nelson and the DFL waged war on these women, essentially telling them that they knew what was best. On June 30, 2014, the US Supreme Court told Mike Nelson and the DFL that their legislation was unconstitutional.

Mike Nelson, the DFL and AFSCME didn’t care about the Constitution. They didn’t care that private employers weren’t public employees. Mike Nelson, the DFL and AFSCME just deemed private small business owners public employees. That’s because their first concern was accumulating political power. That’s why the DFL sided with the special interests. That’s why the DFL didn’t pay attention to women they simply disagreed with. They only cared about their big money benefactors.

The DFL’s cronyism knows no limits. Senate Minority Leader Hann’s op-ed shows how invested the DFL is in special interests:

Dayton recently awarded his commissioners salary increases as large as $30,000 each. He gave the chair of the Met Council an $86,000 increase, and the beneficiary just happens to be married to the governor’s chief of staff. One of Dayton’s deputy chiefs is married to a top official at Education Minnesota, the teachers union. Another Dayton staffer is married to the chair of the DFL Party.

Why should I believe that the DFL is the party of the little guy? The DFL sold out Iron Range families in exchange for hefty campaign contributions from environmental activists. The DFL sold out in-home child care providers in exchange for hefty campaign contributions from public employee unions.

Worst of all, Gov. Dayton’s administration is filled with the DFL’s biggest special interest allies.

Elizabeth Warren loves telling her audiences that the game is rigged. She’s right and she’s wrong. She insists that it’s rigged by Wall Street fat cats. The truth is that it’s rigged by the Democrats’ special interest allies. The truth is that Big Government is just as corrupt as Wall Street.

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House Speaker Kurt Daudt issued this statement after announcing the House GOP transportation proposal:

“Minnesota families rely on our road and bridge infrastructure to get their kids to school and themselves to work. To help them, our goal from the beginning was to refocus transportation dollars on roads and bridges and deliver a real, long-term solution without increasing their tax burden. I’m proud today to unveil our vision for the next decade that achieves our shared goal,” announced Speaker Daudt.

“Republicans have developed a thoughtful solution to adequately maintain and expand our road and bridge infrastructure without raising gas taxes, because Minnesotans can’t afford to pay more at the pump. Our proposal will benefit small cities, rural areas, suburban communities, and elderly and disabled Minnesotans while also making significant commitments to state roads,” said Senate Republican Leader Hann.

“Most Minnesotans count on safe roads and short commutes every day, and our plan focuses on those daily needs. It fills potholes and repairs streets in their neighborhoods and will alleviate congestion on Minnesota roads. Now, Minnesotans have a choice between smart budgeting that dedicates existing transportation taxes to roads and bridges without a tax increase and a plan that raises the gas tax by at least 16 cents per gallon,” added House Majority Leader Peppin.

Predictably, the DFL immediately criticized the plan:

DFLers, in contrast, attacked the Republican plan for shifting money from other sources. “What programs will (Republicans) cut to pay for (money) they are taking from (the) general fund?” Dayton’s deputy chief of staff Linden Zakula wrote on Twitter.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, responded that the GOP plan “irresponsibly raids” the general fund. “Unfortunately, the Republican plan is the same old shifts and gimmicks budgeting we’ve come to expect from them. Siphoning money from schools and hospitals and relying on the state’s credit card is no way to fund Minnesota’s transportation system,” he said in a prepared statement.

Here’s my response to Mssrs. Zakula and Thissen: What corrupt programs will the DFL fund with the money that the GOP proposes to fix roads and bridges with? Does the DFL plan to finance more trips for Sen. Hayden? Or would they rather direct money to Community Action? Would the DFL rather funnel more money to MnSCU to sign contracts with their friends to do ‘consulting’ work ?

Actually, Rep. Thissen, putting some things on the state’s credit card is the right thing to do. Why should this generation pay the entire cost for fixing bridges? Shouldn’t subsequent generations pay for their fair share of the cost since they’re going to get a substantial benefit from new bridges? Why shouldn’t younger generations pay for some of the cost of lane expansions?

There’s nothing wrong with paying for road repairs with current money. Maintenance is a short-term proposition. Fixing potholes is something that’s done annually. Widening State Trunk Highway 23 to 4 lanes from St. Cloud to Foley is a one-time thing. That’s something that should be paid for by multiple generations.

Finally, it’s interesting to watch the DFL immediately insinuate that Republicans want to “siphon money from schools and hospitals.” It didn’t matter to Rep. Thissen that there’s literally no proof that Republicans want to do that. In fact, there’s proof that Republicans don’t want to do that.

That’s irrelevant to Rep. Thissen. The truth isn’t relevant to him because it’s about frightening people with baseless allegations. It isn’t about having an honest debate based on reality. Simply put, the DFL is the Fearmongering Party.

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Senate Minority Leader David Hann’s op-ed highlights the DFL’s culture of corruption and incestuousness. First, there’s this pattern of DFL corruption:

  1. The DFL Senate campaign committee was fined $100,000 last year for cheating with 13 DFL Senate candidates during the 2012 election.
  2. The DFL Legislature, with Dayton’s signature, spent $90 million on an unnecessary new office building, bypassing the normal process and allowing no public hearings.
  3. DFL Sens. Jeff Hayden and Bobby Joe Champion were accused of bullying the Minneapolis school board into funding a program run by their friends and associates. Hayden is also the subject of an ongoing ethics complaint that he received free trips and other inappropriate perks while serving as a board member for Community Action of Minneapolis, a government-funded nonprofit.
  4. DFL Sen. David Tomassoni attempted to take a job as a lobbyist for the Iron Range city association, even though he is a sitting senator representing part of the Iron Range.
  5. The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) was exposed for underwriting a business whose main client was Dollars for Democrats, an organization set up to help Democratic politicians win elections.
  6. Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman refused to investigate the misuse of public funds at Community Action of Minneapolis because of “political” concerns surrounding the executive director of the organization and his financial support for Dayton. By the way, Rothman used to be the treasurer of the DFL Party.

Apparently, there’s no definition for conflict-of-interest in the DFL’s dictionaries. Then there’s the incestuous nature of the Dayton administration:

Dayton recently awarded his commissioners salary increases as large as $30,000 each. He gave the chair of the Met Council an $86,000 increase — and the beneficiary just happens to be married to the governor’s chief of staff. One of Dayton’s deputy chiefs is married to a top official at Education Minnesota, the teachers union. Another Dayton staffer is married to the chair of the DFL Party.

Apparently, the DFL in Minnesota doesn’t think government of, by and for the people is worthwhile. It’s clear from the Dayton administration’s incestuousness that the DFL believes in government of, by and for their special interest allies. Why should Minnesotans living in Lindstrom, Little Falls and Litchfield think that the Dayton administration’s budget prioritizes their needs. Minnesotans living in Wadena, Willmar and Winona shouldn’t think that the Dayton-DFL budget puts a priority on their needs.

There’s plenty of proof that there’s plenty of plundering happening in St. Paul and Minneapolis. With the exception of David Tomassoni, all the other corrupt DFLers are from the Twin Cities. That’s because they’re the metrocentric party of corruption.

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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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Thursday, Speaker Thissen and Sen. Bakk sent a letter to Rep. Daudt and Sen. Hann asking for bipartisan support during the upcoming special session. Thursday afternoon, Rep. Daudt and Sen. Hann pledged their support in a hand-delivered letter:

We received your letter regarding a proposed Special Session. Our top priority is to provide disaster relief to the eighteen counties included in the disaster relief declaration signed by President Obama. We have a rich tradition of supporting Minnesota counties and nothing should stand in the way of Minnesotans receiving the support they need.

Republicans will support the disaster relief proposal. That said, they didn’t stop with just their support:

Furthermore, in an effort to help hardworking farmers and all Minnesotans, it is critical that we repeal your equipment repair tax and your warehousing tax. Governor Dayton has publicly stated that he supports repealing both of his new taxes.

Rep. Daudt and Sen. Hann didn’t stop with that, instead choosing to remind people what the Democratic legislature did this past session:

Republicans are ready to fix the mistakes Democrats made in the last session and provide the needed disaster relief funds.

Clearly, Republicans will use the counterproductive Dayton/Bakk/Thissen tax hikes as a weapon in next year’s campaign. Republicans must have proof that this issue is hurting Democrats, especially in swing districts. I suspect it’s hurting Gov. Dayton, too, partially because he’s trying to change history, partially because he’s dramatically changed his tune.

This special session will be all about disaster relief. Part of it will focus on providing federal disaster relief funds. Part of it will focus on repealing part of the Democrats’ disastrous tax increases.